As the holidays approach, our team is gearing up to get our holiday greeting cards created, signed and out the door on time!   As a team of Real Estate Virtual Assistants, we have unlimited resources for our holiday card fiasco, but even so it is one of those things that usually is put on the back burner until it’s crunch time!  This has me wondering how the typical real estate agent without an assistant and/or staff is handling this.  I fear that many of your clients and past clients simply won’t hear from you at all.

Time and time again when I’m consulting with an agent and I ask ‘where does the majority of your new business come from?’ hands down, the answer is almost always ‘past client referrals and repeat business’.  If this is the case, then why is so little time, effort and attention spent on these important influencers?  Agents spend so much time and money on garnering internet leads and typically very little when it comes to past clients.  Is it because it is too easy to touch base with our past clients and if it doesn’t feel like “work” then we don’t feel that it will pay off?  Or perhaps you just don’t know what to do? Whatever the reason, you must change your paradigm, because you’re missing out on easy referrals from people that already want to advocate for you!

Stay In Front of Your Past Clients:

This is a no brainer. I hear this phrase in real estate all the time. Stay in front of your leads, sphere of influence, past clients, web leads, etc.  This is easily accomplished with leads we don’t know – put them on a customized drip, send them postcards, newsletters, etc. However, when staying in front of your past clients, it needs to be more personal.  Sure a monthly newsletter is great (as long as it is customized and not completely a template and also offers something of value), but let’s get personal:

  • Find them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Friend them, tweet them and connect with them!  Make it easy for them to refer business to you, after all EVERY FRIEND AND ACQUAINTANCE they have is in their Facebook account!!!!
  • Send them a personal holiday card – Yes, the one with your family’s photo on it!  Make them feel warm and fuzzy, not stuffy with a business holiday card, save those for your other leads.
  • Offer something of value to them consistently year after year. Consistency is the key here. Every year on the anniversary of their home sale/purchase, send them a personalized note with a complimentary market analysis.  If they get this every year, they will come to expect it and rely on you for this information. They will also talk about their knowledge with friends, family AND NEIGHBORS and I’m certain they will acknowledge that the only reason they are so knowledgeable is because of you!
  • Make sure they know you want to help their friends and family. Sounds silly right? Of course you want them to refer their friends and family, but never assume anything!  My husband happens to be a real estate agent that “focuses” on first-time homebuyers and I can’t tell you how many close friends have said, “oh, I didn’t know he would help them since they aren’t a first time buyer.”  Ouch.  Make sure you let them know you want to help anyone they know!

Reward Them:

Everyone loves free stuff. I was recently at NAR and I was astounded by the junk that people were fighting to get just because they were freebies…. Everyone loves something for nothing.  Why not reward your past client for their referrals, and sometimes just because.  You’ll obviously need to check on the rules and laws in your area to make sure you’re not offering something you shouldn’t, but rewarding your past clients for their referrals is not only a way to motivate them but also a way to say thank you for thinking of me!

You’ve got three weeks, get going on those holiday cards, as well as your 2012 Keep In Touch Plan.  It will be worth your time and effort, I promise!!


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