Imagine this scenario. A client you worked with years ago is in his backyard. He’s chatting across the fence with a neighbor. That neighbor mentions that a friend is looking for a real estate agent and asks for a recommendation.
Will your old client recommend you?
That depends on whether or not you’ve been in touch lately. If you have, you stand a good chance of getting that referral. If you haven’t, bad news: some other agent will get the listing.
According to research by the National Association of Realtors, 64% of sellers found an agent through a referral from a friend, neighbor or relative — or, they hired the agent they worked with previously. Other studies reveal that the average homeowner is in a position to recommend an agent two or three times a year. Over three years, that’s nine potential listings!
So you’ve got to stay in touch, if you want more real estate referrals and repeat business.
But what if you haven’t? What if you’ve been busy and lost touch, or just didn’t have an automated marketing system for staying-in-touch that made it easy?
The good news is, it’s not too late. You can still re-engage old clients, even those you haven’t contacted for years.
Your first step is to make a phone call. Your goal on that call is to:
- Ask how your past client doing, particularly how they are enjoying the home you helped them find and buy.
- Apologize for not staying in touch as often as you would have liked, and promise them you’re going to change that.
- Offer to send them something of value on a regular basis, such as a high-interest real estate newsletter or engaging real estate direct mail piece.
Your conversation might go something like this:
Hi, it’s John Smith from John Smith Realty. I know it’s been a while since we connected. I just wanted to check in and see how you’re doing with your home, and also to apologize for not staying in touch more often. How are things going, Rob?”
Be prepared. Some clients will be surprised to hear from you and, possibility, disappointed that you “went dark” on them for so long. Most others, however, will be glad to hear from you — even delighted.
Your next step, is to put your stay-in-touch plan for that client into a system — ideally an easy and automated marketing system — so you an build loyalty with that person over time. High value content (articles, tips, news) is a necessary component of those communications.
Sure, these may be awkward calls to make, but when you make them, you’ll start seeing more referrals when your past clients get asked, “Do you know a good real estate agent?”