This moment in history is particularly unique, especially as a realtor, since yours is an industry based on relationships. But even before the current social distancing, customer and potential customer relationships were diverse, expansive, and tricky.
People interact differently and prefer varying levels of engagement. Some may be avid Internet and social media devotees who don’t place as much emphasis on the human connection (and may even dislike it). Others, however, may be more traditional and value interaction, but again, in varying degrees. Some may want nothing more from you than a smooth transaction. Others may value you as an acquaintance and will make sure to say hello at community events. Then there are the ones who want to become your best friend.
Whatever the level, all, more than likely, want to believe that you truly are a real, honest person. They want to know that you are here to help them, either physically or virtually. From your standpoint, that’s great, because the driving force behind the effort in honing these relationships is the goal of repeat customers and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Real estate is about making lasting connections and participating in continual, relentless networking. You can’t just focus on your current customers. But you also can’t just focus on potential prospects. You have to focus on both of them, along with previous customers, who will, hopefully, be your customers again. You also have to make sure your name and message is getting out there to all those who don’t even need your services. Yet. But as just one person, how on earth can you do it all?
It’s not easy, which is a disappointing answer. But there are some specific things you can do to easily, inexpensively, and effectively stay on all of your customers’ radar and make customers for life.
Get social. Virtually.
I get it. Marketing is expensive. And it’s hard to prove how much of a return on investment you’re getting from your dollars spent. And right now your money might be a little tight. But there are a few things you absolutely must do so people can find you. And much of it is completely free.
If people don’t know your services even exist, then you’ve lost the battle even before it began. Ask yourself this question—where do people start the search for realtors? Even if they do get your name by word of mouth, they still need to know how to contact you. So, you approach it in a few different ways.
Set up a Facebook business page (at the very least have a Facebook personal page). Set up Instagram. Set up Twitter. Set up a YouTube page. Sure, most of you may already have these, but not everyone does. Or, you may have social profiles, but you don’t post, and you don’t engage with your followers.
Hear me clearly: Now is not the time to rest on your laurels. You must be present on social channels. Even those traditionalists who stayed away from social media are probably online right now. And they need to hear from you.
Be organized and streamlined.
Now (and perhaps even before the first step), you need to develop a system to help keep your contacts in check. Invest in a system to streamline your leads retrieval and to keep your conversations and customer information organized and accounted for. Or if your company provides you with one, great. Use it. Let me say that again. Use it.
I know a lot of agents who have been provided a CRM from their company for years and don’t use it. If you are one of those, or if you have invested in one yourself and don’t use it, what’s stopping you? Too busy? Don’t understand it? Now is the perfect time to solve both of those issues. Not only will it enhance the customer experience you provide; it will just simply make life easier for you. A little bit of toil setting it up will be significantly outweighed by the benefits you get from it.
But this database is more than just a computer program for collecting information—it is a tool for connecting. Everything you know about your customers should be input into the database. Then, set that information up on a schedule.
Someone buys a house from you? Great. Three months down the road, send them a note again wishing them the best on their new abode and offering to help in any way that you can. Know a client’s birthday or anniversary? Send them a note on their special day; the act of your remembering them will speak volumes. When winter starts setting in, send an email or a postcard reminding your clients of things they need to do to prepare for the season.
Out of sight is out of mind. No matter the status of your customer, be it current or past, they will be your customers for life if you give them a little of your attention and treat them with courtesy.
See and be seen.
Lastly, be a person of the people. When things start opening back up, get involved. Of course you don’t have time to attend every single event or be everywhere, all the time. So pick your battles.
If you are a parent of a school-age child, odds are you go to some events anyway. So that was easy. If not, get involved in a few organizations. Not all of them, of course, but how about the ones that are closely aligned with your niche market? You will be time-challenged enough, so killing two birds with one stone is smart and easy. And when you’re out and about, make sure you have business cards at the ready, because everyone is a potential customer.
Also, make sure that you appear friendly and approachable. Everyone has a bad day, but you’ll just have to save it until you get home. For example, a bulk of your business is word of mouth, right? Would you rather have someone say to their friends, “I saw Joe Realtor at the PTA meeting yesterday. He is such a nice man and so involved with the community.” Or, “I saw Joe Realtor the other day and he wouldn’t even talk to me. I don’t guess he has time for me since I’m not buying a house.” And the chain reaction, either positive or negative, ensues.
Granted, you can’t do any of these things right now in our pandemic state. But you can still be involved. Have tips on how to do your job while homeschooling littles? Post it. Got great take out from a neighborhood restaurant? Post it. Have tips for small home improvement projects that can yield a big return? Write about it.
You have to continue to stay on their minds. And not by pushing for the sale all the time. Be their resource and solution now, and you will reap the benefits in the days to come.
The challenge of keeping viable partnerships with all your past, present, and potential customers can be daunting and overwhelming. Are these all the things you need to drive people to your business? Not by a long shot. But we’re talking baby steps and basics, and this will help your reach go farther, with minimal effort. It is possible to be all things to all people, within reason; it just takes action.