As a real estate agent, you work hard to gain new prospects, but have you thought about how you're keeping up with your prior clients? According to Juanita McDowell of the InMotion Real Estate Institute, 86% of people don't use the same real estate agent a second time. And, according to McDowell, attracting new clients is six times more expensive than retaining past clients.
It can be a challenge to strike the perfect balance between being annoying, informative, and friendly, but consistency and relevance are essential to being top of mind in the eyes of your prior clients. Need some ideas on how to keep in contact with these clients? Here are some suggestions:
Be active in your community. The more active you are in your community, the more likely you are to interact with people—including your prior clients. Joining church groups, school boards, and other similar groups can help grow these relationships and build trust, which will make it easier to start conversations. Most people want a friend more than a real estate agent, so interacting on a personal level gives you an identity beyond just being a salesperson. As you gather birthdays, anniversaries, names of kids and pets, and interests, record the information in an organized fashion, such as in a CRM program, for easy reference.
Group your contacts. For the purpose of target marketing, consider common characteristics and interests among your prior clients and group them into similar categories. A few examples of how to group your contacts could include neighborhoods, pet lovers, foodies, gym goers, or parents. However, there isn't a right or wrong way to do this. If you are friends with these contacts on Facebook, you can also group them into Friend Lists to keep up with just that group of people. By doing so, you can learn about each group’s interests, interact with their posts, and gather conversation opportunities, which can help you grow relationships and fine tune your marketing efforts.
Regular targeted emails. Consistently providing relevant information to prior clients is essential to staying top of mind. One great way to make sure your content is relevant to your audience is by using your contact lists. For example, you could send out a monthly or quarterly newsletter to prior clients by geographic area with content relevant to their specific neighborhood. For an even more targeted approach, send emails of new listings to prior clients to see if they or someone they know is in the market. Even better—if you see that a client viewed a listing online, send an email with additional information about the property and let the client know when you'll be showing it.
Personalized touches. Let your clients know you are thinking of them through random phone calls and mailings. Programs exist that automatically put your calls to the recipient’s voicemail without the phone ringing. This can be a great way to drop a message that you were in the neighborhood and thought of the client without carrying a full conversation. As for mailings and emails, the possibilities are endless—you could send links, magazine articles, books, or anything you think your clients would enjoy. For example, you could send a recipe for lasagna to a client who loves Italian food.
Holidays & special occasions. Celebrate special times throughout the year with your clients. Consider sending an annual holiday mailing. A unique St. Patrick’s Day or Groundhog Day mailing may stand out more than a Christmas card would. Sending an email, card, or text message on clients’ birthdays and anniversaries shows that you care on a personal level. You may wish to extend these special messages to your clients for their children's birthdays, graduations, or weddings as well. If any of your clients are passionate pet lovers, sending a birthday card or small gift for a pet’s birthday is another opportunity to connect.
Send handwritten thank-you cards. Handwritten thank-you notes stand out in a digital world. Get in the practice of sending a note of gratitude right after each closing and for any referrals. If you want to make your note more personal, avoid using company stationery or putting in a business card. A card coming from you as a person gives more of a personal touch than a card coming from you as an agent.
Getting to know your clients personally can help mitigate any potential awkwardness when you reach out to say hello or ask for a referral. Keeping track of what you learn with a CRM system, targeting your marketing, and using personal touches can help show that you care about your clients, not just as business partners, but as people. And in a relationship-driven business like real estate, knowing your clients as people can make a world of difference when it comes to keeping your clients coming back to you.
Brown, L. (2017). Seven Deadly Since of Sales. Presentation, WRA Convention 2017, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, Milwaukee, WI.
Carpenter, S. (2017). The REALTOR®’s Toolbox: Tools, Tips, and Techniques to Build a Successful Business. Presentation, WRA Convention 2017, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, Milwaukee, WI.
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