When was the last time you cleaned out your closet? If you are like most of us, not lately! It takes time, sorting, clearing and organizing to get the job done. It’s a lot like having a garden where there is a recurring demand to prune, weed and otherwise provide constant attention. Would you believe that these same activities apply to pruning and updating your client database on a regular basis?
When interviewing agents, it is always surprising to learn that:
- Many agents admit to not really having an organized database
- They have a type of database, but rarely spend any time working with it
- They have a software program that houses a database, but do not utilize any kind of engagement strategy to keep the contacts nurtured and viable
- They do not implement any kind of ongoing database growth strategies
Any successful business knows that your customers are your most important asset. The process of buying or selling does not end at the closing. When nurtured and serviced after the sale, your client relationship opens the door to easier prospecting, endless referrals and repeat business.
In case you haven’t thought about why it’s important to keep your present customers, here’s a stat that will convince you: SourceLink.com reports that even a “5% increase in customer retention can increase profitability by 75%”! So why not take care of those clients and customers who already know, like and trust you?
Updated January 25th, 2017: As technology comes up with new services and methods for spreading information, your options for connecting with your clients and nurturing professional relationships also increase. While the strategies on this list are still as valid as ever, some new options have appeared in the past few years which can enrich your toolkit for client relationship management.
- Video content will be king in 2017 – it’s always easier for clients to put a face to the name if they can see you in short videos embedded in your emails, on your website or on your social media accounts. Many real estate agents are embracing video as the best way to showcase not only their top listings, but also their profiles. Nothing can ever top the benefit of becoming a recognizable face in your community, especially when it comes to your business.
- Personalized communication makes you an authentic resource – people want to be treated like unique individuals, not parts of a demographic. The best agents agree that real estate is less about properties, and much more about the people. Listen to your clients and the stories they tell you, and engage them building on these personal connections. Professionalism is greatly appreciated in terms of cold-hard business, but the personal touch is what makes you close the deal and leave a mark with your clients. That’s the best way to keep them engaged.
- Tell a story with every interaction – while online communication used to be geared towards providing information in a quick and rather dry way, recent research has shown that people respond much better to stories than to cold facts. When reconnecting with clients, try and condense a little narrative into your email, give them the feeling that during the time you haven’t been in touch, plenty of interesting things have happened that they’d love to hear about.
These new developments in lead nurturing and client management are enhancements and new directions for your overall plan. Here are the 10 top strategies to help you to take good care of your customers:
1) Customers are your most important asset – you have to realize that they are critical to growing your business.
The closing may signal the end of a process, but is the gateway to future business. You need a program that will deliver consistent, systematic contact features that deploy relevant information to keep your brand and name top of mind. There are countless real estate software programs to help organize your contacts before, during, and long after the transaction has been closed. Explore your options to see which platform works best for your business.
2) It’s easier to sell to an existing customer.
According to MarketingMetrics.com, you have a better chance of selling to an existing customer (60%) than a new prospect (the percentage plummets from 60% to as low as 5-20%). Take at least one day per week to work on your database. Start from your current year and work backwards to organize, review and upload customer information so you can begin the process of contacting, nurturing and informing.
3) Save 5 times the marketing dollars.
Forrester Research reports that in today’s market, it costs five times more to acquire a customer than it does to keep current ones. Retaining customers is the next step in managing the relationship and keeping the client for life. Client relationship management (CRM) is a key action step that you need to continually nurture and maintain strong relationships with this important segment of your database.
4) Build your database effortlessly, cheaply and easily.
Many agents are so busy working with current prospects that they can’t keep up with prospecting for new customers. If your present website isn’t working 24/7, you will lose the prospecting and marketing edge. Be smart and choose a website that is effective at managing your prospecting leads with lead capture features that are coupled with ongoing communication and marketing messaging. These help you stay connected with your prospects during the incubation process. Check out Point2 Agent to learn what your site may be missing.
5) Entice past customers back to your business.
A good old-fashioned phone call with a follow up handwritten thank you note can, and often will, do the trick. Once you’ve reignited the connection, be ready to continue the engagement with consistent communication touches that keep the connection warm. Set up a marketing calendar for at least once a month contact. Offer reports, fun gift certificates for coffee, or free gas. Engage your SOI by offering some seasonal competitions or small social events.
6) How about a Five-A-Day Contact Program?
It’s always easier to make small steps that have big impact! Start your day with a colorful piece of paper with 5 names of past clients, referral sources or solid prospects. Make 5 “touch” calls every day for 5 days a week. You’ll end your month with a healthy rotation through your database and the number of touches will be around 100 calls! The scripts are easy. A simple script may be:
“Hi! This is (your name). I was driving through your neighborhood and thought I would check in and say hello. Let me know if there is anything I can do to answer questions or serve your real estate needs.”
7) Send a note!
If you are just plain embarrassed because you haven’t kept in touch, think about sending a fun note that states, “I’ve missed you!” and include a call to action to get information about neighborhood news, property updates or current real estate activity in their area.
8) Throw a party!
Every year one of the most successful agents in the Chicagoland area threw a fun summer outdoor party for all of his past clients and strategic partners. The annual party had a theme, with plenty of fun activities for kids like face painting and games. Regardless of when the client bought or sold, every year they knew they would be invited. It’s a great way to stay connected! The local party permits are pretty inexpensive, and he invited his lenders and support contractors to share in the fun and help out with expenses… a win-win for everyone.
9) Be visible in the community.
Set up a charity event for your local town or community. Think: Coats for the Cold, Thanksgiving dinners, Toys for Tots or other holiday drives will all help to contribute to having your name at top of mind.
10) Be a resource!
Set up monthly or quarterly real estate events so that people can learn what they need to do to buy or sell real estate. Make it a joint venture with attorneys, title companies, credit repair services and more at your local library or church to meet more people and grow your database.
With consistent updating of your most valuable asset – your prospects – you can be assured you will never have to “clean house” again, and you’ll be ready to leverage the power of your influence!
How do you stay in touch with your past clients?