Keeping in Touch from Carlsbad
Larry Johnston invited us to participate in a contest this December, Keeping in Touch (Contest), Searching for New Ways to Stay Connected.
There’s still time to enter and share your thoughts, plus read some great posts with terrific ideas.
The neat thing about this contest is it not only provides an opportunity to think through what we already do to stay in touch with clients, but the chance to add some new strategies to the mix in 2017 or improve on the consistency of what is already being done.
I use a number of different strategies for staying in touch with clients and past clients.
This is relatively straightforward, but with a multi-pronged approach. I stay in touch with current clients via email, phone calls, and text messages, as well as some face to face meetings.
The amount of communication in each transaction is substantial, and I try to anticipate issues rather than waiting for a call or email about a problem or question. While I always ask what method of communication is preferred, certain methods are better suited to specific situations rather than others.
My Transaction Coordinator also helps by staying in touch regarding documentation and paper flow and making sure things are proceeding per the contract.
Within 30 days of closing I follow-up with a phone call and an email to check in and see how things are. In some cases that follow-up may be sooner if I think it’s warranted. I also follow-up with a thank you card.
I also follow-up at the beginning of the year with a copy of their settlement statement for tax purposes.
Here are the primary ways I stay in touch with past clients:
1. Anniversary cards for their closing date 1, 2 and 3 years after closing.
2. Birthday cards when I know the birthdays.
3. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Cards as applicable
4. Thanksgiving Cards
5. Holiday cards (a couple of weeks before Christmas)
6. Facebook – I follow a good number of current and past clients and they often follow me. I look for any opportunity to congratulate them (which might also include a handwritten note of some kind), comment on a status they have shared, or say thank you/comment when they have left a comment on an update I shared on my personal page.
Photos and videos seem to attract the most comments from past clients, or even just “likes”.
7. LinkedIn – I am connected with a number of people and occasionally have had an opportunity to comment on changes in their careers, send thank you notes, etc.
8. Instagram – I follow, and am followed by, a number of past clients. I try to comment on photos and/or videos they share, as well as remark on their comments to me.
8. I use Happy Grasshopper to send an email about every 3 weeks. Most of these emails (you can choose from pre-selected emails from HG) have nothing to do with real estate. The list of recipients also includes my sphere. I always receive several comments from those who opened the emails with each round. I can also review the reports to see who clicked and opened, even if they did not write back to me. And now and then someone will opt out.
9. Video emails – I have not done many of these but it’s on the list for improving in 2017. I have sent market updates to some past clients, or just a note to say hi. In a few cases instead of a holiday card I sent a video email. Here is a SAMPLE video of a market update I shared with clients but also through my CRS and on Facebook.
10. Thank you cards for all referrals. I always send a handwritten note when someone has referred a potential buyer or seller, regardless of whether it works out or not. For some of these I use purchased stationery/cards but in some cases I make my own card on high quality vellum.
11. Helpful tips and reports are occasionally sent via email when I find something that I think will be of interest. Some of the tips are the same ones shared on my farming postcards.
IMPROVEMENTS FOR 2017
1. Do a better job of gathering birthday information on clients as well as kids
2. Send birthday cards to all clients early in the year – EVERYONE has a birthday – even if I don’t know it. Why not let them know I am thinking of them even if I can’t send the card for their actual birthday? And it’s a chance to ask them to share their birthday with me if they want.
3. New in 2017 is a “Letter from the Heart” I will be sending in January after the holidays. This is a personal letter to selected past clients talking about some things in my life, family, updates, and more. For some it is also an apology for not staying in touch as well as possible, and a commitment to doing a better job.
4. I plan to start sending video emails more consistently to past clients, whether it a market update, just saying hi, or a holiday message (e.g., 4th of July).
5. Formal market updates to clients who purchased 3, 4, and 5 or more years ago
6. Branded screen cleaners - I use these as give-a-ways at conventions and such to share with other agents I meet from around the country. While I have given a few away to past clients, I thought I would surprise them with a couple of these for their smartphones. Everyone will get some!
I have some other ideas of things I am considering adding to the mix (newsletter, pie give-a-way at Thanksgiving).
Coupled with the staying in touches I already do, and a commitment to being more consistent, and including the above improvements, I should have plenty of ways for clients to keep me top of mind.