Celebrating Your Clients

Your Key to Success in Any Market

I refer to a real estate broker’s sphere and past client databases as their goldmine. The sphere section of the database includes people who know you, know you sell real estate, but they may not have had a chance to work with you just yet while past clients have. If a real estate broker can harness the power of their database and past clients through stellar communication, they are less likely to be faced with the feast and famine scenario that a changing market might bring.

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These tried-and-true systems are not difficult to establish or implement and they will bring you reliable leads and referrals if performed consistently:

Provide regular communication about the market in your voice and on your brand

Simply sending a monthly real estate newsletter can do most of the work for you. A newsletter with an article on a general, possibly local, real estate topic and some stats comparing year-over-year figures for median sales prices, available inventory, number of sales, days on market, etc—which should be available in your MLS—is all you need! Don’t reinvent the wheel each month. Develop a formula or a template, then update it once a month and send it.

Be thankful for referrals

Do you have a system for thanking your database and past clients for referrals? This might include a thank you card with a coffee gift card or something more elaborate like a gift certificate to dinner. Keep it simple, but do have a system that is easy to grab and use when the occasion is upon you. Remember, industry professionals need a thank you too when they provide a referral!

Make closing memorable

What do you do for closing that is special? Do you present a gift basket or have a special go-to item that you give? Is your system simple enough to implement when you are closing six difficult transactions in a month? How you handle closing (when you are no longer getting paid for your service) sets the stage for the client care they can expect in the months and years to come.

Have a system for after closing

What is your communication plan for the first year after the homeowners have purchased their home and are getting settled in? This is one system that I have seen many brokers struggle with. The intent to follow through is there, perhaps these are even tasks noted on the calendar, but things get in the way. Again, don’t reinvent the wheel. Brokers need a fixed series of tasks they perform at set intervals during that first year.

For example, at two weeks, I would do a quick call to check in and make sure everything is working correctly. At 30 days, I would send an email, asking for feedback and possibly a testimonial, and then call if there is no response. I would send additional information throughout that first year as well including information on seasonal upkeep or property taxes. Sending settlement statement copies at year end for taxes would also be on my list.

In fact, I would make this series of tasks very easy by printing out everything that I needed to send the following year at closing. I had 12 file folders, each labeled for a different month of the year. I would just take my printouts and pop those in the folder which represented the month that mailpiece was supposed to be sent. Then when the month came along, I just took all the printed correspondence out of the folder and put it in the mailbox. This way I only tracked those tasks once a month instead of having to track who was supposed to get what each week.

Provide an annual property report

I call this report an Annual Client Review which is simply a report that compares neighborhood solds with their assessed property values in order to calculate an approximate market value (although not a CMA) for the homeowner based on their assessed property value. Other real estate brokers send out an annual CMA. Whatever you choose to do, sending an annual personalized report is a great way to say, “I am here and looking out for your investment.” This is a great tool to stay connected to past clients.

Host a client appreciation event

I recommend an annual live event that puts you face-to-face with your clients, past clients or anyone you designate in your sphere database. Your client appreciation event can be as relaxed as an ice cream social with bowling at a local bowling alley or as involved as renting a box at Safeco Field for a Mariners game. Perhaps you would like to have a “pick your pumpkin” event before Halloween at your local pumpkin patch for the kids or a wreath-making party at a garden shop for adults. There are so many great events that you can put together to show appreciation for your clients. You can put on one big event or several smaller, intimate gatherings. But as with other tasks in your business, I recommend developing a formula that you can more or less stick to year after year.

Don’t underestimate the goldmine that is your database! And don’t go out chasing new business and implementing new lead generation methods without taking the time to perfect what you do for your sphere database and past clients. Without those systems, you haven’t tapped the lead generation potential that is already at your fingertips. Develop your systems and processes for your database and past clients and you will be prepared to weather any market fluctuations.

The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings over two decades of experience in the real estate industry with expertise in strategic marketing, business analysis, branding, new home project planning, product development, and agent/broker training. Denise can be reached at The Lones Group: (360) 527-8904 or online at www.TheLonesGroup.com.

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