It’s a fine line – staying in the forefront of people’s minds about your real estate expertise without being a pest. Knowing how to reach out to past clients and how often to do so is a skill. But not to worry; this tricky line can be navigated with planning.
Robin McInnis, a sales rep with Sutton West Coast Realty in Vancouver, says, “There are several ways I keep in touch with past clients after a deal is done. For starters, I check in with them one month after they move in to see how they’re enjoying the new place and then I drop off a meal kit from Chefs Plate or Goodfood as a thank you with a note.”
McInnis continues, “Holidays present an easy opportunity to keep in touch. On Thanksgiving, I typically drop off a pie or a Bosa chicken (if you haven’t had one, get one ASAP! I recommend the one stuffed with sausage). Christmas, too – a poinsettia or a commemorative decoration are easy touches. Easter, a basket for the kids. Throughout the year, I make sure to send a note for birthdays with a gift card. If they have small children, I make a point of acknowledging their birthdays as well. Clients really seem to appreciate that. And on the anniversary of a purchase, I’ll send a bottle of wine or a gift basket.
“I make a point of not sending newsletters or other market info unless they ask for it because I don’t want anyone annoyed when they think of me. I would rather have them appreciative and grateful.”
Many agents stay connected to their address book by hosting parties or events. Think of a socially distanced block party or barbecue. Such client appreciation soirees allow you to deepen your relationships with past clients while building their loyalty to you.
Sponsoring events is another way to stay foremost in people’s minds. Whether it’s a sports team, a charity function or a school event, attaching yourself to community functions keeps your name in people’s sight. Ideally, sponsor events that your clients are involved with.
Sandra Pike, a real estate agent with Royal LePage Atlantic in Halifax, foregoes client parties, preferring smaller, meaningful gestures throughout the year. “I stay in touch several ways:
- Personalized client calendars with their name on each page.
- Happy birthday cards.
- Newsletters via direct mail once a month.
- Happy anniversary cards and gifts. It changes each year. Last year it was personalized cutting boards, this year it is wine glasses personalized to each client.
- I have a branded magazine that reaches clients six times a year.
- Some I stay in touch with via social media channels.
- I run contests/games for past clients to enter.
- When COVID-19 hit in March, I immediately sourced masks that were sent via Canada Post to my clients as well as personalized hand sanitizer gel packs.”
Staying in your client’s lives is essential if you want to ensure they will use you in the future and refer you to others. But how you reach out to them is even more important than what you do. Using a soft touch needs to be a priority. No one likes being bombarded with in-your-face marketing that borders on harassment. Personalized contact goes a long way and the ideal method will vary from client to client. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that it offers value to your clients.
Bonnie Meisels, a real estate broker with Keller Williams Urbain in Montreal, occasionally touches base with her clients to say hello and see how they’re doing.
“I look at it as a long-term relationship. I don’t regularly email or call as I don’t want to intrude in their lives. Telemarketing is not my thing. I dislike when I get unwanted contact so I have the same approach towards my clients.”
Meisels continues, “My approach or viewpoint to staying top of mind for my clients is to simply do my best and give 120 per cent of myself when working with them on their transaction. I continually strive and commit to a level of excellence by providing quality service, sharing my knowledge, and of course, ultimately, helping them to achieve their goals and a successful outcome. These are literally my best tools for remaining top of mind. It’s all about trust and my clients tend to know that I’m looking out for their interests and should they need anything, I’m just a call, text or email away.”
More ways to stay in touch with past clients without being a nuisance include:
- Send them a comparative market analysis once a year for their home.
- Pick up the phone and call them just to say hello.
- Take a client out for coffee or dinner.
- Send personalized cards to your clients. In this era of few handwritten items arriving in the mail, yours will stand out.
- Send Just Sold or Just Listed cards to clients when you list or sell a home in their neighbourhood.
- Have an artist do a rendering of their home, use a drone to capture a picture of the house, or use software to turn a house photo into a work of art.
- Give clients a memorable and unique move-in gift that they will see or use often, ensuring they think of you frequently.
This may come as a surprise but your clients want you to stay in touch with them, in most cases.
Instead of thinking of the closing of a real estate transaction as the end of a relationship, flip that around and consider it the start of a lifelong partnership. Remaining top of mind is critical. Even the most satisfied clients will forget your name as the years pass if you don’t make sure it is etched in their head forever.