- Acknowledge birthdays, anniversaries and accomplishments
- Don't be a "secret agent"
- Put yourself in social settings to run into clients
As real estate agents we all know how important it is to stay in touch with past, present and future clients, but many of us fail to do so on a regular basis. Some agents find it uncomfortable to randomly call clients just to say hello. Others have been in the business for a long time and are daunted by the thought of having to connect with such an extensive list of clients. So how do we overcome our fears, manage our time and stay in touch with past clients?
Meet Steve Epstein
For this topic I brought in an agent that brings a slightly different perspective than myself. Steve Epstein has been a top real estate agent for longer than I've been alive (seriously) and has a list of past clients that pushes into the 4 digits. Steve has been recognized with nearly ever award that a real estate agent can accomplish and I am very excited to have his thoughts in this article.
How to Stay in Touch With Clients
As a “Trusted Advisor” I never stop finding new ways to walk that fine line of continuing to remind my valued clients that I am an active Realtor, their Realtor. I want them to never forget that I am here to be of assistance without ever being “that guy” who is annoying and overbearing. I think the balance of “appropriate ongoing contact” is very tough for many of us. I live in a community that has one Realtor for every 142.9 people. Everybody knows a dozen Realtors here. Good, bad or indifferent, people will often do business with the person that is front of them when they have a need!
7 Easy Options for Connecting
- Calls, cards (always handwritten), texts and e-mails depending on who the client is and what form of communication would be best for them. This is often, but not always, a generational thing although I am often pleasantly surprised by the level of technical and “connected” sophistication some of my older clients are comfortable engaging in.
- Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat. “Like” and weigh in on others' posts but not too much…remember, you do not want to be “that person”! For more information on real estate and social media click here.
- Special events: I always try to acknowledge work anniversaries on LinkedIn as well as birthdays, engagements, and new job announcements on other platforms such as Facebook.
- I send clients any new listings, sold listings or any real estate activity proximate to their property or relevant to their property search.
- I like to e-mail out announcements and articles of interest on a variety of topics but usually on the topic of real estate, mortgage related (be careful to not directly quote actual rates) or other “big picture” economic news. I also like to e-mail my sphere of influence with new listing and recent sold announcements.
- Other contact triggers can be things like a home purchase anniversary, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, engagement announcements, sports accomplishments (your clients’ and their families), or clients or their families in the news (which is why you MUST watch, listen to and read the local news).
- If you are on any type of group e-mail for things like a school group, a non-profit, your church or just a social group, you should consider hitting “reply all” for your responses if it is not, in any way, inappropriate to do so. It reminds everybody on that list that you are an active Realtor.
Get Social -- Don’t Be a Secret Agent
I attend a variety of events in my community from fundraisers, volunteer days, sporting events, school related activities, the works. Do not be a “secret agent”! I also serve on 3-4 non-profit boards at any given time.
Make a point of eating out (especially lunch in a high traffic location) vs. eating lunch at your desk. My team makes a point of holding meetings out in high visibility locations whether it is a meeting with the team or a client. It reinforces that you are active and working -- people want to work with successful, busy people! If you are having lunch with other agents (other than your team) you are wasting an hour that could be spent with your clients.
Make a point of trying to schedule several meetings a week with past or future clients. Again, think public location if appropriate. I tell newer agents that are building their business to have 1-2 of these activities with a client, per day:
- Happy hour
- A physical activity (think hiking or a gym workout)
Call your clients (or future clients) and invite them to go to coffee. The goal is engagement. Ask them for their advice on a subject; we are all surrounded by experts and they love it when we acknowledge their expertise and ask for their opinions. Again, this can be a very powerful tool for building a newer real estate practice.
In training and mentoring agents that are trying to build up their business, I remind them that it is all about having conversations. The more conversations they have, the more they will build their business pipeline -- it is really as simple as that. You must have a couple of “elevator speeches” teed up and ready to go at all times as it is imperative that you are ready to engage at all times.