Asking an agent what she disliked most about real estate, she said in a flash, “It’s the prospecting part, the calling part, the selling part…it’s the spending a lot of money on mailers and never getting anything back…no clients, no sales, no anything.”

To this agent and many more, I ask, “Have you thought about predictive analytics?” “What’s that?” you might respond. And I say that it’s what Netflix uses to predict which films you might like to watch when they suggest some to you. It’s who Match.com recommends to you as men/women you might like to meet. The movie suggestions and the men/women recommendations from Netflix and Match.com are not random. Their respective suggestions and recommendations to you are based upon specific movies you’ve chosen to watch in the past and specific information you’ve given to Match about yourself and the specific qualities and characteristics in women/men that you have identified as being the most important to you.

Predictive analytics, the art of pulling together data that is specific to a particular industry and then matching that data to a specific group or individual, makes predictions about unknown future events. For Netflix, it about predicting which movies you might like to watch in the future. For Match.com, it’s about predicting women/men with whom you may want to develop a relationship. For real estate, it’s about predicting which listings you have that may interest your specific, targeted current and potential clients.

Predictive analytics can optimize data you already have (property, price, sales history, specific neighborhood, zip code, architectural style, lot size, school system, etc.) to help you optimize everything from mailers to cold calls to conversational outreach. It can help you send the right message at the right time to the right person. It can help you make a connection with a client, not just a contact. Predictive analytics can help you beat other agents to the door by “unveiling data signals” to you that other agents don’t see.

To start, predictive analytics can

1. Deliver predictive “scoring” information so you can prioritize your leads/prospects based upon the likelihood that they will take action on your listings.
2. Identify and/or acquire prospects with attributes (age, family size, occupation, income, etc.) that are similar to residents already living in a specific neighborhood
3. Automatically segment your prospects in order for you to personalize your communications (mailers, phone calls, emails, etc) and deliver relevant information to them.

Down the road a bit when you have your big data molded in ways that are most useful to you, predictive analytics can give you insights into why and when your leads/prospects might take action. It can steer your interactions and conversations with your clients into “real” interactions that actually serve your clients’ needs. Predictive analytics can reinforce your value as an agent who actually can meet your clients’ needs.

So, rather than sending out a mailer to an entire zip code, send out a mailer to the 10%- 20% living in that zip code who are most likely to become interested in your listing.