How to Stay Top of Mind with Past Clients

By MNR News posted 10-05-2022 04:06 PM

As the saying goes, “Hold the foil as a bird; not so loosely that it can fly away, but not so tightly that you squeeze the life out of it.” Replace the word “foil” with “client relationship” and this little turn of phrase takes on a deeper meaning for Realtors®.

You can’t cultivate a book of business by force or through sheer determination. Nurture, not nature, is the key for Realtors® looking to connect with and retain clients. But how can you stay top of mind in those long gaps between the time a client buys and sells their home? This could be, quite literally, the million-dollar question for Realtors® over the course of their careers.

Even though average home tenure has recently dipped from ten years to eight—according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers—that’s still nearly a decade of relationship limbo between transactions. Despite approximately 90% of both buyers and sellers using a real estate agent last year, NAR’s historical statistics suggest that only half will use the same agent again. 

In order to break through the ceiling of national averages, you’ll need to focus not just on navigating the unpredictable swings of the housing market, but on the people whom you’re in business to serve. Real estate, after all, is a people and property business. One cannot come at the expense of the other if a Realtor® wishes to find long-term success. We’ve put together these top five tips to stay top of mind with your former clients.

“Closing is the Beginning” Mindset

Opening the door to home ownership for a client shouldn’t close the door on your professional partnership. While you should celebrate the success, look at closing as a critical time to establish or reinforce your ongoing value to the client—value that you will add over the course of their homeownership tenure.

It’s common to suggest recommendations for trusted electricians, plumbers, heating/cooling experts and other repair persons at closing. It’s also the best time to collect referrals and a positive recommendation, while your services are still fresh in the client’s mind. NAR found that 68% of sellers found their agent through a referral from a friend, neighbor, or relative or used an agent they had worked with before to buy or sell a home.

Be Personal

The crux of great customer relationships isn’t an effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software; it’s your own unique ability to add value to the lives of your clients and create trust. You must know who your clients are, what they want long-term, and what is important for them to know right now. Aside from personal communications specific to life’s milestones—birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc.—you can become a valuable source of information about their property and the housing market, which is what matters the most. When you connect on a human level with your client, they’re more likely to warmly recall and retain your services in the future.

Be the Expert

In today’s frenetic digital age, you can help clients cut through the noise by sending monthly or quarterly communications about their property value, updated housing market reports, and home improvement ideas. This means you need to stay on top of national and local market trends and look for the positive even when the news feels negative.

Try to personalize your messaging as best you can, without bogging down your workflow. Reach out and consult with a client who may be approaching the average tenure of homeownership. Craft quality blog content. Whether it is through newsletters, mailers, texts or emails, use what you know to inform your clients time and time again. As is preached throughout the profession, it’s ethical to have your clients “opt-in” to any special communication you offer and to not exhaust your goodwill by over-communicating.

Be There

As many Realtors® learn during training, “Whatever CRM you use or brokerage offers—that’s the best CRM.” You should use the technology at hand to enhance and organize your ongoing communication. If you’ve got time to dive deeper, many free or inexpensive CRMs offer robust features, including messaging automation. CRMs are a great way to track details about a client’s life, needs, and personality so that you can better customize messaging.

But remember: your competition is also using these same tools. What will set you apart? The creative ways you make yourself accessible and valuable to past clients. Having a digital presence for your business is important because NAR’s research shows 95% of buyers start their home search online. See our recent blog on Using Social Media to Grow Your Business for tips on shaping your online brand and choosing the right messaging for the right channels.

Be Yourself

Realtors®, like onions and ogres, have layers. Let your personality, wits, and style shine through when working with clients. Reading and responding to real people is another key to success. One of the exciting aspects of this profession is the freedom to connect with people in a way that feels authentic to you. When you’re consistent, memorable, and real, clients will keep coming back. As we learned from instructor Mary Johnson-Pallin at this year’s UNITE! convention, “Your book of business deserves a great Realtor®.” If you’re not up to the task, someone else is sure to be.