The path to success is the same as in any other profession. If you want to be successful in real estate, you must do what others won’t or don’t do.
Sure, some agents get by and even make a small living by doing the minimum. But when you do what they don’t do by adding value and/or making your clients feel cared for, you’ll leave them in the dust.
We all know that returning calls, emails, and texts promptly is important…
And it is something that far too many agents don’t do. So is making sure clients understand the paperwork and the deadlines, keeping them informed throughout their transactions, and generally giving them the attention they want.
Doing those things will help you be successful in real estate. But don’t stop there.
Something else most others don’t do is follow-up AFTER the closing.
How many times have you received a thank you note after making a significant purchase? How many times have you received a phone call from a sales person checking in to see if you have questions or concerns after your purchase. How many times has that person continued to follow up over the years?
My guess is not many. That’s why, when it happens, you remember it and you tell others. And the next time you want something that person sells, he or she is the first person you contact.
My former neighbor purchased a pickup truck before he moved to Idaho from Montana, and that sales person continued to stay in touch for years. He always sent a birthday card and cards for various holidays. And my neighbor told us about it every time. He said if he ever decided to buy a new pickup, he would go back to that sales person regardless of the distance.
Dedicated follow-up is one of the ways you can set your business apart as both different and better.
A few days ago, marketing guru Graham McGregor asked his subscribers if they thought they’d get more benefit from being different or from being better than their competitors. Many said: “Be both!” I agree.
His opinion was that being different was best, because everyone says they’re better. My thought on that is “Don’t say you’re better. Be better.” Your clients will know and will refer others to you as a result.
In all fairness, if you’re selling a product that depends on having a multitude of buyers, being different just might be the most effective way to become noticed by strangers. And Mr. McGregor’s readers are a diverse group – selling everything from widgets to personal services.
Following up after closings makes you both different and better…
Following up after closings makes you different, because so few other agents bother to do it. It makes you better, because you give added value by offering advice and information. This is especially true for first time home buyers.
If you want to be successful in real estate, give first time buyers extra attention.
Those who have never owned a home before often “don’t know what they don’t know,” so little reminders will be helpful to them. At the same time, sending those reminders will show them that you care about them and their well-being – not just the commission check you received.
That’s why I wrote a set of letters especially for follow-up with first time buyers.
The set begins with a move-in checklist of things to do immediately after closing. It is designed to be sent (or hand delivered) the day of closing. And, since even your seasoned homeowners may forget one or two of these tasks, you can use it for all of your home buyers.
Then it continues with reminders about reviewing systems and warranties, winterizing, documenting the changes they make with pictures, taking advantage of tax benefits, etc.
Learn more and get your copy of these letters by clicking here.
If you haven’t been pursuing first time buyers, do think about it. Not only do they make approximately 1/3 of the home purchases, they’re more likely to send you additional business. Read this to learn why.
What about the 2/3 or so of buyers who aren’t first time buyers?
Following up with them is just as important. They may not have as many friends who will soon need an agent, and they may not be as enthusiastic, but if you follow up correctly, they will send you business. They might also become repeat clients.
What do I mean by following up correctly?
I mean, by giving them useful or entertaining information and letting them know that they mean more to you than the commission check. By letting them know that if they run into a real estate related glitch and you can answer questions or help in some way, you’re willing. By referring others to their businesses when you have the opportunity.
In other words, if you want to be successful in real estate, treat past clients like valued friends, not just like sources of new business.
Don’t forget about your sellers when you follow up…
If they loved your service as their listing agent, they’ll love to refer others to you – but only if you stay in touch.
It doesn’t matter if they’ve remained in your community or moved away. Even if they’ve moved, they probably have friends who still live in your territory. When those friends talk about buying or selling, you’ll want them to talk about you and your superior service. They will, as long as you keep letting them know that you’re still thinking of them.
The bottom line: One way to be successful in real estate is to follow up with all of your past clients, and don’t stop until you’re ready to retire.
So send a note now and then. Send them market reports or your monthly (or quarterly) newsletter. Send cards for lesser-celebrated holidays, like St. Patrick’s Day or Groundhog Day – or Halloween. If it fits, send just listed cards.
Pick up the phone just to say hi and catch up with what’s going on in both of your lives. Ask about their children, their puppy, or their new jobs. If they’re in a new city, ask about that. Share events in your life – like your own new house, moving from one brokerage to another, buying a puppy, or greeting a new grandchild. Your topic should depend upon the clients and what you know would interest them.
The topic doesn’t matter, as long as it’s not simply a sales message.
If you’re at a loss for what to say every month or so, try my event-themed staying in touch set. This one has 2 messages for each month of the year, so you could use it for one year or two years – or even 4 years if you write every other month!
For more on how to be successful in real estate…
Check out this post by guest blogger Meryll Russell.