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Home » Blog » #17 (Step 3) – House List Cultivation System 2: Calendar Contact Systems™

#17 (Step 3) – House List Cultivation System 2: Calendar Contact Systems™

You’re about to learn the most important and valuable “client cultivation” system you’ll ever use for growing your real estate practice.

If you do nothing else for your business, this ONE system is essential for you to get working in your practice as soon as possible.


Because Real estate is a TIMING business – you never know when someone is thinking of buying or selling…or knows someone in the same situation.

And the $64 thousand-dollar question you need to ask yourself is…

How Many People in Your House List or
Farm or Other Markets…


The answer may shock you, because it’s fewer than you think.  But with your Calendar Contact System™ working month-in and month-out, you’ll always be top of mind when anyone in your house list thinks “real estate”…

…And you’ll always be light-years ahead of other agents who naively “assume” people will search them out for real estate services.

Today I’m going to share with you important details about getting your Calendar Contact System™ rolling…THEN…I’m going to share with you 7 Essential Secrets (that took me nearly 30 years to learn) for making your contact make you money.

This will be an extremely valuable article for you, so pay close attention as we get going…

How Frequently Should You Make Contact?

There’s a lot of debate by so-called “experts” about the correct amount of time between contacts.

I’ve seen agents who think that sending a post card every 6 months will do the trick.  And other agents who send a holiday calendar and think they’re making inroads to their list…or agents who send out a color newsletter once a quarter…and…

They’re ALL Wrong!

Here are the facts:  The Direct Marketing Association – the folks who measure what works with the “big boys” in the business – report that the optimum time period for personal contact by mail is…

Every 21 Days

Twenty-one days may be hard for you to manage with your busy schedule, so the “rule of thumb” I give to agents is to make your contact MONTHLY, no less.

Your Calendar Contact System™ is a “TIME” system (remember from article 15 where we talked about “time” and “task” systems?).

This means the best way to manage your calendar contact is to simply pick ONE day of the month – each month – and make that date the day you send out your calendar contact.

How Do You Know if You’re Profitable?

Before you begin your Calendar Contact System™, you need to know if the money you’re spending is going to be profitable or not.  So let’s work a few numbers…

Step #1: Calculate the cost to send your contact: If you send 500 pieces out per month that cost $.85 each, then you’re going to spend about $425 each month for your contact ($500 x .85 = $425).  Multiply that number by 12 (for your annual cost), and you’re going to spend about $5,100 per year with your contact.

Step #2: Calculate how many transactions will come from those 500 homeowners.  If each of them, on average, owns their home for 7 years, then 71 transactions WILL come from that group each year (500 divided by 7 = 71).  This does not include referrals they could send you.

Step #3: Estimate your “average transaction commission”, net of marketing costs and broker split.  For example: If homes you sell average $250,000, then your co-broker commission will be $7,500 – less marketing expenses and broker split (I assume about 35% for these, but you can calculate your own)…and you get $4,875 net commission for your average home sold.

Step #4: Calculate your “breakeven”.  Divide your cost to send your contact (in #1 above – $5,100) by your “average transaction commission” ($4,875), and you get 1.04.  This means you need to sell ONLY ONE OF THE 71 HOMES from that group to breakeven.

Those are pretty good odds, don’t you think?  Well…it gets better…

Step #5:  Calculate your expected potential.  If you remember from Article 5, I talked about your “Personal Market Share™.  The higher your PMS™, the more profitable your contact system – because your list becomes a higher quality and response rates will be higher.

For example, if you have a “mediocre” PMS™ of 20%, you can expect to get 14 of those 71 transactions (not including referrals or double-sides).

Do the math: 14 x your average transaction commission ($4,875 from #3 above) = $69,000.

Holy Cow!  Do you see the “net” of this analysis?

In this example, you need only ONE transaction (from the 71) to break-even…AND…if you get a measly 20% PMS™, your gross PROFIT on the system is $63,900, or 1,353%!!  ($69,000 divided by $5,100 = 13.53)

That’s 13 TIMES your return on investment.  Are you getting the picture here?

That’s why I say this is the most profitable marketing you’ll ever do in your practice.

But wait.  If your Personal Market Share™ goes to 30% or 50% or higher (with regular, value-oriented contact that deepens the relationship), your profitability and commissions go through the roof!

That’s why I always encourage you NOT to just look at number of responses you get from a marketing promotion…but to look at your break-even, and your RETURN on invested marketing dollar (ROI).

So…would you like to get a system like this going in your practice?  Then let’s get this system working for you by talking about the…

7 Secrets for Making Your Contact Make YOU Money

Do you believe in “secrets?”  I realize the idea of revealing a “secret” sounds like hype.  But I’m going to detail a wealth of knowledge in the next few minutes that many would consider closely-kept secrets.

These are marketing ideas and strategies that less than 1% of the REALTOR® population understands…and just by knowing this information can put you in the top 4% of agents nationwide.

But I’ll let you decide for yourself.

Contact Secret #1:  Get Your Mail Delivered and Opened

Have you ever farmed an area, or sent out a just listed/just sold, or any other type of mailing…and it failed miserably?

You’re not alone.  And if I were a bettin’ man, I’d put dollars-to-donuts that your mail never even got past the gatekeeper…never stood a chance from day one – much less got read or acted upon.

Think about this:  If your mail doesn’t get delivered…doesn’t capture the attention of the recipient…and doesn’t get a “high-priority” to be read…it doesn’t stand a chance in getting acted-upon.

And you’ve wasted your money.  Make sense?

So the first step you need to think about with any contact is: How Do I Get This Thing Delivered and Opened!  That’s because…

People Sort Their Mail Standing
Over the Trash Can!

There are TWO piles people use to sort their mail.  Bills, birthday cards, personal mail and other “important” contact goes into the “A” pile…and self-mailers, coupon books, crappy catalogues and REALTOR® junk-solicitations…go into the “B” pile.

And do you know where the “B” pile goes from there?  Yup…you got it – right into the trash.

So the “secret” I want you to “get” here is…if you don’t make your mail look like “A”-Pile mail, you’ve lost the battle before you ever stepped on the battlefield (to use a weird metaphor).

How do you get your mail delivered and opened?  By making it “look” like “A”-Pile mail.  You want to “look” like a personal birthday card send over by Aunt Mildred – not like the “litter” sent by most agents.  Here’s a checklist to use…

  • Envelope:  Stop sending self-mailers.  Use an off-size envelope, such as a 6 x 9 or monarch size – an envelope that looks personal…
  • Return Address: Do NOT put your brokerage plastered all over the return address (you can put that at the END of your letter, under your signature).  Use your NAME only.  Try using one of those little return-address stickers like you put on your holiday cards.  OR, just type your first, last name and your address in the return area in a courier font (a “typewriter” font).
  • Postage:  Did you know that the U.S. Post Office has a habit of taking first-class mail that “looks” like bulk rate and throwing it in the trash?  I’ve had it happen myself.  There’s an old saying in direct marketing about using bulk rate vs. first class:  “Save a dime, lose a dollar.”  You ‘think’ you’re saving money by using bulk rate postage, but between the mail that get’s trashed by the post office, and the mail that gets instantly trashed by the recipient (“B” Pile mail), you’re actually spending MORE to get a delivered impression with bulk rate than you would using first class postage.  The bottom line: send your mail FIRST CLASS – and use a commemorative first-class postage stamp.  This not only makes your mail “look” like A-Pile mail, but it also tells the post office that you’re first-class mail – and it’s less likely they’ll trash it for you.
  • Main Address:  The best way to look like “A” Pile mail is to hand address your envelope (and if you hand address it, you also need to pre-print your return address in your handwriting as well – do it in a reflex blue ink).  But if you have a 5,000 piece mailing and you don’t want writer’s cramp – address your envelope using a courier font.  Why? Because it looks like you fed the envelope through your typewriter and personally typed the address – it looks more PERSONAL.
  • Teaser Copy.  Do you know what teaser copy is?  It’s writing on the envelope intended to “tease” the recipient to open the envelope.  But do you know what teaser copy really does?  It helps the recipient know and identify “junk mail” – so they can promptly trash it.  The only teaser copy we use with Service For Life!® is something simple, like “Your Current Issue is Enclosed.”  Why do I use that?  Because it makes people think there’s something inside of the envelope that they subscribed to (paid for), and thus, more important and more likely they’ll open it.  Otherwise…as a general rule…I rarely or never use teaser copy.
  • What NOT to do:  Never use bulk rate postage – remember, “save a dime, lose a dollar.”  Never use labels – always direct impression or hand address, etc.  Never use an indicia – always use first-class commemorative stamps.  The rule of thumb you should follow is: if it doesn’t look personal, it’s going to fail.

Contact Secret #2:  Get Your Mail READ!

OK… so let’s assume you got into the “A” pile, and your reader now starts to open the envelope.  So they tear open the envelope flap, wedge open the envelope, grab the contents and begin pulling them out.

And it’s at this precise point that…

You Have ½ of a Second to Capture Attention!

We’re all busy.  We don’t have time to mess with junk mail or things we perceive are wasting our time.  And we make the decision to junk our mail within ½ of a second of opening it.

How do you “make the cut” and capture the attention of your reader?  By making the VERY FIRST THING your reader sees scream out…


So let’s think about this.  How do you get the “value” message out to the recipient within ½ of a second?

Two ways (to begin with): First, by using a very personal letter as the first thing they see.  This means personally addressed to the recipient, hand signed by you, etc…just as if you were sending them an invitation to a party.

And second, by using a headline and content-teasers that instantly telegraph, “this is something I’m interested in and want to read further…

But there’s more…

Contact Secret #3:  ENGAGE Your Reader

OK…so you’ve gotten your reader to at least take interest beyond ½ of a second.  But you haven’t “made the cut” yet.  You now must engage the reader for as long as humanly possible.

That’s because…the longer a person spends reading your contact, the more likely they are to ACT on it.

How do you do this?  Here’s an example…

With our Service For Life!® direct-response prospecting and referral generating newsletter, we have 30-year seasoned copywriters writing all the content headlines and copy FOR you.

We have tested thousands of headlines, researched scores of “hard content” sources (these are sources you wouldn’t learn if you spent 10 years writing your own), and we know what WORKS to grab attention and involve people.

And there’s one more thing.  We also use emotionally-charged, tabloid-ish copy.  Why?  No, we’re not trying to be a tabloid newspaper…but we DO know that tabloids have the highest readership of any publication in the world.

Then, we implant multiple involvement devices and hard content – education, news and “how-to” information – useable information people crave to make their lives easier, more successful and convenient.

Do you see what we’re doing here?  We’re not only involving the reader, but we’re now bringing VALUE to their lives.

What’s so great about that?

By bringing value into someone’s life, you’re now establishing a relationship, building credibility and…

Creating a Dynamic of

It sounds a little sneaky, but it’s actually normal human nature.  When you bring value or benefit to the life of someone, they’re culturally obligated to reciprocate and return value to YOU.

And when you “program” them how to bring value to you (through new clients, referrals and repeat business)…you’re a near-guarantee for generating new business.

This is one of the ways you instantly DIFFERENTIATE yourself from other agents.  And speaking of differentiating yourself…

Contact Secret #4:  POSITION Yourself as Professionally DIFFERENT

People don’t buy similarity – they buy DIFFERENCE.  They’re screaming out for you to give them a unique reason to do business with you.

Sadly most agents fail miserably at differentiating themselves, so they’re tossed on the mental scrap-heap of every other “commodity agent” in the market.

How do you make yourself different?

You should already know that the most effective way of differentiating yourself is to have a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with your market.

I’ve also talked about “product-izing” yourself and “naming your processes” so your service is positioned as different.

But there’s more to it.  Here are a few ways we make our Service For Life!® agents look positively different in the eyes of their prospects and clients…

The “look” of your contact must be very personal.  Of course this applies to your letters, but I’m talking about something else.  In fact, this strategy goes against ALL conventional thinking…

We made Service For Life!® look OPPOSITE to the 4-color, agency-slick canned newsletters out there.  Why?  Because when we made it look like it came off YOUR computer (instead of from some “newsletter mill”)…

The Response Rates MULTIPLIED!

We even had agents conduct A/B split tests against their “big brokerage” newsletters – and we pulled, on average, 4 TIMES more responses!  And more than 15 TIMES the profitability.

Why?  Because being personal makes a bigger impact.

We also show you how to intentionally divulge personal items about yourself…so people instantly become bonded to you.  They see you as human, approachable and similar to them.

But Here’s the “Kicker”…

We take a section of Service For Life!® and call it, “Real Estate Corner™.”  In that section we position you as a true real estate expert by answering important questions about real estate in YOUR voice.

Do you see what we’re doing?  Do you see why Service For Life!® is so unique from anything else out there?

We’re “positioning” you as a knowledgeable, competent professional who is also extremely personal and approachable.  People think the great advice, helpful tips, interesting information comes directly from YOU.

No one else on Earth has been able to achieve this type of balance of personal and professional.  But we have…

…and that makes all the difference in the world.

Contact Secret #5:  BOND Your Readers to YOU

Bonding is quite possibly the most important Contact Secret of all.  Do you know the best way to bond anyone to you?

By acknowledging them…

…by showing your appreciation for their friendship and support…

…and by recognizing their importance in your life.

People love to see their name in print.  That’s why, over the past 9 years producing Service For Life!® (for example) we’ve crafted and tested some of the very best strategies and language for bonding your prospects and clients to you.

After positioning you as a personal, yet stand-out professional, we implant special text boxes with recognition and appreciation.

We then acknowledge them and their contribution to your practice.

Why do we do this?

Because Our Culture is ‘Recognition
and Appreciation’ STARVED!

We live in a fast, hectic and impersonal world.  Yet we crave connection with each other.  Think about how little acknowledgement you receive in your life…from your spouse, your boss, your children or your friendships.

Even small gestures of recognition and appreciation can improve a strained relationship almost on the spot.  So why not include it in your marketing?

Contact Secret #6:  Stimulate VIRAL Marketing

There’s a little-known marketing technique that can multiply the effectiveness of your contact – whether it’s by mail, email or smoke signal for that matter (yes, I’m being goofy).  And it’s called VIRAL Marketing.

What is “Viral Marketing?”

Do you remember the dancing baby that got tossed around the internet from email to email?  Has anyone ever been reading something in your presence, when they said, “Hey…here’s an article about that car you’re thinking of buying?”

That’s viral marketing.

Imagine your contact being so compelling, so interesting, people feel motivated to SHARE it with others?  Viral marketing LEVERAGES the money-making ability of your contact, without you spending any additional time, money or effort.

How can that create a BIG payday for you?  Let’s take a look.

If you sent out 500 pieces of contact mail per month, and because of the unique content, 1 in 5 people shared it with someone else…that’s like actually sending out…

600 Pieces of Mail

You actually got 100 additional exposures to your content and your offers for FREE.  How much are those 100 additional exposures worth to you?

Well, do the math.  If you discovered that for every 500 exposures you got 1 client, who was worth $5,000 in commissions, then every 100 exposures is worth $1,000 to you.

So, continuing our example…that means your viral marketing earned you an extra $1,000 a month – not bad for absolutely NO additional work, don’t you think?

So how do you create viral marketing in your business?

Here’s how we do it.  First, we use what’s known as “hard” content.  “Hard” content is specific, ‘how-to’ content that’s specifically usable to someone.  It’s designed from the ground-up to get SHARED.

But we don’t stop there.  We also implant every Service For Life!® issue with wild trivia and hilarious jokes.  Why?  Because trivia and funny jokes are the most widely-shared content on Earth.

And that’s why Service For Life!® is the most shared newsletter on the planet – automatically leveraging the effectiveness of your marketing.

But there’s one more component that will stimulate viral marketing…

Contact Secret #7:  Motivate to TAKE ACTION

If Contact Secret #5 is the most important of the bunch here – then #7 stands closely behind it.  Here’s why…

You want to establish your prospecting systems so you motivate quality prospects and clients calling YOU – not the other way around.

Why?  Because it’s the only way to maximize the earning power of your time.  Do you remember this concept from article 7…where I asked you…


Your job is to spend as many hours in the day working with clients, closing deals, and GETTING PAID.  Doing anything other than closing deals and you’re working for FREE – and that includes prospecting.

So when you can motivate folks to call you – you’re automatically increasing your value per hour.

There’s also another reason to motivate people to call you:  It “positions” you differently when prospects call you.  Outbound calling puts you in an inferior position with the prospect or client.  Inbound calls put you in a superior position.

So the question becomes…how do you motivate inbound calls?

By giving prospects and clients important and helpful REASONS to call you – reasons important to THEM.  Remember…

No One Will Call You Without a Specific, Self-
Serving, Irresistible REASON for Calling

How do we do this?

By getting into the shoes of your prospects when they’re thinking about buying or selling.  We have over 14 specific OFFERS for helpful consumer information and non-threatening real estate services for people to CALL YOU to receive.

These include Special Consumer Reports on how to save time and money when buying and selling…

…Free services like your “Maximum Home Value Audit”…

…Helpful resources like your “Platinum Buyers Program” that helps sort the market and deliver a list of homes for your buyers.

Quality prospects calling you – that’s the secret to multiplying your value and income.

Does all this make sense?

You’ve just learned some of the most valuable information for making your contact make money – whether it’s farming, lead follow-up or house list contact.

The only question left is…you now have the knowledge you need for creating your own contact program…

But WHY Would You?

Why would you take the hard way?

Why would you go it alone when it’s already done for you…for less than you spend on coffee each month?

I have an idea: You practice real estate – I’ll be your personal marketing department.  After all, that’s my business.  And it’s the only way you maximize your income potential in this business.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

So if you’re not using Service For Life!® in your practice yet…click on the logo in the top of the page or this link to see:

  • The hundreds of success stories (videos, audios and written comments) from agents just like you who are growing their production year after year using Service For Life!®
  • Our special report on how exactly how Service For Life!® works…and how it can work for you…
  • Answers to the most commonly asked questions about Service For Life!®
  • A sample issue of Service For Life!®
  • And a secure site to subscribe.

If your results are anything like the thousands of agents who now subscribe to Service For Life!®…joining our membership will be the smartest thing you’ll ever do for your real estate practice.

Today’s Action Plan:

You’ve just learned the 2nd of 7 of the most powerful…most profitable marketing systems ever devised for growing a consistent, ever-growing real estate production.

But of all the 7 systems you’re learning…NONE of them will make a hill of beans if you don’t FIRST have a monthly contact system in place.

Everything else plays-off your monthly contact system.  Everything else is dependent on you having that level of relationship, first and foremost.

And there are 2 ways to go about creating a contact system for your practice:

You could go it alone every month:  Format your own newsletter, research “hard” content (without taking from someone else and violating copyright laws), test and measure language for the essential 7 psychological elements, create proper inserts for your intended audience, create more than 14 direct response OFFERS so you motivate response, write your special reports (about 10 pages each), find a printer and letter shop and make sure they’re not taking you for a ride…and hope and pray you got everything right…


You can let me do it for you.  Let’s be brutally honest.  If left to your own devices, it will never get done.  I’m not being critical.  You’re busy.  You’re stressed.  You don’t have 10 to 15 hours a month to do this kind of thing on your own.

You’re doing what you should be doing: Practicing Real Estate.

Remember the Law of Comparative Advantage from Article 7?  You make your most money practicing real estate.  Let the “other” stuff get done by people who specialize in their areas.

That’s what business is about.  So if you’re not currently using Service For Life!® in your practice, check out the links in the upper left of this page.

You’ll be glad you did.