Quick question: Who is your most neglected client?
I’m willing to bet it’s not who you think it is.
It’s certainly not your “now” clients. Real estate agents are great at handling their now clients. These are the people who keep you busy all day long.
You’re probably working with a “now” client right now. Maybe it’s a buyer you’re actively searching with. Or perhaps it’s a seller for whom you just finished a CMA. They’ve moved from “prospects” to “now clients” because they’re actively in your business and you’re working with them now.
Are your most neglected clients your past clients? Many real estate agents definitely neglect their past clients. Past clients are easy to forget about because they’re out of sight, out of mind … not to mention the fact that your now clients are keeping you so busy that it’s tough to stay in touch with past clients.
What about future clients? These are clients you haven’t even met yet. Your marketing efforts target them specifically. You want them to call you. You spend a lot of time attempting to find out who they are. But your most neglected clients are not your future clients.
Give up? Your most neglected clients of all-the ones who can change the potential of your business-are:
Your “almost now” clients.
These are the people who say, “I’m just looking. I’m going to maybe move in a few months. I’m not ready to start yet. It may even be a year from now.”
Almost now clients want to buy or sell-but not right now. Maybe in three months, six months, nine months, or even a year.
We often get annoyed by these people. They are going to do “something” at “sometime”. We want them to commit to something now. But they simply are not ready yet. So we put these clients on the back burner and focus on our now and future clients.
We justify this by saying:
“They’re not going to do anything for three to six months. I can’t afford to spend that much energy on someone who isn’t taking any action.”
The problem is that when almost now clients say “three months” or “six months” or “nine months”, the odds are that it won’t really be three, six, or nine months.
You can’t take “almost now clients” at their word. It’s not that they’re lying – they truly do believe that it will be whenever they say it is. But quite often, something happens in their life and they’re ready to move forward … and “six months” can turn into six days. They become a now client sooner than they had expected-and they call the agent who has been keeping in touch with them on a regular basis. If this agent isn’t you, you’ve lost their business.
Most clients who say they’re going to do something in six months end up doing something a minimum of 25-35% sooner than that. That means that the clients you’ve put on the back burner might actually buy from someone else while if you haven’t focused attention on them.
You may have even put in your planner to contact these people two months ahead of the time they said they would be ready. But that two months “ahead of time” may be two months too late.
Don’t fault these clients for their change in timing! Circumstances in their lives may change unexpectedly. These are unforeseen and therefore out of their control.
Or it could be what I call the “seed factor”. There’s a funny thing about human nature. Once the seed of an idea starts to germinate in our minds, we often decide to act sooner because it grows and begins to dominate our thoughts. The person who is only “thinking about” buying a new house may start to read home design magazines, drive around looking at neighborhoods, and even have dreams about a new house. One morning they wake up and say, “I’m calling an agent today!”
Your “almost now” client is truly your most valuable client. They could become a now client at any moment. You need to be there to jump on the business they offer.
I recently proved this out in my Evolve! coaching group. I asked all my agent clients to create a list of all their clients who have indicated they “might do something” in the next 12 months. I then asked them to add up those transactions in terms of potential income if they closed.
It was a monumental amount.
At a recent symposium event, I spoke to over 500 agents about tracking this almost now group of clients. Since that seminar, I have had ten agents contact me. They went through their almost now list, contacted them, and were shocked at how many said their timeline has changed and want to begin the process now.
That was a stunning result!
Try it. Make a list of your almost now clients. Get in touch with them. Update them on the market. You may just find a ton of income just sitting there waiting to be taken.
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI