The fortune is in the follow-up — or so we’ve learned from countless real estate seminars. But sometimes, despite all our knowledge and best intentions, we let the follow-up slip by, and valued clients are left unattended to.
Fortunately, the fourth quarter traditionally allows a bit more time for real estate agents to reconnect with their sphere. And it’s not just about putting in the effort to reach out, it’s also about how you connect that will leave a lasting impression of the exceptional service you provide.
1. Offer value
You want to be relevant before, during and after the transaction. That means being more than just a real estate professional.
For example, after a transaction closes, you might continue sending new listings to clients (probably because you forgot to turn off property search notifications — not a great move). But wouldn’t it be more meaningful to offer something they could really benefit from?
Give your clients something that speaks to them and creates value, so they will want to refer back to it over and over again.
2. Stay visible
Our best agents send clients and local businesses yearly personalized brokerage magazine subscriptions with their photos and contact information on the cover. The value of getting your face in front of your clients on an ongoing basis is outstanding.
Because monthly content is consistently relevant, people usually hold on to the magazines for a long time or even pass them along to friends.
Keeping your visibility high will keep you relevant for years to come, and that truly matters. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that 89 percent of buyers would use their same agent again or recommend said agent to friends and family.
Be the person your client thinks of immediately when he or she thinks of lifestyle and the home.
3. Personalize by differentiation
Get your personal home valuation today!
No, that’s not what I’m talking about. While it is specific to a certain address, the message is generic and not personalized at all.
You’ve met with your clients numerous times. You’ve interacted with their families. You’ve formed relationships. You’re their trusted authority on the home, the market and the lifestyle they want. Right? Well, show that off.
Here’s where your customer relationship manager (CRM) comes in handy. Use it to save a bunch of time by personalizing messages for your sphere of influence (SOI). A good CRM will sort contacts by tags, and you can tag your contacts according to their interests, reaching out to different groups with individualized emails based on their commonalities. Or you can take it a step further and send hand-written thank-you notes.
Sure, mom’s Vermont maple syrup pecan pie recipe (and the childhood story behind rolling out the pie dough together) may be a touching addition to the seasonal holiday mailers, but it isn’t completely relevant to everyone.
You were sensitive to the needs of your clients and truly listened through the transaction. Keep that same level of customer service by tailoring messages on your follow-up campaigns. It doesn’t need to be time-consuming or overwhelming — just use your CRM to help you stay organized.
4. Take the conversation offline
According to 2018 NAR statistics, 91 percent of Realtors use social media — and why not? It’s fast, free (for the most part) and effective (if used correctly). Plus, with 51 percent of buyers finding their home on the internet and 87 percent using a Realtor, it makes sense to have a strong online presence.
Still, more and more real estate agents are realizing the value of going old-school. Because so many agents live online, you will stand out from the crowd if you take time to send a handwritten note or drop by with birthday presents for the kids.
Even the smallest gesture will make a big difference when it’s genuine and thoughtful.
5. Organize an event
Our top-performing agents hold yearly client appreciation events, which have included baseball games, film screenings, elegant dinners and more through the years.
Here are a few go-to fall event ideas:
Pumpkin spice party: Coffee, cake, ale, muffins, salsa and just about anything else pumpkin says cool weather has arrived. Why not carve a pumpkin or two and roast the seeds for a fun take-home treat?
Masquerade parties and black-tie social mixers: Halloween is filled with cheesy, silly fun for the whole family. Take the opportunity to plan something upscale and chic as a special night out for the grown-ups.
Neighborhood beautification projects: Get together and make a difference one neighborhood at a time to prep for the winter and clean up fall debris.
Visit a VA hospital for Veterans Day: And while you’re there, volunteer to help with any special events for the day. It’s a great way to say “Thank you” to those who gave so much.
Observe America Recycles Day on Nov. 15: Plan an informational event with your local solid waste authority. They love teaching how to renew, reuse and recycle and would have some great ideas and programs for homeowners.
Volunteer: Organize a group to volunteer together at a shelter for Thanksgiving.
Observe National Roof Over Your Head Day on Dec. 3: This is an opportunity to host a first-time buyer event where people can donate food and clothing to the homeless. Or you could invite contractors, handypeople and builders for a home remodel and weatherproofing event for your clients. Or do both. Or something more! Your only limit is your imagination.
Holiday parties: Everyone becomes overwhelmed by the decadence of the holidays. Be different. Don’t just be another ugly sweater in the crowd. Why not have a holiday gym day with your clients to work off all those naughty treats? Most gyms have trainers on hand that would be happy to interact and show everyone how to use the equipment. End with the gym’s hot tub, sauna and pool for a refreshing end to a healthy winter event.
Host a football party: Why not invite your clients to an NFL viewing event at a local restaurant?
Wine tasting: These are huge, and you can hold an intimate adults-only gathering for your clients with crisp, sweet fall harvest wines and various cheeses and fruits.
This fall, as homes sales take their natural drop in the market, utilize that time to strengthen your pipeline by focusing on your clients. A strong pipeline means continuous business regardless of how the market reacts over time.
Strong relationships with your clients mean more referrals, greater return and the satisfaction of knowing that you are indeed providing exceptional service before, during and after the transaction.