According to realtor.org, 73 percent of homebuyers and 65 percent of sellers would use the same agent again in the future or recommend to their friends and family. However, only 25 percent of people end up using the same agent multiple times.
The issue: The average person moves once every seven years — but who has a seven-year marketing plan handy?
In a real estate culture that’s focused around always getting the next client — and one where the cost to acquire a new client is five times higher than working with past clients — something has to change.
What needs to happen: retention and recommendation planning.
Successful retention is dependent on many factors, but I’ll boil it down to five things you should be doing to increase client retention and recommendations.
1. Say thank you.
After you close a deal, it’s important you show your gratitude to your clients and with more than words. I would recommend a handwritten card with a housewarming gift.
Some agents will take on the expense of throwing the housewarming party itself, which is an excellent way to widen your circle and hand out a few business cards.
I’d recommend looking at Gary Vaynerchuck’s book, “The Thank You Economy.” It will help you learn how to use “thank you” to grow your business.
2. Remember the significant dates.
Keeping track of your clients can seem daunting. As a starting point, I’d make sure to put all important dates in your calendar, such as the clients’ closing date, birthdays, anniversaries and so on.
For agents with a client list exceeding 100, I’d recommend a CRM solution. A CRM can help you make notes on each client you have; notes like “John’s son is playing varsity football this year, and his season starts in September.”
3. Use social media.
The use of social media is a great way for you to increase your brand exposure with past clients continually. Consistently post relevant community information and become the expert — and your following will grow as well as your business.
I’ve written several posts on Inman on social media tactics; check them out when you get a chance.
4. Ask for referrals.
Don’t fear this tip — embrace it. Ask any successful agent what the biggest driver of their business is, and I guarantee they’ll say referrals. Of sellers, 39 percent found their agent through a referral.
The key to this is to ask tastefully. If you are worried about asking, I recommend you watch Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk on the art of asking.
5. Communicate with past clients — often and contextually.
Your clients chose you because you are the local expert; now it’s time to prove it. Separate your email lists in groups by neighborhood, and aim to send out an information email once a month about the particular community.
Make a list of local news resources, and pull stories accordingly based on your clients’ area. It doesn’t require a lot of effort, but it can give significant results as the emails will continue to position you as the local expert.
Now, let’s increase that 25 percent retention rate I mentioned at the beginning.
*This article has been changed from its original version. The number of buyers and sellers that say they would use the same agent was updated with more recent statistics from realtor.org.