A service-oriented approach leaves you and your clients feeling better about every interaction. Coach Darryl Davis offers seven strategies for reaching out in a positive, authentic way.

September is Marketing and Branding Month at Inman. Tips for better branding and in-depth features on how to take advantage of marketing tools provided by Zillow, Redfin and other platforms are all in the works in addition to insights from experts. You’ll find it all at Inman, as well as our two-day virtual, flagship event, Your Playbook for the Fall Market, in October.

Believe it or not, one of the most overlooked sources of leads for agents is the list of past clients sitting there in their database. Why is that, you ask?   

Great question. Let’s dive into it. Then, I’ll give you some ideas on how to reach out to your database without sounding like an annoying salesperson.

First, fear gets in the way

Based on the questions I often get from coaching members, I think a lot of agents are afraid to call. They don’t want to “bother” anyone. Don’t want to feel like they are “selling” anything. The best way to get past that fear is to understand that you are providing a service, and you’re a good human being.  

What do good human beings do? They stay in touch with people they have a relationship with. Not in a “let me see what I can get from them” way, but in a “let me see how I can serve them” way. Does that make sense? Can you see how that little shift in thinking makes picking up the phone a little less scary?

Secondly, organization — or lack of it — plays a poor hand

I can’t tell you how many agents I’ve seen over the course of 30-plus years who have no database in place. No means or system for staying in touch with their clients. They have a transaction with a client, then move immediately to the next client and transaction.

In today’s market, it is more important than ever to have a CRM or some sort of system to track your clients. According to NAR Statistics, 75 percent of buyers would use their agent again, and 90 percent of sellers would use their agent again. If that is not a shining beacon for you to stay top-of-mind with a system for contact, I don’t know what is.

The bottom line? This is a reminder to get organized, get your contacts into a system, and get ready to stay in consistent communication with your sphere and farm. 

7 ways to reach out to your database  

1. Call just to check in

That’s it. Not real estate-related. Not talking shop. Just check in. See how they are. Ask how their business is. Ask if there’s anything you can do for them. Wish them well, and let them know you’re there for them.

You might be surprised to see how amazing the response is. When you do something without the promise of something in return in today’s world, it stands out. Your clients will think, “Wow, they aren’t just about the sale.” That’s an important differentiator.   

2. Check in via text

Not a talker or know that your clients aren’t? Take the same approach as the first idea but via text. No sales. Just a simple:

“Hey, it’s (your name), you popped into my head today, and I just wanted to check in with you and see how you and your family are. If there’s anything I can do for you, just let me know. Have an amazing day, and know I’m here for you guys!”  

3. Invest in some SMILE Stops

You know what says, “I’m thinking about you” in a powerful way? A simple stop by a great client’s house with a small gift. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, just thoughtful.

  • A pie with a note that says, “Any way you slice it, you’re an awesome client. Thank you!”
  • A festive fall pumpkin with a note that says, “I’m always ready to carve out time for your questions! Thanks for being a great client!”

Listen, I know these can sound corny (says the old-school New Yorker), but these little drop-by gifts are worth their weight in referrals, relationships and, frankly, your own well-being. The lift agents say they get when they connect with their clients in fun (and funny) ways leaves them feeling inspired and invigorated to make more connections.   

4. Send a birthday or home-iversary card

Card sending is almost a lost art these days, so receiving one is even more special. Make it a practice at the first of every month to check in with your CRM or calendar and send a special card to your clients with a sincere note.   

5. Send a holiday card

I love the idea of holiday cards, but I do not like the idea of sending just a holiday card if you’ve ignored your clients all year round and just send the obligatory Christmas card. To me, that doesn’t feel authentic or genuine.

Instead — send a Thanksgiving one or Halloween or New Year, but always call first. Just a check-in call and let them know you’re thinking of them this season, Then, follow it up with a card.   

6. Send a certificate for a CMA

Wait — don’t get it twisted. This doesn’t have to feel salesy. I tell our coaching members to call a CMA a Neighborhood Market Report. Not because we’re trying to be slick, but because that is a term that makes sense to them, and it’s a little more family-friendly.

Include a note (and a follow-up call) that says, “Hey, I know there is a lot on the news and in the media right now about home values and the market, and that has a lot of people questioning what that means for them. If you have those same questions, know that I am here to help.” See? That’s not salesy — that’s service.   

7. Get social with a 15 and 5 strategy

Spend 15 minutes on Facebook each day to look at five clients’ profiles, and like or comment on their posts. It’s a subtle way of staying top-of-mind that takes very little time.    

Here’s the thing about all of these ideas — they aren’t meant to get you a sale. Although that may sound counterintuitive for a “how-to” real estate article, people know when you aren’t being authentic. So, be authentic.

If you’re truly in this business to help and serve people, then these service and relationship-forward ideas will resonate with you. Better still, they’ll resonate with your clients because they will feel that you are truly just there to check in and serve.   

What’s amazing and wonderful and fascinating is that when you do these things without the promise of reward, more often than not, you’ll find yourself fielding referrals, getting listings and really enjoying having conversations with your client as opposed to the feeling of dread and fear that normally takes over for agents when they are reaching out to clients or prospecting.   

Get in the groove. Connect. Be kind. Serve. You’ll amaze yourself, and you’ll feel way better about your business.   

Darryl Davis is a speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate, as well as the CEO of Darryl Davis Seminars. He currently hosts weekly free webinars to help agents navigate market change and design careers worth smiling about. Learn more at his website or connect with him on Facebook or YouTube.

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