What Do Your Past Clients Want From You?

Education & Training with The Lones Group, Inc.

The Lones Group, Inc.

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.

The Lones Group, Inc.

Comments (21)

Paddy Deighan MBA JD PhD
http://irstaxdebt.pro - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D

many professionals fail to ask for a referral...your statistics are very compelling!!!

Sep 28, 2022 11:31 PM
Denise Lones

And those are the statistics for real estate agents in general. Now imagine what they might be if agents kept in touch! - Denise

Sep 30, 2022 10:27 AM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

Really thoughtful Post! Great ideas to keep in touch with the people you should be keeping in touch with!  I think we forget that sometimes! Thank you for the reminder!

Sep 29, 2022 12:35 AM
Denise Lones

Knowing agents like I do, it's most agents and more than sometimes. When I am coaching agents who have been in the industry for a while who are struggling, one of the most common reasons they are having trouble is they have failed to implement a consistent effort for reminding past clients of their expertise. It makes an enormous difference as time goes by. Thanks for your comment Debra - Denise

Sep 30, 2022 10:30 AM
Debra Leisek

You are exactly right Denise Lones  Why farm the unknown when you can just keep tending the garden in your own yard! I appreciate you pointing that out to me... made me think about my overall marketing

Oct 01, 2022 12:48 AM
Cliff Johnson
Solid Source Realty - Stone Mountain, GA
Personalized Real Estate whether buying or selling

Excellent ideas. Keeping in touch with clients after the sale is important and can help generate future business. 

Sep 29, 2022 02:05 AM
Denise Lones

Thank you Cliff. That it does! It can help a lot.  - Denise

Sep 30, 2022 10:31 AM
Peter Mohylsky
PMI. Destin - Miramar Beach, FL

Love these words at this time in my career,  thanks.  

Sep 29, 2022 03:09 AM
Denise Lones

Thank you. What was it about this post that connected with you Peter? - Denise

Sep 30, 2022 10:32 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

We need a system in place, whatever works for us, that reminds us to contact certain people at certain times!

Sep 29, 2022 05:04 AM
Denise Lones

Well, some people use a CRM, like Lion Desk or Wise Agent. Some people use a spreadsheet - this is how my CEO, Shauna, likes to do it. I 'm visual, so in addition to my client database, I keep folders of each past client with copies of their mailer files so I can easily see what was sent and said - which makes something like a home equity report easy to update - and I use my calendar to set reminders and do my outreach in blocks of time each month (rather than bit by bit). - Denise

Sep 30, 2022 10:39 AM
Barbara Michaluk
Weichert Realtors | Phone Direct 240-506-2434 | 301-681-0550 office - Silver Spring, MD
Leisure World Specialist / Full Service REALTOR

Staying in touch with past clients is a great way to generate future leads as your stats demonstrate. Thanks for sharing!

Sep 29, 2022 05:47 AM
Denise Lones

Thanks Barbara - the general stats of what past clients say seem pretty good - agents are delivering good service - but if you read down a paragraph after those stats you you see what past clients actually DO it's not so good. So yes, staying in touch is critical! For any agent out there, I suggest you read the annual buyer and seller trends reports from NAR - they are a goldmine of great information. Especially if you are reading them and thinking: what could I do different? how do I connect with this trend of clients? - Denise

Sep 30, 2022 10:45 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Denise,

Interesting information. There are definitely many personality types, when you serve the public for a while. Good idea to mix it up with the contact info.

Sep 29, 2022 07:35 AM
Denise Lones

I'm a big believer in both understanding clients' personalities and customizing marketing and responses to clients' personalities. It's incredibly effective, makes marketing more effective, makes relationships more pleasant, and makes it easier to identify where clients may have problems. I talk about this a lot in my coaching and elsewhere in Club Zebra if you are interested. - Denise

Sep 30, 2022 10:47 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

That was an excellent list of suggestions!!  I keep in touch--not by generic drip emails or mailings but in a more personal way: personalized birthday cards, small gift card for ice cream in the summer; reports on homes nearby that have sold as an FYI.  Your customers want to feel like they are remembered and valued!

Sep 29, 2022 08:15 AM
Denise Lones

Mary - That is fantastic. All great examples of personal outreach. I hope you're also continuing to send something each year that demonstrates your expertise and value too. Clients really appreciate this. - Denise

Sep 30, 2022 10:50 AM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

Thanks for a nudge in the right direction to stay in touch with past clients. I do what I can, but am sure I can do better!

Sep 29, 2022 12:03 PM
Denise Lones

Pat - You're welcome! The reality is we can all do better - and NAR's stats on return client business prove that too. Buck that trend, have great client outreach and consistently provide value to past clients - you'll become the competitive agent admired by your peers. - Denise

Sep 30, 2022 10:53 AM
Salas Home Team
Realty Preferred DFW - Plano, TX
#1 Team in Real Estate Specialty Services

Great reminder, Denise. Thanks for posting. 

Sep 29, 2022 01:43 PM
Denise Lones

Thanks Cutberto. Good to see you again! - Denise

Sep 30, 2022 10:55 AM
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

Most past clients like to be kept up with what sales have occurred in their town. Simple quarterly newsletter does this

Sep 30, 2022 03:57 AM
Denise Lones

More than that, a home equity report, or value assessment, or neighborhood update. Circle and call-out specific points that mean something to that client. Show them you are paying attention and care about their investment, that you continue to have value to offer them and their referrals. - Denise

Sep 30, 2022 10:57 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Denise,

Your statistics are compelling! You provided an excellent list of suggestions to stay in touch with your clients. They want to feel they are remembered and valued!

Sep 30, 2022 05:05 AM
Denise Lones

Thank you Dorie! So great to see you here each week. I love my regular readers and hope you are doing well! - Denise

Sep 30, 2022 10:59 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


Thanks for some great tips on the critical function of staying in touch with past clients. There are lots of options and some will be more effective than others.


Sep 30, 2022 07:46 PM
Denise Lones

Thank you Jeff, good to hear from you again - Denise

Nov 14, 2022 12:33 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I strive not to to be forgotten and enjoy your post whenever you post. Thank you for sharing Denise Lones 🙂

Sep 30, 2022 08:25 PM
Denise Lones

Our Zebra Report newsletter goes out every Thursday evening and I usually post here sometime on Friday if schedule allows. Thank you for reading! - Denise

Nov 14, 2022 12:34 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

A great reminder of how important this practice is to our business. Thank you for the nudge.

Oct 01, 2022 06:48 AM
Denise Lones

Nudge nudge. I hope this inspired you to (continue to) take action. Best - Denise

Nov 14, 2022 12:35 PM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

My sense is there is a positive correlation between the depth of the relationship and the number of referrals.

Oct 01, 2022 08:37 AM
Denise Lones

I agree. However, it doesn't have to be momentously deep. Consistently delivering the message that you care about the client's investment and that you continue to have quality market information goes a long way. - Denise

Nov 14, 2022 12:36 PM
Scott Seaton Jr. SLS Home Insp
SLS Home Inspections-Kankakee Will Iroquois Grundy Counties - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

I'm not an agent, but if I was I would do whatever I could to do all these great ideas. Great and memorable ideas and personal touches. That's the key.

Oct 02, 2022 06:28 PM
Denise Lones

Scott - I suspect you can find some parallel for your home inspection services too. Thanks for reading and great to meet you here - Denise

Nov 14, 2022 12:37 PM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

There really are so many opportunities to "Stay in Touch" with past clients.  I send out a yearly magnetic calendar that ends up on their Refrigerator and send periodic other tips and/or updates on the market as well as some birthdays and special holidays to my top sphere of influence.  I thank you for this very compelling blog -- a good read and fabulous reminder that I could do more!  I think I will start working on my Anniversary cards today!

Oct 03, 2022 02:19 PM
Denise Lones

Diana - Glad you found something you can use here. Sounds like you have a program underway. I hope this gave you some good ideas for further improvement! - Denise

Nov 14, 2022 12:38 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great reminder to stay in contact with past clients. Developing a system helps a lot!  These are all great points and read-worthy!

Oct 04, 2022 09:20 AM
Denise Lones

I have a lot of info on client follow-up systems too. Shoot me an email or message here if interested. - Denise

Nov 14, 2022 12:39 PM
Brian Petruzzelli
LA and Las Vegas Real Estate - Hermosa Beach, CA
LA and Las Vegas Homes For Sale

I agree that past clients can continue being a good source of business so it’s important to maintain a positive relationship, especially in a highly competitive area such as Los Angeles where I am based. Thank you for these actionable tips and recommendations!

Nov 08, 2022 12:39 PM
Denise Lones

That is a busy market and client loyalty can make a huge difference. It's often cheaper to retain clients that already like you than to find new ones so staying in touch is worth it. Glad you found something you can use here. - Denise

Nov 14, 2022 12:41 PM