You and your clients should both feel very happy when you close a transaction—a good home sale is the classic win-win situation. If you want to be a truly great agent though, you shouldn’t view that transaction as the end of the relationship.
At the same time, it can often feel awkward reaching back out to your clients after the sale. Having a solid plan in place to keep in touch with past clients is key. Here are some successful client communication strategies that agents and teams have employed to keep their sphere of influence flush.
Build the relationship during the transaction
Don’t get ahead of yourself. You need to make yourself someone that former clients want to hear from. The best chance you’ll ever have to do that is when you’re working with them.
Tony Mattar, founder of the Chicago Crib Team at Compass, says that his team always asks new clients the following question: What are the top three things we can do for you from a service standpoint that are going to make for a great experience?
“A lot of time that leads us into a conversation about communication,” says Mattar.
If you know from the beginning what your clients prefer when it comes to communication, it’s all the easier to reach out to them.
Check in with them
The easiest way to stay in touch? Check in on your clients as they’re getting to know their new home. They will be sure to appreciate the gesture as you go above and beyond by demonstrating that you care. If they run into any problems as they’re settling in, you can offer advice. You can even ask how they’re feeling about the transaction with the benefit of hindsight and apply their feedback in useful ways going forward.
Mattar shared the following story about reaching out to a former client, which netted him repeat business.
“I reached out to a past client (they bought in 2019), and we hadn’t had a personal conversation in a while. ‘I thought about you as I happened to be showing homes in your neighborhood the other day. I need a list of recommendations. What are your favorite restaurants in the area?’ Then she mentioned that they had a second kid, which I didn’t know, and they’re outgrowing their space. I almost guarantee within six months they’re going to be calling me about moving from their condo into a single-family home.”
Ask them to refer you
Once you close one transaction, you go back to hunting for more—that’s the name of the game in real estate. If your past clients are satisfied with their experience, ask them to refer you to friends and family (or anyone else they may know) that are in the market for buying or selling a home.
Dana Green, CEO of the Dana Green Team, says that her team deputizes their former clients.
“We ask all our clients to become our friends on social media and also our eyes and ears in the community. Anytime (you) see a moving truck, (let us know).”
If you don’t ask for referrals, clients may not know how beneficial this could be for you. You’ll stay in touch with your past clients and make some new ones, too.
Host events and invite them
You don’t have to be all business when building business relationships. If your office is hosting holiday parties or community events, invite former clients. If your office isn’t hosting any such events yet, organize them yourself.
Jeff Goodman, an agent with Brown Harris Stevens in New York City, hosts regular walking tours through the city that double as networking events.
“The tours are two-act events,” says Goodman. “The first act is the walking tour itself, and the second act is most people who come on the tour adjourn to a local bar or restaurant I find near where the tour ends…if they like to meet people, the smart networkers work the room.”
If you want to do something of that scale, get your whole team involved in the process so that everyone can reap the benefits.
Send out emails
If you want to touch base with many of your former clients at once, maintaining a regular email contact list is the way to go.
“I will send up to 52 emails per year to my sphere of influence,” says Goodman, who has an email open rate of over 50%. “I won’t do more than one a week unless it’s extraordinary,” adds Goodman, who goes on to explain that knowing how many emails to send is key.
Of course, you have to offer something they’d actually want to read. For Goodman, that means showing off the best of the best with his new listings.
“When I get a new listing, if the listing is good to do a video and 3D walkthrough, I will have our marketing department design a custom email, not just ‘Property for Sale,’ but also, here’s my latest listing. To the seller, it looks like I’m (sending a lot of emails). But to my network, it’s saying, look at all the great resources and collateral I have. And people in my network will write back, ‘Oh, that’s such a great property.’”
This doesn’t have to be your approach, though. You can create a newsletter, offer market analysis or even list business tips. The sky’s the limit with digital marketing.
Offer a personal touch
A boilerplate thank you note is fine, but if you’re looking for a response, take it one step further. For Mattar and the Chicago Crib Team, that means a gift program for recent clients.
“We have a third-party vendor send out quarterly, for one year after they close, a little kind of small gift. Last month we had a Valentine’s Day theme, so a rose-scented candle…a little $15 – $20 gift and it’s an additional touch on top of the comprehensive marketing plan for those past clients to stay top of mind.
Susan Herrmann, an agent with William Raveis Real Estate in Westport, Connecticut, has a specific strategy for keeping in touch. Every Christmas, she drops off home-baked cookies to her past clients. After all, your presence will always be appreciated if you come bearing gifts (edible or not).