The Gold in Your Database – Past Clients and Sphere of Influence
One mark of a truly successful real estate agent is the high percentage of his or her business that comes from referrals. It means your past clients are happy with what you did and trust you to take good care of their family and friends.
NAR surveys have shown that the majority of real estate clients say they would recommend their REALTOR and/or use them again, and yet only a small minority actually do.
Why? Because their agents failed to stay in touch when the transaction was complete.
As much as they may have liked you, a year or so after their transaction closes they may not remember your full name or where you work. Even if they do remember, they may not have your phone number handy, so if you’ve changed agencies, you’ll have lost them. If they call your old place of business they’ll simply be told that you’re no longer there.
The fact is, if you want repeat and referral business, it’s up to you to stay in touch with past clients and your sphere of influence. It’s your job to make sure they remember you and know how to reach you.
How can you stay in touch without becoming a pest? Several ways.
Some agents choose to communicate via Facebook, and that is a good start. But do keep in mind that not everyone uses Facebook, and “mass communication” is not the same as a note in the mail or an email sent to a specific person.
The first step is to sort your database. If you serve a variety of neighborhoods, enter your past clients into buyer and seller categories for each of the neighborhoods. Otherwise, simply go with buyers, sellers, and sphere of influence.
Set up correctly, an auto responder will let you personalize emails, just as contact management software will let you print personalized letters.
When you contact those people, give them something of value or interest, so they don’t just see your name and think “Oh, another ad.” Take time to make them smile when they see your name, knowing that what you have to say will be worth their time.
Almost everyone cares about real estate values, so send quarterly market reports. Even sellers who have moved away are often curious.
Send news about the community. Answer questions such as “What IS going in on that lot they’re clearing on 4th Street?” Tell them about a new business that just opened or is opening soon. Introduce the new owners of an established business.
Give them news about yourself: Write about a designation you just earned or how much you learned when you attended a convention. If it suits your personality, share a small bit of family news.
You can also send household tips or any kind of trivia that’s simply fun to know. Give them something to share over coffee with a friend.
Be sure to keep sellers who have left the community on your list. They probably still have friends and/or family living here so can still be a source of referrals. And… you never know. Sometimes people decide a move wasn’t for the best and want to come back.
Do always remind them that you welcome their referrals and that you’ll be glad to be an information source for their friends and family. In other words, offer something – don’t just ask.
Lastly, use the telephone…
Make time to call each of those people at least once a year, if not more often.
Call just to say hello and ask how things are going. If you’ve kept good notes you can ask about their job, their children, and even their dog. Show that you’re interested in them, not just in getting more business from them.
But of course, do remind them that you value their referrals.