In my last 6 years of working with real estate pros, I can tell you without a doubt that the single biggest missed opportunity I see is not following up regularly with past clients.
And the most common reason I’ve seen agents fail at this is that they try to overcomplicate it.
It’s like anything in your life. Whether it’s eating healthy, going to the gym or keeping your stuff organized, the more complicated and ‘optimized’ you try to make it, the harder it is to do the most important part – execute.
So in the interest of a heavy lean towards execution, let’s look at the simplest thing you can start doing TODAY to start build a steady stream of referrals.
There are 2 key components to building a past client and sphere follow up process that drives huge referrals your way:
- Add unique value as a Realtor
- Stay consistent
Let’s start with the value exchange.
Jeff Bezos has been quoted a number of times talking about how they focus almost exclusively on the things that will never change in their business. Things that 10 years from now, Amazon customers will continue to value.
He uses the example of asking “Will Amazon customers ever want their orders to arrive slower?”. And so for them, any investment made into increasing the speed to which they can get your orders in your hands is one that will pay dividends over the long term.
The challenge I often see with how agents and teams are keeping in touch with their past clients and sphere is that they seem to be asking a different question. One that sounds a little more like “How can I just automate past client follow up so I don’t have to do anything and can get a ton of referrals?”.
If instead we asked questions based on what our clients would truly value from us based on our unique expertise as Realtors like “Will my past clients ever want less information about how the value of their home is changing over time?” you can start to see how with a bit of dedicated effort, your past client follow up strategy can deliver huge value for them, which will inevitably send more business your way.
Now let’s talk about consistency.
I see people trying to do a lot of complicated stuff to follow up with their past clients. They tackle strategies like:
- Trying to remember their birthdays or anniversaries
- Doing recurring, templated drip emails and texts
- Monthly ‘newsletters’ with things like recipes or gardening tips
- Big events
Now while these strategies can certainly have their place, and if you’re already doing some of them and they’re working well for you, I’m certainly not telling you to stop, but what I’m saying is that buying a bunch of new products to execute on this stuff and then all the setup and stress that goes into getting them running is just going to push you further away from getting the outcome you want.
And as with anything, the more complicated or fancy you try to get with this, the higher the likelihood you find yourself 6 months from now having just stopped everything and are now back to where you started.
So to help you build a process that you’ll stick to for the long term (which is the only term that matters when it comes to past clients), I’m going to give you 3 different strategies that you can layer one on top of the other once you’ve mastered the one before.
The first thing EVERYONE should be doing is calling your past clients or sphere 2-4 times per year.
The biggest pushback I hear about this is wondering what you should say when you reach out so let me walk you through just one of a number of potential options you have to reach out to clients consistently and add value to them every single time.
The simplest approach I’ve seen is to call anyone on your list (which means this can work if you’ve got a brand new agent joining the team or a 25 year veteran of the industry) and simply ask them if they’d like a free, no obligations update to their home value so they can get a better understanding of where they sit based on current market conditions and also get tailored advice on what they could be doing to improve that value.
If this is a home you’ve sold for them in the past, you can probably do this by collecting some additional info over the phone on any improvements they’ve made and then just prepare the CMA and send it to them.
In cases where this is someone from your sphere who you haven’t worked with yet and you want to create a baseline, you can discuss setting up a time for a quick walkthrough so you can do a proper assessment which will enable you to keep track and update them more easily going forward.
This approach combines your unique value as a Realtor, with offering highly valuable information to the folks in your sphere, and in addition, is simple to execute consistently as part of your regular follow up. We also make it really easy to stay on top of which people you should be calling next using Smart Lists in Follow Up Boss.
This strategy alone could be worth millions in commissions to your business over the next few years.
Here’s how to set it up in Follow Up Boss:
All you need is 2 filters. Last Communication set to ‘more than 90 days ago’ and stage is Closed or Sphere
Then just save this list – call it whatever you want – and now you’ll have a list that automatically updates to show you only the clients you haven’t chatted with in a while. Ones you’re more naturally in regular communication with won’t show up so you’re really prioritizing the ones slipping through the cracks.
Bonus points here if you’re using the integrated calling feature, because you can use the ‘Call Lists’ option to just select everyone on this list and start dialing.
And that’s it! Take this simple new approach for a spin and show your database some love!