Can you afford the high cost of what you don't do?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

You know the cost of things you do, but the cost of what you don’t do is harder to define.

You know what your marketing costs in terms of dollars and cents for things you purchase. The cost of what you do and don't doWhen you contemplate adding a new marketing method or purchasing new equipment, it’s there in black and white. You can look at your income and your budget and know whether you can pay those prices.

What you don’t know is the cost of NOT doing the things that would attract new clients, put commission dollars in your pockets, and build your business.

The cost of missed opportunities is ???

 If you send a monthly newsletter, you know what it costs to prepare and distribute – but do you know what it costs if you don’t send it?

Probably not. No one is going to come up to you and say “I thought about listing my house with you, but when I didn’t get a newsletter from you I chose someone else.” They wouldn't even think it, because you weren't on their radar in the first place.

You might know what you earn as a result of farming and prospecting – but if you don’t bother, you have no idea how much more you’d have earned had you made the effort.

Do you know what you earn from blogging? Once in a while you get a hint, because someone says they chose you because of a post you wrote. But do you know what you won’t earn if you stop, or never start?

How about these activities:

  • Do you know what you earn from sharing your blog posts and listings on social media or from interacting with people there?
  • Do you know how many clients choose you because your real estate agent bio makes you stand out?
  • Do you know how many out of town buyers you attracted because you have an informative community page on your website? Or how many pass you by in their search for area information?
  • Do you know how many people choose you because you submit real estate articles to your local newspaper? If you don’t do that, do you know how many would choose you if you did?

  • Do you know how many closings you have because you offered good information via a capture box on your website – and then followed through?  Or how many you lost because you tried once to connect with them and then gave up?

  • Do you know how much extra you earn because you do volunteer work or speak up at HOA meetings – or take time to chat with someone at the grocery store?

You probably don’t know how much you earn as a result of any one of those activities, because the effects are cumulative.

People get your newsletter or your prospecting letters. Then they come across your blog posts when they’re searching for information about local real estate. That leads them to visit your website and read your bio. Then they see you helping out at a fund raising event or hear your opinions at a meeting.

Do they even know which specific thing caused them to begin thinking of you as the agent they need? In some cases, yes they do. But most of the time, I doubt it.

All of those things bring you new business, and if you ignore them, there’s just no way of knowing what you might have missed.

You WILL realize at least part of the cost if you fail to keep up with past clients.

Crying over a lost clientYou’ll experience that sickening feeling of seeing their homes listed with someone else – and going under contract. And you’ll know just how many dollars your inactivity probably cost.

There’s no guarantee that they’d have used you even if you camped on their doorstep – but there’s a pretty good guarantee that they won’t think of you if you’ve ignored them since their closing two years ago, or six years ago, or ten years ago.

Of course, you only know about the repeat business you’ve missed. You have no way of knowing how many referrals you didn’t get if you’ve been ignoring them.

Past clients and your sphere of influence are your personal gold mine – but only if you take the time to stay in front of them, reminding them that you’ll be there when they need you.

You know they don’t want a constant stream of sales letters, so stay in touch in other ways. Use my event-themed staying in touch letters (2 per month, so the set can last you 2 years); write and mail a monthly newsletter with actual news about the community; send quarterly market reports; send birthday cards, anniversary cards, or holiday cards; send links or tear-sheets with articles that you know would interest them; pick up the phone and call just to say hi now and then.

And if you can – do stop by to see them or invite them out for lunch once in a while.

It’s an old business adage that it’s cheaper to hang on to an old client than to gain a new one, and it’s never been more true.

Depending upon your community, you’re competing with dozens, if not hundreds, of other agents for every listing. If you ignore your old clients, they’ll ignore you – and someone who is prospecting and doing the other things I mentioned above will have both their business and their referrals.

Meanwhile, your past clients already know you and trust you. If you’re there, reminding them that you’re at their service, most of them will choose you unless there’s a compelling reason to choose someone else – like their sister-in-law or an old Army buddy.

The bottom line: Stay on top of all those activities that will bring you new clients, AND diligently nurture your past clients and those in your sphere of influence. They really can be your personal gold mine.

One more thing…

While many clients won’t be able to say where they found you first, some will be able to say why they chose you. Ask them, and keep a record of what they say. That will tell you where to focus your activities when you’re busy and simply can’t “Do it all.”


This post first appeared at:

Bag of money Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
Businessman crying money Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at

Comments (15)

Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Hi Marte... if there's anything that "pays" over the long term it's staying in consistent touch with one's data base and past clients. You can never let them forget about you.

Dec 30, 2021 12:50 PM
Marte Cliff

I agree. And I tend to harp on that a lot.

Dec 30, 2021 01:59 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Marte, I made a pretty big mistake, and moved from direct mail to digital for two years, and had very few opening the email.    I have changed that since!

Dec 30, 2021 01:37 PM
Marte Cliff

I'm not surprised - we all get so much email that it's easy for things to get lost, set aside for later, or ignored.

Dec 30, 2021 02:00 PM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

There are so many ways we can stay in front of the public and promote ourselves.  If we are consistent, we can see the results and it's never inappropriate to ask how they found us

Dec 30, 2021 02:39 PM
Marte Cliff

Ed- Knowing where people found you is important - it tells you where to focus your marketing efforts.

Jan 04, 2022 10:08 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Great Message Marte, I do both monthly newsletters and old school Holiday Cards and interesting how some people after eight or ten years never commenting call me and want to list....Endre

Dec 30, 2021 10:56 PM
Marte Cliff

Yes - they didn't have anything to say for years, but due to your consistent communication, when they needed an agent, they thought of you! That's how it's SUPPOSED to work.

Jan 04, 2022 10:09 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Marte - excellent thoughts as one year comes to a close and reflection on what was, what is and what will be become a part of the transition.  

Dec 31, 2021 05:52 AM
Marte Cliff

Things do keep transitioning, but it's good to hold on to what works.

Jan 04, 2022 10:10 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Marte- once again very good advice for agents. I love what you said in "One More Thing" about asking why someone chose to use your services, as opposed to where they found you. 

Dec 31, 2021 06:19 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Jan 01, 2022 07:23 PM
Marte Cliff

Thank you Kathy!

Jan 04, 2022 10:10 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Marte - this is something to think about.  If we stopped doing something how has it hurt us.  I think that I need to be more consistent in sending my posts to my LinkedIn groups.

Jan 02, 2022 06:28 AM
Marte Cliff

Grant - I used to do that, but then that website changed and it became necessary to look up those groups, and I let it fall by the wayside. I should force myself to go back to it. Thanks for the prod!

Jan 04, 2022 10:11 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
CEO of Vision Drive Realty - Coastal San Diego

Great points!

Luckily since 2010, I do track my numbers and I do know what activities earn me because I have such a robust Buffini & Company Referral maker Pro CRM that does it for me!!!

Jan 02, 2022 09:14 AM
Marte Cliff

Good for you!

Jan 04, 2022 10:12 AM
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) - Boise, ID

I am blessed that so much of my business is by referral and past clients looking to buyer or sell homes in Boise, Idaho.  I should do a better job of staying in touch with past clients.

Jan 02, 2022 01:37 PM
Marte Cliff

Yes, past clients can be your personal gold mine. Never let them forget you.

Jan 04, 2022 10:12 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Hi Marte Cliff ,

Staying top of mind with past clients can't be said enough! It definitely "pays" to spend your time, energy and money on this group to ensure a steady revenue stream! 

Jan 02, 2022 04:25 PM
Marte Cliff

I agree, Dorie, so I harp on that a lot.

Jan 04, 2022 10:13 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Marte, for sharing your experience and your advice.

Jan 11, 2022 10:50 AM
Marte Cliff

And thank YOU, Roy, for reading what I write!

Jan 12, 2022 04:46 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Nothing can really ever replace expertise in any way I don't thin

Jan 17, 2022 10:16 PM
faye schubert
Retired - Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

The most valuable thing I learned to do was to build a strong community page and add new content on a regular basis.  

Living in a resort area, where the buyers are from out of the area, it is critical to provide the detailed community information.

Jan 20, 2022 05:53 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
CEO of Vision Drive Realty - Coastal San Diego

I do assign a value to each activity so that they are attended to, despite as you point out, many are cumulative or combined results. Great post.

Marte Cliff I see you post on your other blog first, then here, what is the process of posting in both spaces without "LOSING GOOGLE-JUICE"? I've always been worried/ignorant about re-blogging my WordPress content here on AR.

Jan 20, 2022 07:31 AM