If I had a dollar for every time one of my clients asked me my opinion about the latest and greatest business building product or gimmick, I would be a multi-millionaire. Agents are always looking for ways to improve their business model and to increase their income, but they often overlook their best asset.
The problem is that they are looking for ways to bring in new business without really understanding the impact incredible client care can have on bringing in new business. Agents are often so busy taking care of their current clients that they ignore their past and potential clients. They tend to forget the impact their past and potential clients can have on their future income.
In a business that is as hectic and unscheduled as real estate, it is imperative that agents figure out a way to be in communication with past and potential clients on a consistent basis. The key to building any business is to provide exceptional client care and to keep yourself top of mind with your clients so they will come back to you and refer other to you.
I have told many agents over the years that the place to start building your business is to first improve your past client and potential client care and follow up. Your current clients will always be top of mind for you because they are the ones that you are working with right now. It is easy to forget about the buyers and sellers that you helped 2 or 5 or even 10 years ago. But imagine if you didn’t. Imagine you had a consistent communication plan that showed your past clients that they are still top of mind with you. When you don’t forget about your clients, they won’t forget about you.
The reason so many agents fall into the trap of buying the next best lead generation system (that may be a complete waste of money) is because they need leads. If you need leads you must make sure that your past and potential client programs are in place.
A good past client or potential client program needs to be consistent; it can’t be too generic, and it must incorporate some personal engagement. You need to let your past clients know that you are thinking of them and that they are not just a name in your database. When I was actively selling, I would make sure that my past clients heard from me personally, not just in the form of a mailer but personally. If I couldn’t reach them by phone, I would write them something personal. If they didn’t respond to what I wrote them I would follow up with a call. In a world where technology is replacing our need to pick up the phone, don’t underestimate the power of Good Old-Fashioned Client Care!
Here is my list of my favorite Good Old-Fashioned Client Care activities to make your past and potential clients feel top of mind with you.
- A personal phone call – Past clients like to hear from their agent if it is something that pertains to them not to be asked for referrals.
- A handwritten note – Notes are quick to write and when received have a big impact. Who doesn’t like to get a handwritten note?
- A custom report about their home – Doing an Annual Client Report for past clients that shows them how their home and area have appreciated or depreciated is a great way to make a big impact every year.
- A custom report about the area they are interested in buying or selling in – Potential clients need data and information when they are buying or selling. Let’s say they are thinking of buying a Condo in Seattle, you should be sending them all kinds of information that pertains to “Condos in Seattle.” I am not referring to just sending them listings. This is where you do research and show them data and information, they couldn’t easily find online themselves. Perhaps you can show them the areas in Seattle where Condos have appreciated the most. Anything that shows you are doing research for them is a powerful way to impress potential clients.
- A video that is customized to them – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Video is a powerful real estate tool. We are all carrying a little video recorder in our purse or pocket, so use it! If it doesn’t come out Hollywood-perfect, that’s fine—in fact, that’s a sign of authenticity, which your clients will appreciate.
- A handwritten card – I used to send out cards on the Anniversary of when my clients bought their homes, and many would call me just to tell me that they couldn’t believe it had already been 5 years since they bought. What a great way to show your clients that you have not forgotten that important date.
- A gift that is personal and meaningful to them – I personally love animals and would always take big pet baskets to any of my clients that got a new furry family member. With Facebook and Instagram and all the social media sites out there it is super easy to find out information about your clients, stay connected with them and show them that you care.
- An update on their area with notes on how their home relates to the area – Everyone who owns a home that you sold cares about news that pertains to their area. They also want to know how their area is appreciating and as their agent it is your job to do that for them. These kinds of updates let them know that you are still working for them long after the transaction closed.
- An invitation to a Client Appreciation Event – even if your past clients can’t go, they still hear from you and are kept up to date on what you are up to. I also recommend sending a personal note after the event to anyone who couldn’t make it simply saying they were missed and that you hope they will be able to attend your next one.
Before an agent spends any money on the latest and greatest lead generation system, I want them to really examine their current systems and then ask themselves if their past and potential clients are really getting that Good Old-Fashioned Client Care that they deserve.