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 closing 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 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


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Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

I really want to be there for all my past clients and love when they call me again to do more real estate work for them. It warms my heart. I make sure to reach out to all my past clients at least quarterly.

Jan 11, 2019 07:42 PM #1
Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

This is so thorough and comprehensive.  This flip in thinking is certainly motivating!  :-)

Jan 11, 2019 08:08 PM #2
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Anne Corbin Good for you. Those past clients really can become your personal gold mine. And when you like them, they can also be good friends - people you enjoy seeing and talking with every now and then.

Thanks Francine Viola - I do seek to motivate!

Jan 11, 2019 08:32 PM #3
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

More money is lost by not taking a risk than by actualy taking the risk

Jan 11, 2019 09:30 PM #4
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Marte, I always review my "missed opportunities" and I try to analyze where I made my mistakes, what could I have done better and how could I have salvaged some of those failures... after I figured it out... I move forward and make new mistakes...Endre

Jan 11, 2019 11:05 PM #5
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

William Feela I agree - unless you're a compulsive gambler or somone who falls for get-rich-quick schemes.

Endre Barath, Jr. Making new mistakes means we're alive and doing something, so that's a good thing.

Jan 12, 2019 12:37 AM #6
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Marte. This is such a thoughtful and important post not only in business but in life. DO IT NOW.

Jan 12, 2019 06:18 AM #7
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

An excellent perspective, Marte... it's easy to forget that it's not just not what we do that impacts our bottom lines, but also what we don't do.

Jan 12, 2019 07:14 AM #8
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Marte

There sure is a lot to ponder in this post, and your points are excellent. I know I need to pay more attention to lost opportunities, as well as do a better job of tracking what is working, and not spending money on things that are not effective.


Jan 14, 2019 07:43 AM #9
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Sheila Anderson - You're so right. Can we afford NOT to take time for the people we love? Can we afford not to exercise or eat well? 

Jan 14, 2019 10:33 AM #10
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Nina Hollander - Right. We'll never know the cost of a phone call we didn't make - or a blog post we didn't write!

Jan 14, 2019 10:34 AM #11
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Jeff Dowler, CRS Paying attention to what is or isn't working is important, but also difficult. I remember being a broker and constantly reminding my agents - and myself - to ask people how they found us or why they decided to use us. In those days it was sometimes the number of signs around the area, a recommendation from the Chamber of Commerce, or an article in the newspaper. Today when I ask people where they found me the answer is often "Someplace on line." That's not much help! 

Jan 14, 2019 10:37 AM #12
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great post!  Cumulative results take time.  But staying in front of folks over and over they will always remember you!   I just showed homes to someone I went to high school with 41 years ago!  He saw me on FB and I showed up in Kansas at my HS reunion.  Staying in cotnact was key after we met!

Jan 14, 2019 07:38 PM #13
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