In all my years in real estate, the biggest missed opportunity I’ve seen is ignoring past clients. Although most agents realize the importance of staying in touch, they overcomplicate it in their minds and end up doing nothing.
It’s like most things we set out to do, whether it’s losing weight, getting fit or reorganizing your home, the more complicated you make the process, the harder it is to get started. So, in the end, you simply fail to execute.
So, to make it a lot easier to execute, let’s discuss the simplest way to start touching base with former clients so that you can start getting more referrals.
Before doing anything else you need to develop a follow-up process for past client as well as your larger sphere of influence with the goal of drawing in huge numbers of referrals.
This involves two important components:
1. Your value as an experienced Realtor
Let’s start by discussing what you bring to the table as an experienced Realtor – the value exchange.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos often talks about how the company keeps its focus on the things that will always stay the same in their business. These are the things that decades from now their customers will still value.
One question he asks is, “Can we picture a time when our customers would want their orders delivered more slowly?” And, the answer is always “No.” This is why they invest in speeding up the delivery times because this is what will pay the most dividends in the long run.
The problem that keeps coming up with agents in trying to stay in touch with past clients and their larger sphere is that they ask themselves the wrong question. They’re asking some version of, “How can I automate my follow-ups with past clients so with little or no effort I can have loads of referrals rolling in all the time?”
Instead, Realtors should be asking themselves what their past clients would honestly value from them based on their expertise. They should ask, “Would my clients be interested in how they can maximize the value of their home over time?”
With this mindset, you can see that with some effort the strategy you put in place to follow up with past clients could provide them with valuable insight. This, in turn, would likely motivate them to recommend you to friends and family.
Okay, let’s now discuss the importance of consistency.
All the time I see Realtors overcomplicating they are follow-ups with past clients, trying to incorporate strategies like the following:
• Remembering birthdays and/or anniversaries
• Sending drip emails on a recurring basis
• Emailing monthly newsletter that seems more like spam
• Hosting major events
I’m not saying these strategies are doomed to fail. You may even be carrying some of them out and getting results. What I am saying is that buying new software and hiring people to execute all of this can entail a lot of time, effort and stress, not to mention the cost. And, it could even detract from the outcome you’re seeking.
Like most things, the more complicated you make it, the likelier it is that in 6 months’ time you won’t be doing any of it anymore and you’ll be scratching your head wondering what went wrong.
You need to develop a follow-up process that you can consistently stick with long term. There are 3 separate strategies that work hand-in-hand if you layer them properly. Once you’ve mastered one, you layer the next on top and so on.
Before even thinking about anything else, every Realtor should phone their past clients and people in their sphere at least 4 times a year.
The most common question I hear when I propose this is, “Okay, what do I say to them?” Let me answer by walking you through one possible option for reaching out to clients on a consistent basis and offering them something of value each time.
Whether you’re a rookie agent or a veteran with 25 years of experience, the easiest approach is to phone someone on your list and ask them whether they’d like a free update on the value of their home to give them a good idea of where they stand according to current market conditions. Along with this, you could offer to give them some personalized advice on how they could increase that value.
If their home is one you initially helped them buy, you would just gather some additional information on any upgrades they may have done, prepare the CMA and send it to them with a follow-up phone call to discuss the second part.
On the other hand, if you’re reaching out to someone you’ve never worked with before from your sphere, you’ll need to establish a baseline. This involves meeting up for a quick walkthrough, which will enable you to do an assessment and from there you can follow up with them accordingly.
This simple approach helps them see your value as a Realtor since you are consistently providing them with valuable info on their property. Doing this alone could make you millions in commissions over the next few years.