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January's instructions are won in December, but how do you secure them?

It’s not uncommon to see a seasonal slump around December and the Christmas period. Last year, Propertymark reported an average of just 39 people registering per branch which then swiftly jumped up to 70 as soon as January hit.

In the report, they labelled these numbers as a typical symptom of seasonality, suggesting that buyers were ‘waiting in the wings’ to start the hunt for their ideal home in the New Year - and the same could happen in 2024, which is why it’s vital to get your agency noticed now.

It’s one thing having homeowners wanting to enter the market but ensuring that they want to come on with you is an entirely different thing. One of the main ways you can prime your agency to be their first choice is by marketing consistently throughout December, keeping your agency at the forefront of prospective vendors’ minds should they decide to sell.


But the most important question is, how?

Here are the three things I’d recommend agents do to secure a strong pipeline ahead of 2024…

1. Stay consistent.

A study by Spectre has shown the value of regular prospecting, uncovering that automating your on-market letters to send on a daily basis (versus ad-hoc) increases success by an incredible 330%. Because, with regular communication, you’ll spread brand awareness while simultaneously building a strong rapport with the homeowners in your area, likely influencing their instruction decision.

This is directly linked to marketing ideology ‘The Rule of 7’ that states customers need to see your brand at least 7 times before they commit to a purchase decision. Marketing consistently is the key to maximising your prospecting efforts and generating instructions. Regular, targeted communication builds reliability and trust and, therefore, will increase engagement.

Alongside this, marketing consistently when your competitors have halted their marketing can be a great way to seek new opportunities. Around 23% fewer prospecting letters get sent around public holidays, so use this as your opportunity to stand out.

Using software to pre-schedule your marketing so it automatically sends on certain days is the ultimate solution to keeping your collateral consistent during busy periods and Bank Holidays - despite annual leave and times when you might be operating with skeleton staff.

Although automation can feel daunting to some agents, advanced prospecting tools will allow you to set your own preferences to fit your strategy, allowing you to schedule what you’d like to send, and when.

2. Mix up your marketing.

Sales numbers are 40% lower in December than they are in peak periods. You can use this quieter period to your advantage by refocusing your attention on the types of marketing your agency is sending.

It has been proven that sending a combination of collateral helps agents stand out from the competition, increasing ROI by 67%. You should use this quieter period to consider how you can reach your audiences in different ways. For example, you could send letters for that personal touch, visual mailers like postcards to catch attention, and even take your messaging to social media to boost engagement. By showcasing your brand across a number of different platforms, and in a variety of ways, you’ll be applying the ‘Rule of 7’ to your own marketing - and, in turn, increase success.

December also presents the perfect opportunity to get a bit more creative too… A great way to do this is by incorporating seasonal themes and designs to spread brand awareness and put your agency at the forefront of every tempted buyer's mind, just in time for the post-Christmas influx of interest.

I’ve seen so many amazing festive postcard designs over the years, including ‘colour in’ postcards (which children can colour in) that have an increased shelf life to standard designs, and even crosswords or other interactive designs - all which help make you stand out and boost brand awareness.

And, when it comes to letters, using AI Content Writing tools to generate fresh seasonal content is a great way to wish homeowners in your area a Merry Christmas and/or communicate any promotional offers you might have over Christmas or in the New Year. With the rise in AI writing tools, agents are now able to refresh letter content in seconds and pivot their messaging quickly to market conditions or seasons, so if you're not doing it, your competitors could have the upper hand.

3. Target the withdrawals in your area.

Data shows that October typically has around 15% more withdrawals than any other time between November and January, which means you can use quieter periods to nurture those larger volumes of withdrawn properties. Similarly, as the festive season gets underway, vendors who have not been successful in selling their property may withdraw to escape the risk of moving amidst a busy time.

Last year, Spectre identified that almost 50% of properties that withdrew in 2022 would relist in 2023, and we’re expecting similar activity this year…

Following any period of increased withdrawals, it’s vital that you set up a prospecting strategy to nurture these vendors and secure your agency as their number one choice for relisting. Whether you call them up, set up a marketing strategy, or go door-knocking, take time in December to watch over your competitors’ withdrawn stock and target them appropriately to secure a strong pipeline in 2024.

If you’re interested in setting up a specific marketing strategy, you may look to your prospecting software to execute it. With Spectre, for example, you can get insights into your competitors’ withdrawn stock which hasn’t sold in the last two years, so you know exactly who to target for maximum results. Then you can nurture these withdrawn listings by keeping in regular contact but remember to stay sympathetic to their situation. You could also further tailor the messaging with merge-fields to directly address the homeowners and make your mail feel even more personal.

Doing this or something similar will help to boost your instruction numbers and bring withdrawals back to the market before your competitors even get a chance, all with tailored and relevant direct mail at every touchpoint.

The prospecting you do in December will bear fruits come January and for the rest of the year. You can prevent your pipeline from drying up by maintaining marketing momentum throughout the entire festive period by actioning these three top tips. So, while your competitors are winding down, you’ll be securing a stream of fresh leads and paving the way for an incredibly successful 2024.


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