My husband casually suggested a few nights ago I might start thinking about getting a new car.
This is despite the fact my car only just hit 25,000 miles. Since I bought it in 2006, though, he thinks it is "aging" and thinks I should go ahead and get a new one.
See, I happen to love the car I already have, so my immediate thought was I would just get a newer version of what I already have.
And since I'm pretty committed to the brand I already have, it makes sense to go back to the same dealer who has serviced the car for the past 6 years. And probably the same salesperson, too, right?
I remember him very well, he was highly competent and I liked him a lot. He knew his product extremely well, knew exactly what model would fit me best and gave me what I thought was a very fair deal. All without high pressure, too, I must add.
I was impressed.
After 6 years, I still remember his name, even have his business card.
Thing is, I have not heard from him since. No thank you note, no Christmas card, no "pop bys" every six weeks. No emails reminding me how much he "hearts" referrals. Nada.
So, do I reward him for his knowledge, his competence and his ability to do his job very, very well or do I punish him for the sin of not having followed up with me every six weeks asking me if any of my family or friends or coworkers are thinking of buying a new car?
I have NEVER understood the obsession the real estate industry has with beating relentlessly reminding clients of the role we have played in their lives. We are urged to email, call, write, drop by/stop by/pop by, all the while breathlessly exhorting them WE HEART REFERRALS!!!
Do I stay in touch with my former clients? Sure. Well, except for a few (shudder) and they know who they are.
I stay in touch largely organically, when I forward to them an article I read in which I think they may have an interest, when I call to offer them concert tickets I just found out I couldn't use after all, when I order Girl Scout cookies from their daughters and popcorn from their Boy Scouts or when I send them holiday cards. Is it as organized as it should be? Not really, but I don't have any fear whatsoever I will not get their referrals and their future business.
Recently I had a rental client from four years ago contact me; they had been transferred out of the area two years ago, yet, here they were, contacting me from 1,500 miles away about buying a house in yet another state, 750 miles away, asking if I could help find them a good agent. Easy-peasy, I said, it's what I do. I referred them to an agent, a month later they were under contract and 30 days after THAT, I had a sweet referral check in my hand.
All done without begging and pleading.
So, yeah, I think I'll be giving my previous car salesman a call next week, see what he has in inventory. After all, he is good at what he does, I can trust him and he had the good sense to leave me alone all these years, letting me enjoy my car - and life - in peace.