On average, people move more than 11 times in a lifetime, according to Census data cited by The Atlantic. That’s a long homeownership life cycle.
One major challenge that every agent faces is how to create a long-lasting relationship, so that when a former client is ready to move again, they’ll come back to work with you a second time.
It’s tough, because an agent’s time is typically spent helping clients who are actively buying or selling a home now. Investing time into nurturing a long-term relationship with an old client can often fall by the wayside in favor of working toward winning a listing or helping a current client close a deal.
On top of this, marketing styles for the residential real estate market are evolving to conform to the millennium. As agents, not only do we find ourselves having to learn new tools while mastering old ones, but we are also presented with the challenge of stepping up our game in adapting new ways for people to get in touch and remain in touch.
With that said, here are some ways that I use technology in my own sphere of influence to grow and manage my business.
Take advantage of texting
Texting is not only one of the most widely used technologies available today, but it is also one of the most effective in getting consumers’ attention immediately. Studies say that 67 percent of people would rather text with a business about appointments and scheduling than by email or phone, and that 98 percent of text messages are read by the end of the day.
Build out a list of past and present clients’ cell numbers, and generate a calculated, strategic timeline to send checkpoint messages to each one based on which stage of the homeownership life cycle they fall into. Similarly, ensure that all of your clients have access to your number, and ensure to respond to text messages in a timely and consistent fashion.
My brokerage, ERA Brokers Consolidated, developed a texting feature in 2018, which I recently used to launch a successful “texting-review” campaign for past clients to get more feedback about my work.
I emailed and mailed each client a code (ReviewBeverly to 39200) as well as a personalized letter with an incentive of a $5 Amazon gift card if they used the code that month to leave me a review of my services.
It was a simple yet memorable way to take advantage of a daily technology tool to drive my business. I was then able to circle back with those who reviewed me to thank them for the feedback and follow up for additional business recommendations. So the process perpetuates itself.
Invest in a CRM that will grow with you
There are a number of customer relationship manager (CRM) tools out there for Realtors to use. Find one that works for you. Really commit to making the most of its resources. I use mine to track all of my business as well as set tasks for myself. I think of it as my all-inclusive, electronic personal assistant. By relying on my CRM, I am able to set future tasks (think anniversary phone calls and cards) for myself as well as keep detailed notes of my activity with the client.
Use your CRM to keep client relationships organized and personal. Send emails to clients directly through the program so that all correspondence remains streamlined, where you can easily reference it later on.
Another good tip is to keep detailed notes about your clients within your CRM. For example, it’s beneficial to be able to reference small personal details in your conversations, such as whether your client recently mentioned having a sick child or a career change.
If you can remember and readily reference these specific and personal details in client conversations, it immediately helps you to stand out. It’s a small trick to help show them how much you care and how attentive you are to their personal needs and their business.
Build your personal brand digitally
It’s important to show — not tell — consumers why they should choose to work with you over the “other guy.” Create a personal brand or unique value proposition that is distinctive to you or your market alone, and spread this message across the digital stage.
What is no one else doing? What are you passionate about in life that can connect you with others? What do you feel comfortable talking about, apart from real estate? Finding your trademark can be a challenge, but it can be done.
I highly recommend it be a topic you feel very close to. Ask yourself: “Are there opportunities for referrals?” Say you love to fish, can you recommend a hot fishing spot? A lure? Favorite bait?
Once you know and have established your brand, keep the messaging consistent across your brokerage’s website, personal and professional social media pages, etc.
There are a slew of apps, websites and software programs that can help you curate customized visuals and branding images that will help you stand out and establish a personal trademark. I even make videos across Facebook and YouTube. They include: how-tos for other agents, listed property tours, mistakes new homebuyers make and more.
In other words, building an online presence helps you get noticed in new ways, and has the potential to reach an entirely new audiences of clients.
For some, relying too heavily on technology has a negative connotation. It evokes the idea of a robotic transaction, an unfeeling entity that couldn’t possibly care.
But, in this day of digital innovation and technology tool prevalence, we can access our existing and future clients in a fundamental way.
Moving can be extremely expensive and stressful, but if agents — through technology tools and unique relationship building and maintenance — can alleviate some of those pressures for their clients, everybody wins.
Beverly Whipple is a Realtor with ERA Brokers Consolidated in Hurricane, Utah. Connect with her on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.