By David Knox | August 2021

To be referred, be remembered
One of my employees asked me for a referral to a real estate agent. I suggested she contact the one who sold my home because she did a great job. When my employee asked for the name, I hesitated, thought about her, but could not remember her name. I asked for time to search the sold folder from seven years prior. At the bottom of the agreement was her name. Ahhh yes, how could I have forgotten? Because I hadn’t heard from her once in those seven years.

I emailed her to recount my story, then asked a most embarrassing question: “Are you still in the real estate business?” She thanked me for the extra effort in finding her, then said she’s still trying to find a good way to connect with her past clients. To quote my friend Dave Beson, “Anything works and nothing doesn’t.” So perhaps trying email, text, call, postcard, newsletter, drive by…anything other than nothing.

I emailed her to recount my story, then asked a most embarrassing question: “Are you still in the real estate business?” If you’re a member of David Knox Real Estate Training, watch: Quick Tip 55: To Be Referred, Be Remembered. Fill out the form below if you’re interested getting a subscription for your company.

When I ask audiences why they haven’t called their SOI, they say: I don’t want to bother them, don’t want to ‘sell’ them something, afraid of rejection, been too long since last contact, etc. Well, none of these reasons will improve your business.

Maintain familiarity
Passive marketing won’t necessarily generate calls, but it will keep you in their mind so they’ll never have to ask if you’re still in the business. Be sure to have automated, systematic means of staying in front of them. Post cards, mailings, social media, marketing…whatever you do will make it easier to make your calls.

Past clients are a huge, long-term source of business, so here are five good reasons to make calls to them.

1. Thank
One of the easiest and most acceptable calls you can make is to thank past clients for their business. It avoids all the negative reasons. Set a schedule and block out time each day or week. Open your database and choose where to begin; perhaps from your first to the most recent. Select days and times when you are most likely to reach them.

Say: “I am feeling grateful today for my business and want to thank you for listing/selling through me. I really appreciate your business.” Stop. Wait.

They will appreciate your kind gesture and will probably ask about you and the market. If it feels right, continue with questions itemized at the end of this article. This call may open up a discussion of the market, moving plans and mention of other people that may be moving.

2. Invite
People always appreciate an invitation to something. This may require a bit more work because you first need an event. It could be as simple as inviting them to join you at a happy hour, a BBQ held at your office, or as elaborate as an event sponsorship held in an expensive home.

Any event wrapped around a local charity is sure to create goodwill for your clients and value for the organization. Get together as an office and select a worthwhile group and create an event. Plan your marketing by the typical means; Evite, email, social media and whatever else works in your market.

Then get on the phone and have conversations inviting your past clients to attend. The most important part of this is not the event, it’s the invitation.

3. Inform
An easy call for any agent to make to any group is a simple, brief voicemail to everyone in your database. Script out bullet points, open and close with your name and phone number then keep it to 15 seconds. You could address:

Benefits of current market
Available inventory
Great pricing
Reasonable interest rates
Second home purchase

Call and say: “Hello Kim and Kevin, this is _____ at xxxxxxx. I’m calling to let you know that our local market is experiencing things we haven’t seen in decades and it directly affects your home. If you’d like to hear more, give me a call. My number again, xxxxxxxxx.”

4. Survey
This will also take some work to set up. Create a letter that states your intention to be of more value to them by addressing their real estate needs. Provide a list of questions for them to complete. Here are some samples:

1. What information would you like me to provide?
☐ Properties for sale and sold in my neighborhood
☐ The current market value of my home
☐ What improvements add value?
☐ Information refinancing my home

2. What is your current situation?
☐ I’m happy where I am now
☐ I’m considering selling my home
☐ I’m considering buying a home
☐ I am debating whether to remodel my home or purchase another
☐ How much longer do you plan to stay in your current home? ___________

For a physical survey, be sure to hand address, hand stamp and include a self-addressed, post-paid envelope. Include a hyperlink or QR to an online survey as well.

For an online survey, use Survey Monkey to duplicate the questions. By providing physical and online surveys you cover all your bases. Provide a way for them to update their contact information.

5. Preferred Vendor Resource
Your past clients only move every few years, but they need real estate related services all the time. Assemble a list of trusted service providers in the areas of Transactional (mortgage, title, lawyer, inspector), Moving (movers, cleaning services, temporary housing), and Ownership (locksmith, electrician, plumber, maintenance). You probably have a good list already.

Now you can promote to your clients that if they ever need these services that they are welcome to call you. Promote this through the normal marketing channels, but the key is to have a good reason to make that phone call.

“John and Diana, I’m calling to let you know that I have a Preferred Vendor Resource service available to you. I have a list of providers that perform real estate related services. So next time you need something, think of calling me first.”

Questions
The purpose of these calls is to generate conversations, and perhaps opportunities to ask questions. If it feels appropriate, here are some things to ask:

How is your home working for you?
How much longer do you plan to stay in your current home?
Of all your (friends, neighbors, coworkers), who do you think will be moving NEXT?

Summary
You must take the initiative to make contact, have conversations then ask questions if you can. By creating positive reasons to call, you reduce reluctance and increase your comfort level.

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