Throughout your career, you’ll need methods for generating immediate results – or short-term success. However, consistently generating those immediate results can become exhausting. That’s why agents who wish for long-term real estate career success work hard to build a loyal base of repeat and referral clients.
And that is the secret.
Top agents tell me that while they do continue to market their services to new clients, the bulk of their business comes from that loyal base.
How do you build a loyal referral base for long-term real estate career success?
The first step, of course, is to do an exceptional job for every client. That means giving them the attention and service they want while continuing to learn and grow as an agent.
The second step is to never let them forget you.
Nurturing your base is similar to farming a geographic area.
When I write about the long-term career success agents can create by farming a geographic area, I talk about creating mind-share. It comes from being in constant communication and never letting them forget you and what you can do for them. Create that same mind-share with your past clients and people in your sphere of influence.
Just as you nurture the residents in your farm area, you must nurture the individuals in your base.
It doesn’t matter how much they loved you at the conclusion of your transaction, if you forget them, they will forget you.
Staying in touch is vital for long-term real estate career success…
…and HOW you stay in touch matters.
If you consistently write asking for new business or referrals, they’ll begin deleting your emails and texts – and sending your postal mail to the round file without opening it. They might remember you, but not in a favorable light. Becoming an annoyance is not a great career move.
New agents should begin with a database filled with members of their sphere of influence. Then they should begin building their past client database starting with their very first closing, and never stop.
The solution is to be informative, interesting, interested – and grateful.
Since your long-term real estate career success hinges on building and keeping a strong base, you have to make them glad to know you – and glad to hear from you.
This can include sending market reports, just listed/just sold cards, news about new commercial or housing developments coming to their area, reminders about spring/fall household maintenance chores, news about new regulations that might affect them, and news about upcoming local events and fund-raisers.
People do like to be “in the know” about what is going on around them. If you have news they hadn’t already heard or more details about news they have heard, they’ll be glad to hear it. How many times have you heard someone wonder aloud about what’s going on when they see ground being cleared or renovations starting in a previously vacant building? We humans want to know things.
My new “First-time Buyer Keeping in Touch” letter set falls into the “being informative” category, because the letters are reminders of things first time buyers might not think to do as they settle into home ownership.
Send things that would be considered trivia. They’re fun to know, but you don’t need to know them. These are the messages that your base might share with friends over coffee or a cocktail, just because it’s interesting.
These are the kind of messages you’ll find in my Event-themed Keeping in Touch Letter Set. In addition to trivia about a few of our well-known days, this set recognizes birthdays of people you never heard of (Like Erma Nutt) and a variety of National Days you can celebrate for fun.
This one takes a bit more thought and effort, but is worth it. The good news is, you don’t have to be quite as consistent.
Let past clients and people in your sphere hear from you on a personal basis now and then. Pick up the phone just to say: “How are you?” or to ask about some event in their lives. Ask how the new puppy is doing or whether their child is excited about going off to school (or high school or college) for the first time. Ask if they’re happy in a new job or enjoying their new boat. If you see an article you know would interest them, send a link or tear it from a magazine and mail it.
The topic doesn’t matter, as long as it shows that you know who they are and you’re interested in them.
Of course you can do the same with email, a text, or a hand-written note.
Naturally, the hand-written note is the most memorable, because so few people send them. This one is especially appropriate if congratulations or best wishes are in order, but it will be welcomed at any time.
When I owned an agency and mailed monthly newsletters, I always left a blank spot for a personalized hand-written note – that worked, too.
Being grateful is of supreme importance to long-term real estate career success.
When someone sends you a referral, thank them immediately. Then, after you’ve talked with that person, call again and let them know how it went. If all goes well and the referral results in a nice sale, send a gift of some sort.
When people know you truly appreciate the things they do for you, they’re more than happy to do more.
However, there’s more to it. Don’t just thank people, take the time to feel that gratitude – actually BE thankful for all the wonderful people who are happy to give you a boost up your career ladder. And while you’re at it, be grateful for your career, your loved ones, and every success in life.
It’s important – just ask Willie…
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around,”
What if you haven’t stayed in touch with past clients?
It’s never too late to start. You might feel a little awkward when you contact them after months (or years) have gone by with no contact. Since so many agents do find themselves in that position, I wrote a past client letter set to help you get back on track. Click here for the details.
It IS important to ignore the awkwardness and just do it, because past clients who haven’t heard from you might assume that you’re no longer in the business – and call someone else when it’s time to sell or move-up.