In the real estate business, this scenario happens a lot more than we’d like to admit: A real estate agent helps a young couple buy their first house. Two years later, the couple has a child and needs to upgrade to a bigger house.
Do they go back to their original agent? The numbers say no.
They go to Trulia, Zillow or a broker’s website and become some other agent’s lead.
Real estate has a loyalty problem.
According to NAR, about 90 percent of consumers say they liked their agent and would use them again. Only 10 percent do.
Why is that?
Most agents today do nothing, next to nothing or “nothing special” to try to cultivate referrals and repeat business from their past clients.
In a recent survey from real estate marketing and strategy firm 1000watt, 15 percent of agents said they do no post-close marketing with clients. Of those who did say they do some post-close marketing, it was difficult for them to quantify their efforts since a lot of it consisted of bumping into past clients or sending a quick note to say hello.
The most common post-close marketing activity was email newsletters at 51 percent, followed by direct mail at 50 percent and phone calls at 44 percent.
The content of these marketing efforts was mostly market updates, holiday cards and the occasional Just Listed/Just Sold update.
Most homebuyers today will either never hear from their real estate agents again after they get their keys and move in. Or they will receive spammy market emails that provide little to no context or have nothing to do with real estate or their home. Or they might get random “check-in” emails or phone calls.
In fact, you could argue that much of the post-close marketing agents do now might, in fact, harm them more than help because they are not providing content that is relevant to their profession and business.
For instance, one of the things mentioned by an agent in the survey was content sent to clients about gardening and home improvement. I’m willing to bet that the majority of that agent’s clients have no interest in either of those things. Just because you own a home doesn’t mean you’re a DIY kind of person.
And even if you are an avid gardener, wouldn’t you already be reading magazines and sites such as Houzz for the expert-driven content in that vertical?
Although market updates certainly are in the right vein — i.e., relevant to real estate and the local market — the problem is many of the market email products sold to agents are not homeowner-friendly. The average homeowner doesn’t know what it means to them that home sales are up 20 percent in their ZIP code. The lack of context and customization translates to a lack of engagement or interest.
We’ve dropped the ball.
As an industry, we seem to be more fixated on portals than we are on solving this pervasive — yet solvable — loyalty problem.
Think about it. When you buy a mutual fund, your provider or manager sends you a detailed report of that fund’s performance every quarter.
When you buy a home — a larger investment in many cases — you either get stale market reports, pie recipes or you never hear from your agent again.
It seems that agents could benefit from post-close marketing that aligns them more with the home, helps them build credibility and trust with past clients, and makes the relationship go full circle.
This type of message gives people the connection in their minds to refer you to others — months and even years after their closing.
That is what makes them yours forever.
Robert Reich is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience founding and managing technology companies that serve the title, lending and real estate industries. Today, Reich serves as president of Keep and NextDeal where he strategically leads business development, recruiting and hiring, and manages sales, support and development teams. Reich also hosts a weekly podcast show, U Heard Me!, in which he interviews top title experts and CEOs.