Do you want to build a lifelong pipeline of clients? Try this . . .

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

Do you want to build a lifelong pipeline of clients? Try this . . .


Do you want to build a lifelong pipeline of clients, well it’s doable, but it takes work. It’s rare that a client doesn’t become a part of my life after closing. If they aren’t, that’s on purpose. It’s rare.

Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about past clients. I’m so grateful for their business, their referrals and in one case I received a daughter-in-law because of the contact with past clients. That was a surprise, but we absolutely adore her, and she makes our son happy and that makes us happy. She’s a good baker too! That’s a little dangerous for me.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve started reaching out to past clients more consistently. I also reach out to those who will never benefit me or the company again. Why? Because during our deal we became friends. I just received a photo of an Idaho sunset from a past client. He moved to Montana, but he was visiting Idaho and saw something he was sure I’d love to see. So, he sent it, and I did enjoy it. I’ve set a goal to reach out to at least five past clients each week. I’m not asking for referrals. I’m not asking if they are ready to move. I don’t even mention real estate. I’m just asking how they are.

One of my clients I reached out to this week noted that he needs me to find him another piece of property. I had emailed him, and my note to him just said I was thinking about him and his wife, and I was curious how they were doing. That’s it. No solicitation at all. He’s the one who came back with an opportunity. Great, let’s find that property. Email is an old school but effective method of reaching out. That is especially true of older clients.

Two other clients were on a route I was taking to look over a project, and it was the perfect opportunity to visit them. One had a baby during our deal, so I had lots of  play time with him. He’s a major cutie. I spent about 30-45 minutes at their house catching up, looking at their new toys (cars), playing with the baby and their dogs and seeing them work. They work from home. This visit was set through texting. They are younger and prefer to communicate that way.

I left there and visited another client a few miles away. The wife is in hospice care and the husband was rushed to the hospital during the week for what was thought to be a stroke. Fortunately, it’s not, but it is still serious. I sat with her while visiting and we laughed and told stories. He joined the conversation and I learned more about their past and some of their major life events. It was a precious time. I never mentioned real estate. I never asked for a referral. I was there for them, not for me. He did say he is still so grateful I found the house they live in. It is a nice one. I’m sure I’ll drop in on that couple more frequently since their health issues have changed.

I met up with another past client to look at a project she just completed. It was awesome, and I think she really wanted to know that I thought she did a good job since I’m a contractor and house flipper. She did. We spent about 30 minutes together and it was precious. She is young, and I am old, so she reached out to me through email and text. No matter, it was delightful to visit with her and to cheer her on.

I have two clients in a neighboring state who look to me as their dad. I have about six daughters that are my pseudo adopted daughters. We only have two boys, but for some reason, a lot of my younger female clients keep me on speed dial for advice, home repair questions and to share their ideas. Two weeks ago, I walked two of them through mold remediation over text. They kept me in the loop with photographs as things progressed. They aced it. They know I will always be here because they weren’t just clients, but they became friends and family over six months of searching for a home. Another pseudo adopted daughter called with an electrical problem. I analyzed her problem through a video call and led her through the repair. She knocked it out of the park. We never talked about real estate sales or referrals.

The bottom line is that we’re all in business, but when you develop long-term relationships with clients you will end up with a continuous stream of referrals and new deals. You don’t always have to ask for new deals or referrals because people who know you’re a genuine person who truly cares about them, they will stick with you like a magnet. Some won’t, but I’ve found them to be a very small minority. The relationships we build are treasures, and the pipeline full is the gift. Do you want to build a lifelong pipeline of clients? Try this, be genuine.

Comments (29)

Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

If a real estate agent/broker/REALTOR did not get the listing from a past buyer he or she sold them, don't get angry. Find out why nicely so you don't make the same mistake Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV. Keeping clients, customers means maintenance, communication and delivery of good service. If a buyer turned FSBO and no agent, this is what NAR says....

  • 10% of recent home sales were FSBO sales this year. This is up from 7% last year.
  • The majority of FSBO sellers, 50%, knew the buyer of the home.
  • Within rural areas 13% sold via FSBO compared to 6% of sellers in suburban areas.
  • FSBOs typically sell for less than the selling price of other homes. (and you could end up in court during or after the sale.)
Jul 23, 2023 04:38 AM
Charles Ross - eXp Realty LLC
eXp Realty LLC Salina Group - Salina, KS
Love To Help People

Excellent post.Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful day and a blessed week

Jul 23, 2023 06:52 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Mike - such "projects" are lifelong pursuits.  Like building blocks, there is a method that can work effectively.  And it does vary by individual builder although similar strategies can be found.  

Jul 23, 2023 10:01 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Clients like this are the best part of our job. Glad to hear you re appreciated.

Jul 23, 2023 06:53 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker
Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.
Jul 24, 2023 02:14 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Your advice is the core tenet of the Ninja Selling System. Don't look at past clients as money machines for you - look at them as friends and as people that you can help. That little mind-set change makes all the difference.

Jul 24, 2023 12:01 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

So true, Margaret, and they don't forget those they know care about them.

Jul 24, 2023 01:39 PM
Matt Brady
Watermark Capital - Del Mar, CA
One of San Diego's Best Lenders

Early in my career, I was so busy all my deals were transactional. I wish I had hired an assistant to manage the follow-up. I have closed 1800 loans in San Diego and have only 350 that I can follow up with.

Jul 24, 2023 04:39 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Mike:

Our past relationships with buyers and sellers are so precious and should be preserved whenever possible. There are lots of ways to stay in touch year after year. I've had a number of clients, some repeats, mention how much they appreciate that I stay in touch.


Jul 24, 2023 05:38 PM
Kathy Smiley
Rodeo Realty ~ Fine Estates Westlake Village - Newbury Park, CA
"Real Estate results that make YOU smile!"

Hi Mike, I needed your post. I've been a little bit of a secret agent with my past clients this year, so you have reminded me to get on the phone and to do pop-bys! Thanks much!

Jul 24, 2023 06:55 PM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

This is a wonderful post and reminder that being present is so important to others lives.  You are right, so many clients become friends. Staying in touch is absolutely the way to build a lifelong pipeline of clients.  I could never do the Buffini pop bys with past clients.  I am way more like you and would never talk business.

Jul 24, 2023 07:47 PM
Gwen Fowler SC Lakes & Mountains 864-710-4518
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Walhalla, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

I used to drop in on clients, but since Covid scared us all from being around other people I have gotten out of the habit.  Sounds like I need to review this practice and go back to what works.  Great article.

Jul 25, 2023 04:04 AM
Wayne L. Brown
Franklin Advantage Inc. - Alpine, CA

Great post Mike, and a good reminder to always stay in touch.

Thanks for the post and insight.

Jul 25, 2023 08:39 AM
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) - Boise, ID

Be genuine and you get genuine clients to work with.  They say "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care!" Best of luck from Boise!

Jul 25, 2023 11:24 AM
Paddy Deighan MBA JD PhD - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D

Building referrals via relationships are the most rewarding methods of practice building!!

Jul 25, 2023 10:52 PM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Top of the morning!  Past clients are a vast source which most ignore once transaction is complete.  Some will stay in touch for a month or two then the separation starts.  Excellent post.  M

Jul 26, 2023 10:35 AM
Jackie Adams

I stay in touch with my past clients for years and I do it through card sending.

Jul 31, 2023 09:22 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Yes, yes, yes, staying in touch with our past clients (who are now friends and/or family) just to stay in touch with them is wonderful all by itself. The icing on the cake is future business. If it comes, great. If it doesn't, our lives are still enriched.

Jul 27, 2023 05:25 AM
Jackie Adams

I completely agree.  If they reciprocate great.  If they don't that's OK too.  It's still enriching to do it.  Good for the sender and the receiver.


Jul 31, 2023 09:24 PM
Jackie Adams
ERA Archibald Real Estate - Idaho Falls, ID
Realtor serving Idaho Falls & all Southeast Idaho

I love this post and I try to do the same.  I follow the promptings I get to reach out in gratitude and appreciation to my past clients to show I care about them beyond the transaction.  I have a system I use to send heartfelt cards to their street mailbox and when received they're treasured and the recipient doesn't throw them away.  They go on the frig.  The reason is because these card are about them.  I don't mention anything about Real Estate, referrals or anything like that.  I send on holidays and I send if I see on social media they had a new baby, won a 5K, had a death in the family or anything life event I can celebrate with them.  I send them on holidays and birthdays and remember their closing date anniversary.  It's an amazing system that brings me repeat and referral business.  I'm happy to share.  It's good for the sender and the receiver as it just makes the world a happier place.

Jul 31, 2023 09:20 PM
Jackie Adams
ERA Archibald Real Estate - Idaho Falls, ID
Realtor serving Idaho Falls & all Southeast Idaho

What are some of the ways you all stay in touch with your past customers?  I really like what Mike Cooper started here.  Great suggestions.

Jul 31, 2023 09:26 PM
M.C. Dwyer
Melody Russell Team at eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV I kept this tab open in my Chrome to catch up on, and boy am I glad I did!    It's true - we make a lot of friends with our clients - we create inside jokes, meet their family when they come in from out of town and want to tour homes together.    We know their dogs' names .... I could go on and on but you already know.      What a wonderful post about checking in with people - for no other reason than we like each other - and to remember which way they like to communicate.

Aug 02, 2023 11:08 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Really enjoyed this post and wanted to share that in my business i have made a point to be real with all my clients and by the time we get to the closing I have gotten to know my clients very well and have built trust so they are comfortable with my advise.  Communication is the key and I make sure to reach out to them in the most convenient way that works for them.  After closing I follow up and stay in touch as I become their Friendly Realtor for Life!

Aug 02, 2023 05:39 PM