Nobody likes that sinking feeling you get when you find out one of your former clients is listing a house with someone else. Well, I hate to tell you this: Your former clients won’t automatically call you just because you sold them a house.

Real estate agents know what they need to do to maintain repeat business, but finding the time to do it all is another story. The No. 1 reason real estate professionals fail to get repeat business from their past clients is because they don’t stay in touch.

Maya Angelou said it best: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Anyone can send an automatic email or postcard, and they should. I have always said that real estate marketing works best when it is multimedia. Add something more personal to the emails and postcards for those in your database who have bought or sold a property with you. You have earned a commission, these past clients know how you treat your clients during a transaction, and they typically are your biggest fans.

To keep the positive feelings your clients have for you, send a few strategically timed, personalized greeting cards. You can easily find out their birthday by asking at the closing or by taking a look at their social media profiles. A birthday card in the mail is a rare thing these days, and it’s a great way to make someone feel good on their special day. “Happy Holidays” or “Happy New Year” cards or emails are no-brainers.

Lastly, send a card to your buyer clients on the anniversary of their purchase. Sounds easy, right? Here’s where the rubber meets the road: All agents know this is a good idea; it’s in the execution of the good idea where things fall apart. There are a number of online greeting card services out there. Here is one that recently caught my attention because of how reasonably priced it is: It charges $1.50 or less for a card that you don’t have to touch, mail, or lick the envelope or stamp. This product also allows you to set up a signature that is your own, and that personalized signature can be used on all of your cards. Of course, there’s a database as well.

Another thing that I know homeowners want, because they’ve told me, is timely information about real estate. You want to be the one to provide that information. Agents in my area are using a great tool for email newsletters called Home Actions. The thing that I love about this newsletter platform is that they will gather and organize your email database for you. That’s leverage. Who has time to collect and organize all of those email addresses? Let them do the heavy lifting.

In a few clicks of your mouse (or a few clicks or your assistant’s mouse — why not farm this chore out?), you have sent a card or an informational email that will cement your relationship with your past client. Do this along with postcards, social media and a phone call every so often and you will not have to experience that sick, sinking feeling you experience when another agent’s “for sale” sign pops up in your former client’s yard.

This time of year we are all planning for 2015. What tools and what technology will you implement to ensure that 2015 is a stellar year for you and your real estate business?

Wendy English is a real estate sales manager for Century 21 Commonwealth and a business coach with 15 years of experience helping buyers, sellers and agents navigate the ever changing real estate arena. What’s happening in the real estate market her favorite subject.

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