What Do Your Past Clients Want From You?
Agents are always telling me that they don't like to generate new leads. It is time-consuming, costs a lot of money, and in the end, potential clients are more likely to be fickle and work with whomever they perceive as the path of least resistance, despite the work you have already done for them.
If you don't like to generate leads, but want to still generate income, the best way to do that is to have an amazing relationship with your past clients. After all, they have done business with you already, are most likely going to do business with you again if you do a great job of staying in contact, and are likely to provide other potential buyers and sellers with a referral to you if they are happy with the job you did for them.
Remember, according to the National Association of REALTORS' 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers:
- 60% of homebuyers and 68% of home-sellers used an agent that was referred by someone close to them or used an agent they had used in the past.
- 90% of buyers indicated they would definitely or likely use their agent again.
- 89% of sellers indicated they would definitely or likely use their agent again.
- A typical seller recommended their agent twice since selling their home and 27% of sellers recommended their agent four or more times.
In other words, it not only pays to do a great job with your clients during the transaction, staying in touch means big bucks.
But what happens? There is a disconnect. Let's pay close attention to a few details in the data. How do we get from 90% of buyers indicating they would likely use their agent again, but in 2021, only 13% of homebuyers actually did? And for home- sellers, that is 89% and 29%. What happened? More often than not, the agent didn't do enough to leave a lasting impression after the sale and the relationship died on the vine.
If you are reading this article, are struggling with your business right now, and are not a new agent, chances are you haven't been consistently doing enough to cultivate these relationships. For example:
- Not doing anything at all
- Maybe a phone call a year
- A single holiday card with no personal message
- E-newsletter, unbranded, from your company or third party that doesn't have your voice and is clearly generated on your behalf
Sorry for the wake-up call, but your past clients want, and deserve, YOU! Not something that was generated by your company. Not something automated and easy. They need you, your voice, your personal touch.
So how do you work that into your plan? There are lots of ways to do this, as varied as there are readers of this article, in fact. But to think about how best to serve your past clients, take a moment and think like them. Close your eyes and imagine you bought a house with you several years ago. What do you want from you?
- Do you want some personal touches such as a personally-written house anniversary card or a cupcake from a local bakery on your birthday?
- Do you want a holiday gift such as a baked good or beverage?
- Do you want to be invited to an event?
- Do you want to receive updates and photos about a charity that you are actively involved in and want to be invited to participate?
- Do you want a personal annual report on your property?
- Do you want an annual one-on-one meeting to review a market analysis and your property's equity so you can make better financial decisions?
- Do you want to have the option of attending ongoing classes that share information on amenities that buyers want, remodeling help, buying an investment property, how to sell and buy simultaneously, etc?
Chances are, you want all of those things! But you are only one person serving all the clients in your past client database, so you need to be realistic. You also have a variety of personality types among your past clients and therefore, they would value each of these things differently. For example, someone who is analytical may not get very excited about attending an event, but they would be very excited about a report or a one-on-one market analysis whereas someone who is more-focused on people may find a property report okay, but a video of you explaining what is in the report is even better.
Ideally you would choose two things – one that provides a way to connect face to face and a second that provides a way to showcase your expertise. However, if you are regularly mailing relevant market information to your database, then that can check the expertise box, leaving you to determine how best to connect face-to-face.
Don't be one of the agents whose clients indicate enthusiasm to work with you again but lack of connection has them looking somewhere else. Think like your past clients, make a connection plan, and then implement and reap the rewards!
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, 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.