In the last 17 years, I have conducted over 80,000 coaching calls and have had the opportunity to coach some of the best real estate agents in North America.
As we begin a coaching relationship one of the first questions I ask is, “Where does most of your business come from?” Most of them tell me the majority of their business comes from their database of sphere and past clients. In fact, as much as 80% of their business comes from this single source.
Here is what is interesting though; very few are working this segment of their business in a consistent and systematic fashion. Many of them tell me they are hesitant to call their sphere and past clients because they don’t know what to say or are concerned about bothering them – especially if they are luxury clients.
Real estate is something people enjoying talking about and when you have taken great care of a client and built a relationship with them, why wouldn’t they want to hear from you regularly? After all, you are their real estate authority.
Perhaps you are contacting them once or twice a year via mail or email and maybe you are even occasionally calling your top few favorites. Just imagine though what could happen in your business if you really dug in and had a more intensive plan for extracting business from this source.
Let me outline for you what would be an ideal method of working your database:
- Purge-it by updating your contact information and making sure you have people in it whom you truly want to work with.
- Divide your database into AAA, A, B, and C categories.
- Your AAA’s will get special attention. These are your top clients. I suggest you call them regularly – at least every 45 days. Get in front of them 1-2 times a year and do something special for them during the holidays.
- Your A’s would have a quarterly phone call from you.
- Your B’s would have at least 1 to 2 annual phone calls from you.
- Your C’s would be on an email drip campaign only. C’s include anyone and everyone from whom you can collect marketable emails, but you don’t necessarily know them or have any sort of strong connection with them.
For your AAA’s, A’s and B’s you will want to mail to them monthly if your budget permits. If not, at least mail them quarterly. You will also want to work to collect their birthdays and mail them a card or call them on their birthday. Think about it, how many happy birthday calls do you get? This is a call they will appreciate and remember. You may also want to collect home anniversary dates and send them a happy home anniversary card on the date of their home purchase.
Keeping in touch
Email drips are a great way to stay in touch but you want to ensure you are emailing value so your emails will be opened. Look for appropriate, interesting information to send them. Most agents find emailing 1-2 times a month works best. Keep in mind, you want to be known as their luxury real estate expert so make sure you are sending the right information at the right time to the right people.
My marketing team says even when someone knows you, the average open rate of an email drip will be 20%; if you add a video you can often double this number. Because not everyone will open your emails, regular snail mail is an important part of your system. In addition, you may want to send a message by text, PM or via Instagram to those with whom you have the strongest relationships.
Some agents hold an annual client appreciation event, which is often co-sponsored by their vendors. If you decide to do your own event, start your planning six months in advance. At 90 days out, send a “save the date” announcement and at 45-60 days prior, begin your heavy promotion of the event.
Take numerous photos during the event and post them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. Record a Facebook Live or an Instagram story for a 24-hour impact. The nice thing about these events is everyone there will be talking about you!
Remember, this is a system and it should run like clockwork. This means you will need an online contact management system to store your data and send your reminders of the activities you need to be doing and phone calls you need to be making.
December is a great time to calendar to once again purge your database and look at those you have called throughout the year but did not reach. You may want to hunt them down and speak to them before the end of the year.
What to say
I recommend you have a theme for each time you cycle through your calls. For example, at the beginning of the year maybe you want to call and offer to conduct an annual real estate review for them. You can also call them about unique investment opportunities, market updates and trends, and information you feel they should know. Think of this call as a customer service call. You are calling to be helpful and provide value.
When you begin the call, take 15-35 seconds or more to build the bridge: How are they? What is new in their life? Keep it all about them! Then quickly transition to business by acknowledging the fact you know they are busy, and you don’t want to take too much of their time. You are simply calling to give them an important real estate update.
Some additional items to remember when making these calls:
- When they ask if you are busy and doing well please don’t tell them how crazy busy and overwhelmed you are, because then they will not think you need referrals. Instead, respond with, “Things are good, thank you for asking. I always have time to help another great customer. Is there anyone in your close circle of friends or family who might need my help?”
- Remind them of the areas and price points you cover so they will not limit their referrals to only the market niche they think you work.
- Tell them how much you value their referrals and appreciate their loyalty and how to get referrals to you. Ask specifically “Who do you know today who might need my help?” versus “Please keep me in mind.” Ask, “If you meet someone who needs my help will you please email me or call me so I can reach out to them to say ‘Hello’?”
- Inquire about their real estate plans for the future and ask for their promise to call you when the time comes to make a change.
- Always ask what questions they have and how you may be of service to them.
- Ask for their permission to call them again with further updates and commit to keeping them informed.
- Thank them for their time and let them know you are just a phone call away.
I am sure, if you are like most agents, there are at least a few improvements you can immediately make to your system which will assist you and, in some cases, double and even triple your referral business.
Your database is something you should always be working on to grow it with quality people. Of course, you will add clients from your closings, so ask them at closing who of their friends and family may want to be in your information loop (Add them to your database too).
In social and networking situations mention the terrific bulletins and information you send to friends and clients and ask those you meet if they would like to receive this information.
If appropriate you may want to adopt the client on the other side of the deal from you; especially if they were represented by an out-of-area agent.
Imagine this, what would your business look like if you doubled and tripled its size? Think how large your database would be in 2, 3, 5 years if you consistently make growing your database a priority. You might never have to cold prospect again. Wouldn’t that be great?!
Take the first step towards this goal today. Choose the action steps you need to take to implement your flawless systematic approach to working this valuable group.
If you want more guidance on how to grow your luxury real estate practice, you can learn more about the Institute’s training options here.