Why You Should Be Doing Annual Client Reviews
I can just imagine the furrowed brows out there as you read this title. You're probably thinking - what is this "Annual Client Review" that Denise is talking about... and why would I even care about it?
When I was actively selling I was very successful. And I attributed a great deal of that success to the Annual Client Review (ACR) I created for my clients each year.
The Annual Client Review isn't fun - like a client appreciation event. It's not glamorous, and it's not "sexy". It's not the latest social media tool.
It's a good, old-fashioned document that does two important things for you:
- It allows you an opportunity to reconnect with your clients in a natural way.
- It allows you to position yourself as someone who is watching out for your clients' financial interests by keeping an eye on the real estate market in their neighborhood.
The ACR is a snapshot of the market at a moment in time, and provides information to your client about the value of their home based on recent sales activity. Please don't think this is the same as preparing a traditional comparative market analysis (CMA) - it's not! Instead, the ACR focuses on the relationship that exists between price per square foot and tax assessed values.
I often suggest that my clients complete ACRs for their clients during what is typically a slow time of year - the holidays. Many agents find their business is a little slower at this time of year... and many of them are often panicked when the first of the new year rolls around and there's no business on the horizon.
There's no magic to the time of the ACR is completed. You can do it at any time. I liked doing mine in December and early January. My business was slower then, and completing these for clients at this time of year guaranteed that I would get calls from my clients when I needed them most - at that slow time at the beginning of the year. As a result, I always got my year off to a great start.
Some of my coaching clients do their ACRs just as I did - over the holidays. Others deliver the ACR to the seller on the anniversary date of the home purchase. And other do some ACRs each quarter. It doesn't really matter when you do them, it matter that you do them at all!
I'm often asked why I think the ACR is so helpful in cementing relationships with clients. As I mentioned above, it allows you a natural opportunity to make contact with clients, which is especially important if you haven't been good about keeping in touch. It also positions you as someone who has their finger on the pulse of the market, and that's always a good thing. Finally, you're delivering information not when you're trying to "win" their business (as is often the case with the CMA you present at a listing appointment), but simply to provide information that a client might find beneficial. That's great client care!
When my coaching clients hear about ACRs they're usually excited to get started... but then their fears set in. Agents have legitimate concerns about how much work is involved, how long it will take to complete an ACR, or because a client's property is not worth what it was when they bought the home.
These are all legitimate issues. Let me share a few thoughts to put your mind at ease.
- ACRs require a lot of work. Yes and no. They require some work, but not as much work as a CMA. I believe 100% in the value of an ACR, and if I were actively selling today they would be a cornerstone of my client care program. And I think you all know that anything of value that you provide is going to require some effort on your part.
- You don't have to do an ACR for each client each and every year. I did, and I think that's the best plan of action. But if you have a lot of past sellers, or if you're short on time, you could create ACRs only for your clients who bought in the past year. Or put clients on a rotating cycle - perhaps you'll do an ACR every three years for them. You may even choose to do them annually for some clients, and less often for others. It's your business, so you get to decide when to provide the ACRs.
- There will be cases when the value of a client's home has decreased. There's just no way around this. But your clients don't live in a vacuum - they surely have heard that the real estate market took a tumble, and that it's climbing back up. For all you know, they could be imagining a far worse scenario than is realistic. Wouldn't it be nice to be the hero who provides good news? But whether their value is up or down, if you want to be the agent of choice you had best provide that information to them.
I hope that you'll think about providing Annual Client Reviews for your clients!
You can receive my Annual Client Review Client Care System, which includes the manual and instructions for successfully completing the ACR, as well as the editable Publisher files and tutorials for just $97. My Club Zebra PRO members can purchase this system for only $77 (if you're not a Club Zebra PRO member and you want to learn more, click here).
This system includes everything you need to reconnect with your clients powerfully - using the Annual Client Review!
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings over two decades of experience in the real estate industry. With expertise in strategic marketing, business analysis, branding, new home project planning, product development, and agent/broker training, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things "real estate". With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.