As you may already know, keeping in touch with past clients is an essential ingredient to building referrals and generating repeat business.

Once you’ve helped your client purchase or sell his home, and the transaction is complete, you need to continue the relationship-building process if you want referrals to flow your way and clients to come back to use your services time and again.

Remember, it takes five times the amount of time and money to acquire a new client than to retain an existing one. The business you receive from past clients in the form of referrals and repeat transactions is “low-hanging fruit” compared to the business you get from having to prospect, advertise and cold call.

Consider this: The National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that among sellers, a whopping 85 percent said that they would definitely or probably use their real estate agent again or recommend them to others.

But clients won’t recommend you or use your services again if you’re not keeping in touch. It’s likely that they’ll simply forget about you and/or move on to the next agent they come across.

My advice is to start using a real estate CRM (customer relationship management system) to plan, schedule and organize all of your “keep in touch” communications with your contacts, such as drip email marketing campaigns, direct mail, events like client appreciation nights, and phone calls.

But perhaps you haven’t been using a real estate CRM and/or you need to re-connect with clients and just don’t know what the best approach is. Start by making a phone call and doing the following:

1. Provide an introduction. If it has been years since you’ve last made contact with a client, it’s important to introduce yourself. The client may not remember you. You can say, “Hi, Mark, it’s Alex Stevens from XYZ Realty. How are you? It’s been a while since we spoke last.”

2. Make an apology. Communicate that you should have done a better job at keeping in touch and that you intend to do so moving forward.

3. Lend a hand. Make it clear that as a Realtor, your job extends beyond simply helping clients to buy or sell their home. Ask if you can be of assistance in any way. You can also ask if they need any kind of recommendation on a reputable home-service professional such as a landscaper, handyman, plumber or interior designer.

Image Courtesy of Matthew Collis

4. Give your word. Give your word, that, with your client’s permission, you’d like to keep in regular contact and provide ongoing information that he’ll find helpful in maximizing the enjoyment of his home.

5. Say “thank you.” You’ll find that most clients will accept your offer to keep in regular contact with them and be an ongoing resource on all things real estate. When they do, show your appreciation by saying “thank you.”

Remember, each loyal and well-nurtured client in your database can represent thousands of dollars in referrals and repeat business down the road. If you’re not keeping in touch and building relationships with clients long after the sale, you’re throwing money down the drain. As mentioned, you need to get on board with a top-notch real estate CRM, which will make it easy for you to build relationships, stay in touch, and get that coveted referrals and repeat business.

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