Best Business Practices - Hang on to Those Past Clients!

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

One thing I wish my first broker had taught me - "Hang on to those past clients!"

She didn't, and not because she forgot to say it. She didn't do it herself.

It was as if she thought that once a person purchased or sold a home or land, that was it. They weren't going to do it again. And I don't know if the idea of referrals ever crossed her mind. If so, she never mentioned it.

It took me years to learn that one, and even then I didn't learn it well enough. Man screaming

When I quit selling real estate, all of my contacts were in a Top Producer program on my computer. The program had been misbehaving and at that point I was fed up with a lot of things, so I simply deleted the entire program.

How dumb was that?

Not only did someone come along later and ask to buy that list, but some of those past clients just might have been good copywriting prospects. I'll never know, because their names and addresses are gone forever.

So - A Best Business Practice that EVERYONE should follow is to keep track of your past clients. Then stay in touch often enough that they can't forget you.

 

  • Send them newsletters and holiday cards
  • Call them on the phone occasionally
  • Email them with links to articles that relate to their business
  • Tear articles from magazines and mail them if you know they will interest a past client

 

And of course... send an announcement if you change agencies.

Or, as I should have done - send them an announcement if you go into a different line of work.

 

Image courtesy of Dreamstine

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Ambassador
3,084,500
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I can't believe that the person who trained you in real estate never mentioned hanging on to past clients.  Heck.  I even put the buyers who purchase my listings on a newsletter list.  Why?  There's a good chance their own agent is doing it.

Sep 14, 2011 07:14 AM #1
Rainmaker
571,718
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Marte,  Yikes !  Hitting that " Delete " button certainly has a finality to it !  Oh, well !

Sep 14, 2011 07:17 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,530,688
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Chris Ann - Nobody taught her, so she couldn't teach me. Remember, this was a long time ago... and my broker was VERY thrifty. We weren't supposed to make long distance phone calls. We were supposed to write a letter instead. And of course, we didn't have email back then.

Bill - It certainly did! I definitely wasn't thinking very straight about then.

Sep 14, 2011 07:24 AM #3
Ambassador
786,205
Mimi Foster
FALCON PROPERTY SOLUTIONS - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Great article, Marte ~ *suggested* ~ one of the most important aspects of keeping our business going. 

Sep 14, 2011 07:42 AM #4
Rainmaker
1,530,688
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Mimi. I'm sure that now at least those agents who get training are told this. But maybe there are still agencies that just turn their agents loose to figure things out on their own.

Sep 14, 2011 08:02 AM #5
Rainmaker
291,454
Rebekah Radice
Imagine WOW! Digital Marketing Agency - Burbank, CA
Social Media Marketing, Coaching & Training

Such a great rule of thumb Marte!  I have spent my entire career building my database and drip campaigns.  I can't imagine not having an ongoing list of past clients and the ability to easily get in front of them.  It's invaluable!

Sep 14, 2011 10:48 AM #6
Ambassador
2,769,918
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Marte - Past clients are a treasure we hang onto for dear life. We do everything possible, but well short of obtrusive, to stay in the front of their minds as their go-to guys for real estate. And after 18 years in the business, they're what's keeping the wolves from our door in this market.

Sep 14, 2011 11:30 AM #7
Rainmaker
1,530,688
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Rebekah - You learned it right - and did it right from the first. Good for you!

Dick - Isn't that wonderful. When you get to a place where most of your business comes from past clients and referrals, you know you've done something right.

Sep 14, 2011 11:36 AM #8
Rainer
216,022
Joe Kenny
Realty Executive Midwest - Darien, IL
Better Than Your Average Joe

It's easier to hold on to past clients than it is to get new ones now isn't it.  Great post Marte, I suggested as well.

Sep 14, 2011 02:01 PM #9
Rainmaker
1,530,688
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Hi Joe - Yes, it sure is. Those old clients are like gold!

Sep 14, 2011 02:13 PM #10
Rainmaker
551,502
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hi Marte,

Oh boy, without my clients from the past, I'd be out of business. They've absolutely been the life-blood (through thick and thin) source of my livehood.

And as for selling your business at some point, that can also be a "process" of introductions and contacts together over a period of transaction that can make it more effective for everyone concerned.

Sep 14, 2011 03:54 PM #11
Rainmaker
710,558
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Staying in touch is one of the principles that Brian Buffini preaches. We stay in touch via phone calls, personal notes, pop bys. Although I am not longer on the Buffini program, I will and do strive to stay in touch one way or another.

Some of them are even my friends on Facebook and LinkedIn.

It's a good life!

Sep 14, 2011 04:12 PM #12
Rainmaker
1,530,688
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Lynda - I came to feel that way too, when I was still in real estate. I have no idea why it didn't occur to me to hang on to that list when I left the business. I should have realized that at least a few of those people might need a copywriter. Ah well, there was a lot of unpleasant "stuff" going on right then, so my head wasn't on straight.

Pacita - What I enjoy most is when those past clients turn into real friends. There are several with whom I trade emails on a regular basis and I treasure their friendship.

Sep 14, 2011 04:28 PM #13
Rainmaker
2,666,604
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Marte - LOL, you are so funny.  I love your honesty and your candor

Sep 18, 2011 11:03 AM #14
Rainmaker
1,530,688
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Debbie - Well, when you do something dumb, you might as well admit it.

Sep 18, 2011 11:18 AM #15
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