There was a blog post recently that suggested that we ask our customers/clients how they want to communicate with us. I assume it was about communicating during the transaction. I agree, it is a must.
However, real estate agents consider the client now in a long lasting relationship (usually without asking the client whether this is what they want), and the discussion is not whether it is appropriate to keep bugging the client, but how often is too often. So, the consensus here is that once a month maybe too often, but once every 3 months is cool.
Imagine a cancer surgeon performing the most successful operation freeing the patient from cancer. So, after the surgery, the doctor is sending the patient monthly newsletters reminding him that whenever he gets cancer again, he needs to contact the surgeon.
Have you ever received monthly friendly reminders from your doctor? Are you getting newsletters from your attorney? From your car mechanic?
I think the issue stems from understanding real estate as relationship business and not service, which it is. Yes, there is a business relationship that we form, but it is no difference than the relationship with your attorney, or CPA, or your doctor. Again, it is a business relationship, and it is transactional. It usually ends with the transaction. We all love to brag about our clients, who became our friends, but it is not a viable business model unless you are 75% retired.
I think I read somewhere that people on average stay in a house or condo for 7 years. A lot of things changes in this very long period, and the idea of keeping contact with you previous client all this time maybe a pleasant exception, but is hardly a working business model.
Of course, if you are sending postcards, or emails with congratulations on major Holidays, it is perfectly acceptable, and even expected. This is just good business.
Everything else can be a stretch and asking a client after closing whether they want to be receiving real estate related stuff could be a very good idea. And do it after the closing and in the e-mail, and not make them feel bad for saying «no».
If it is about business, why not make it good business?
* Image courtesy of cambodia4kidsorg via Flickr.com under Creative Commons License