Every new listing represents a significant investment of your time, money and energy, but a client’s lifetime value can go well beyond that of a single successful sale. To get the best return on that investment, you need to be generating repeat business. Here are five ways to make sure you do.
How much of your week do you think you spend prospecting? Maybe 30 per cent? Thirty-five? According to Propperazzi, it’s probably closer to 64 per cent.
People make a lot of moves in their lifetime. According research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, they’ll move every seven years on average. And what will they need every time? An agent, of course!
And let’s not forget about the power of referrals; one word-of-mouth referral is more valuable than 10 online leads. No, I didn’t make that up — Inman said it (so it must be true). But we can’t give them all the credit. Marketers have been utilising the power of referrals for yonks. And why not, when Forbes tells us that 92 per cent of consumers are more likely to believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising?
Part of building a long list of loyal clients is being a great agent throughout the course of the transaction — but that’s only half the battle. In order to keep clients (and their referrals) coming back to you, you need to be remembered past that first transaction.
So, how can you make sure that you’re the sole agent in their life?
I’m glad you asked. Here’s what I think:
1. Connect with them as a person and not just as a client
Yes, you sell houses — but really, real estate is a people business.
In order to establish a human connection that goes further than the agent/seller relationship, you need to learn who your clients are as people. The only way to do that is through asking.
Is your seller heading to the coast for the weekend? Stick it in your CRM, and when it’s time for your weekly call, ask them how the surf was.
Are they a theatre fanatic? Note it, and if your agency has some spare Wicked tickets, send them an invite!
But let’s be real, no one wants to work with a cardboard cut-out, even if they do ask good questions. So, this goes two ways. You have to let them know who you are beneath the suit as well.
It’s up to you how you incorporate your personality into your business. Some agents may talk about their interests, others may add character in the way that they dress. Just make sure it’s genuine. You want people to think of you as a trusted advisor — or if you’re lucky, a friend.
2. Find out what they need, not just what they tell you they want
As soon as you make a new connection, all you have to do is subtly drop in a couple of questions that will get you the insight you need.
Find out where they work, or if they have kids that need to be in certain school districts. Then, attach a custom tag to the contact record in your CRM — “Bardon State School”, for example. Do this for everyone you meet. That way, when a property pops up just down the road from that school, you’ll be able to search for the tag and pull up a list of all the parents who would be interested in living close by.
If someone was to mention their motorbike collection, add in a “shed” tag — they’ll probably need somewhere to store all their bikes. The options are endless.
The reason behind this is simple. If you can anticipate what they need, and not just what they tell you they want, you’ll be able to recommend properties that tick boxes they didn’t even know they had.
This shows buyers you really care about them and not just your commission. Only do this for suitable listings, not with every new property that comes on the market, or you could lose your position as their trusted advisor.
3. Know their next move before they do
If you’ve taken the time to get to know them, you’ll be able to forecast exactly what their next move will be — again and again.
Upsizing? Downsizing? Settling down away from the city? Once you’ve worked it out, you’ll be one step ahead of the rest.
Those tags I mentioned aren’t just going to help you find a buyer their next home; they’re going to help you find them the one after that, and the one after that — and hopefully sell the house they’re leaving behind, too.
If your CRM lets you create custom workflows, you could take this one step further and design a list of best practice follow-up activities to attach to all of your contacts once they’re settled into a new home. Here at Rex, we call them Tracks. This should remind you to get in contact a year or so out of that seven-year period and start planting the seeds for your next sale.
4. Stay connected
If you want to be someone’s go-to agent, you need to be remembered. Email marketing is one way to do this. According to research from Ascend2, it’s one of the cheapest and most effective ways to keep prospects engaged. So, don’t neglect your monthly e-newsletter!
Now, you probably won’t be the only agent popping up in their inbox, but you could be the only one that’s listened to what they want and tailored your message just for them. It’s not as difficult as it sounds, I promise.
In your database, you’ve got current buyers and sellers, past buyers and sellers, investors, renters, stickybeaks and everyone in between. So, the first thing you need to do is correctly classify every contact in your CRM, and make sure you’re updating those classifications when things change. This way, you can send out different emails to different types of contacts (so long as your CRM supports mass merges of contacts onto mailing lists).
When you’re ready to write your newsletter, create and send one to each mailing list. This is one sure-fire way to add value to the messages you’re sending.
The last thing you want is for your newsletters to go straight into the virtual trash can, so provide them with useful, tailored information. Your contacts will be much happier receiving information that is actually relevant to their lives. For example, you could create a newsletter with market news for current sellers and buyers, or maintenance reminders and remodeling tips for past clients.
This strategy helps you providing each contact with information that is valuable to them, while reinforcing your value as an agent — and keeping you top of mind, always.
5. Consistency is key
I’m not going to tell you how to keep in contact with your sellers and buyers — phone calls, emails, SMS, carrier pigeon… I’m sure you’ve worked out what works best for you. But what I will say is this: it needs to be consistent. Stay organised and reach out to your past clients routinely.
Your CRM should help you manage your contacts and remind you when it’s time to send a birthday card, anniversary gift, or just touch base. Remember, your clients are people — not just sellers and buyers.
If you can get a new customer to buy from you once, research from Stepp tells us that there is a 50 per cent chance that they’ll buy from you again, rather than from anyone else. In real estate terms, that means you’ve got a 50/50 chance of squeezing another six listings out of each of your sellers (because they’re moving an average of seven times, remember?).
That’s like tossing a coin! Make sure you apply the above so it always lands the right way up.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pete is the group sales manager at Rex Software.
After a year working as a real estate agent, Pete mixed his love of technology and real estate and made the leap into software sales when the company was in its infancy. Now, he’s been here so long, he’s almost part of the furniture.
Ask him a question - any question - about customer relationship management software, and he’ll give you an answer. It’s usually the right one.