Earlier this year, Outbound Engine did a survey of 500 real estate professionals. They found that 86 percent of past clients say they would use their agent again or recommend them to others. However, the agents who were polled reported that only 20 percent of their business is returning business. So if 86 percent would use them again or refer them, but only 20 percent actually do, what’s happening here?
It’s all about connection. You cannot have a great experience with a client and then just let them go. You have to continually foster a relationship long after the transaction has occurred. If you don’t, you drop off their radar, they lose your contact info, or they find someone else who is willing to pick up where you left off. So how do you do it? How do you keep a great relationship going years after the sale has closed?
Remain unforgettable. You’re going to have to commit to the long game on this one. According to a study done by the NAR® (NAR) in 2013, the average home seller had stayed in their home for nine years. Utilizing social media, regular emails, and content marketing can help keep you and your business relevant over that time and ensure that when you are needed you can be found. But it’s also imperative that you don’t just rely on social media to do the talking for you. Call them, at least once a year, to check in and ask how they are doing. Have they made improvements to the house? Added a new family member? Be clear that you care about them as well as their friends and family. In doing so they will remember to call you when needed and recommend you when the people they know and care about need a realtor they can trust.
Email marketing and social media are proven year after year to work. You can start by ‘friending’ your clients on social media, connecting with them on LinkedIn, and sending out emails that offer home tips and local real estate news. If you’re unsure what to send, you can learn how to use email marketing to encourage return and referral business by taking an online class or attending a seminar. The Internet is rife with different classes you can take. Be sure to look for those geared specifically to real estate professionals. Or, better yet, consult your local real estate professional organization for recommendations.
Content marketing can mean the difference between fostering a great relationship and being sent to the ‘Trash’ folder. The goal is to customize content to each of your contact groups via email, social marketing, or even print marketing.
If you just sold a family a house you don’t want to immediately start peppering them with information about nearby listings. Sending that same family information about local parks and schools or helpful tips on how to winterize a new home and garden is more relevant. Tailor your marketing to different groups of clients: first-time homebuyers, retirees, or commercial real estate buyers and sellers have very different needs. Make sure your content has value and is relevant to the reader group you are targeting.
Referral networks are a great way to reach new clients while at the same time fostering positive relationships with other businesses in your community. A lender will very likely be asked by a client to recommend a real estate agent; you will be asked if you can recommend a lender.
Establish working relationships with anyone who may interact with potential clients by encouraging positive, long-lasting relationships with the vendors and complementary business professionals you come in contact with. A key tip here is to always try to provide value to the other person first. It will make you memorable and first of mind when they have a referral your business. They will want to repay the favor.
Repeat and referral business is the lifeblood of a successful real estate career. There should be no such thing as a one-off interaction. Each transaction has the potential to lead to another. Do what you can on the onset to make a good first impression and value to your contacts, create a smooth, positive selling or buying experience, and follow up by keeping in contact and providing relevant information. Do these things each time and you will see your repeat and referral business thrive.
What have you done to grow your referral and repeat business? Tell us in the comments below!