Most homeowners would be glad to work with their real estate agent again — but they never do.
It's true. The average homeowner will own three or four properties in a lifetime, with most purchases spaced out between three and seven years. But even when they are thrilled with the service their real estate agent offered, they often end up using a different one for every transaction.
How can this be?
Some of the reasons are purely logistical. If someone is moving across the country, odds are they connect with a real estate agent in their desired area as one of their first steps. But there is a bigger reason: traditional real estate marketing is focused on customer acquisition, not retention.
Customer acquisition can be an all-consuming part of any real estate agent's first year on the job.
After that, it's important to start building referral business. This means you can spend less time going after that next client and more time building the long-term assets you need for the kind of firm you really want. In the long run, retention is easier than acquisition, which can cost 25x more.
Long-term engagement is the key. And it can start with the clients you have right now.
Long-Term Engagement Turns Customers into Allies for the Life of Your Business
According to research from 2018, real estate agents are among the least trusted professions in America.
In fact, only 11% of respondents consider real estate agents trustworthy, placing them above only politicians and car salespeople. Responses varied by region, with those out west feeling most suspicion of the profession.
That's bad news, of course. But it means that when someone finds a real estate agent they trust, they don't really want to start over again from scratch. By recognizing and working with that reality, you can create lasting loyalty. That, in turn, has the potential to multiply the value of every customer relationship you hold.
Getting more transactions from a single customer is an obvious example. You could double or triple lifetime value from your customers if they keep coming back to you every time they're ready to buy a new property. But that's not all: you can also get dozens of referrals from each customer over the lifetime of your practice. From that perspective, having even a handful of strong relationships could drive your revenue goals for years.
After all, long before you have the opportunity to meet a client-in-waiting, that same person is expressing their desire to buy a home. . . to their family, their friends, and to just about everyone they know other than you.
Referral business is a hot ticket, letting you be the very first real estate agent to talk to any buyer or seller. That positions you to build trust and continue the cycle, helping more people while growing your business.
Set the Stage for Long-Term Engagement with Digital Marketing and Smart Follow-Up
Real estate digital marketing becomes easier than ever when you adopt the right technology. Good technology doesn't get in the way of relationships; it makes them easier — allowing you to check in with people in helpful, meaningful ways without wasting lots of time on data entry.
Here's how you can strengthen client relationships into real bonds of trust:
Contact us to learn more about how digital marketing fuels better relationships.
An important transformation takes place in the career of any real estate sales agent around their third year in the industry.
The first year is all about learning the ropes, and the second helps you focus on discovering your niche – both what you enjoy doing and who your ideal customers are. During those early years, you may find yourself putting in extra hours and spending lots of effort building a successful referral business.
From there, as your business continues to grow, it's often easy for agents to fall into a pattern of "chasing down" new leads.
To an extent, this makes sense. And it works for a while. After all, you need time to find yourself and define what your brand is all about. You won't be able to go after what you want with laser focus until you can decide what it is you actually want. While others can advise you, nobody can choose for you.
Soon enough, though, it's time to change how you approach lead generation.
• Instead of chasing leads, you need to establish ways to entice them to come directly to you
• Instead of a single transaction, you should build lead relationships to provide recurring value
Luckily, you can achieve both goals by consistently using the proper communication techniques. At its heart, expanding any business relationship comes from following up diligently and adding value consistently. The right real estate marketing automation technology makes this easier, like the features in the DeltaNET®, even with a busy schedule.
This transformation is essential for scaling and growing your business.
As you build a reputation in your community, you'll come into contact with more people who can benefit from your expertise. At some point, creating the business you want means shifting from quantity of relationships to quality. If you stay on the offensive, always chasing more, you may burn out.
Deepen or rekindle your existing relationships, however, and you'll always have opportunities to pursue.
Who Counts as an Old Lead?
Old leads come in two flavors:
• Those who became customers and had a successful transaction in
• Those who showed promise but didn't commit and dropped off your radar
Remember, just because a lead fades from the spotlight, it doesn't mean he or she rejected you. On the contrary, many leads talk themselves out of taking action because of changing conditions in the market. It's no reflection on you, but you still have the power to make a difference in what happens next.
If you're using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, like DeltaNET® 6, it's very easy to see where leads stand.
At a glance, you'll be able to see precisely where you first connected with your leads, the whole history of your interactions, and what their status was the last time you were in contact. This can give you the insight you need to choose the right timing and tactics for getting in touch.
In an ideal world, real estate pros would have the time and energy to follow up with every lapsed lead, to see if they have any ongoing needs, and check for the possibility of referrals. With a limited pool of focus every day, though, it's a good idea to optimize the process. There are two elements to that:
• Making sure you prioritize the leads most likely to generate real business value
• Using the correct follow-up techniques to match with their communication style
Seven Ideas for Reconnecting with Old Real Estate Leads
Let's look at some of the best methods for getting old leads back into the game:
• Develop (or Revisit) Your Customer Persona
Who is your ideal customer? Buyer or seller? What are their biggest challenges? What hopes and dreams drive them into the real estate market, and what holds them back? Focusing on your ideal customers has advantages for both of you: You'll each enjoy a longer, more beneficial relationship with fewer issues along the way. Once you define your perfect customer, look over your old leads to identify the closest matches, then reach out.
• Put Your Brand Promise into Words
A "brand promise" is a single, concise statement of what sets you apart from the rest. It's the central experience you strive to deliver to everybody who chooses you. By crystallizing your goals this way, you are putting your unique skills and values into action – and doing so in a way that's easy to remember and act on. "I make the home-buying process simple and stress-free for first-time buyers" is one example. What's yours?
• Forward Useful Blog Posts to Your Leads
Once you know precisely what leads are out there and who your brand promise might resonate with, it's time to get in touch. Adding value is the secret to positioning yourself as a trusted advisor, even when it takes weeks or months for leads to dive in. Don't just send a message to "see how they're doing" – link a relevant post from your blog with a re- minder about a past conversation, then ask if their needs have changed. Delta's My Customer for Life emails are a great way to accomplish all of this with just a few clicks.
• Use a Follow-Up Email Message
One of the best ways to manage a large number of old leads is to get them onto the right segment of your email list. A segment is a list-within-a-list whose members receive exclusive content. Most real estate agents have a segment for leads, one for current customers, and one for past customers. However, nothing is stopping you from writing a personal message to catch up with your missing leads any time you wish.
• Ping Your Leads on Social Media
If your leads follow you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or even Twitter, you have an immediate "in" by sending them a direct message. Leads usually don't leave their DMs untouched, so you're likely to get a reply within 24 hours as long as they are still active on the platform. It can be a good idea to set your notifications so you can respond to their answer as soon as possible, potentially starting a 1-on-1 conversation.
• Check Up on Expired and FSBO Listings
Sadly, sellers who decide to strike out on their own usually wait longer for success and earn less money. If one of your leads went down this path, check up on expired and "For Sale By Owner" listings to see how they did. After the stress and disappointment of the DIY method, they are much more likely to take your expertise seriously. The sooner you can get them re-listed with appropriate guidance, the better!
• Ask Questions with Text Messaging
Did your leads opt into text messaging? Text offers you an even more intimate (and much faster!) way of communicating than email or social media. You'll be sur- prised how quickly lapsed leads you haven't heard from in months might pop out of the woodwork with a text message as simple as "Hi [Name], are you still looking for a home in Walnut Creek?" Since they only take seconds, many brokerages use SMS texts as a first option.
No matter what methods you decide to use, following up is the name of the game in real estate. Backed by the right real estate marketing technology, you can cover more ground and capture more business from contacts who might otherwise slip through the cracks. With these tips and a good CRM, you are on your way.