Do you want your real estate clients to keep coming back to you again and again? Real estate agents need to employ good client retention practices, and the first rule of thumb is following up after a home sale. Never assume that the job is done after the sale – not if you want those clients to use your services again. Stay in touch. Follow up. Don’t let them forget you.
Buyers and sellers want to use the same agent for their next real estate transaction. According to NAR, 88% of buyers say they would use the same agent again.
So how do you make sure that they call you the next time they are moving? Communication. You need to keep yourself top of mind with your clients. That doesn’t mean you should email or call every day. Chances are they won’t use you again if you bombard them. Instead, aim to send them some sort of communication, be it by email, phone or mail, just a couple times a month.
If you want to ensure that your past clients don’t fall into someone else’s sphere of influence the next time they need to move, realize that the job isn’t over after you make the sale. There is an art to following up, but it’s not complicated. Here are the best strategies and practices for following up with your real estate clients.
1. Send Your Real Estate Clients a Survey After the Closing
Let your clients settle into their new home first. If you send them a follow-up the same week they move, chances are they will be too busy to give it any attention or respond to you. However, a quick five-question survey about three weeks after they move in is exactly what you want to do. This two-to-three-week time frame is the sweet spot because it gives your clients enough time to get comfortable in their new home so that a survey won’t seem like a chore. If you wait too long to reach out, a survey won’t seem as urgent anymore and they’ll be less likely to engage.
Include a personalized note at the top of the survey congratulating them and then ask for some feedback about how they thought the sale went and if they were satisfied with your service.
In most cases, your clients want to hear from you and will be happy to send you feedback.
2. Reach Out to Your Real Estate Clients on Their Birthdays and Anniversaries
Sending Christmas cards is a popular way for real estate agents to stay in touch with their clients. In fact, it’s a common practice for many businesses, so your card or flyer can easily get lost in the shuffle.
Be a little creative when it comes to mailers. Send a housewarming card and small gift. Send your past clients a card for their one-year anniversary in their home. No one else will remember that but you and them. You could do birthday cards and even pet birthday cards – anything with a little creativity that will set you apart from other business’s mailers is a good way to get their attention. Be sure to make everything you send personalized. Hand-write your cards, use their names instead of a generic, Dear valued customer, and try to put a personal anecdote in there if you can.
3. Be a Real Estate Resource to Your Clients
More than anything, people will come back to you if you position yourself as a resource to your clients. Be a one-stop shop for everything they need related to their home. Once they move in, be there to provide names of landscaping businesses, plumbers, electricians, roofers and more.
Follow up with something relevant to them every so often. You could send notices about home sales in their neighborhood, information about mortgage rates or new developments in their area such as a movie theater or mall. Your past clients will recognize your expertise and want to hire you again because of it. Also, being a resource of helpful information is much more effective than looking like a hungry salesperson. People see through that act. They want to feel like they are hiring an expert who also has their best interests in mind. So personalize everything and offer updates and advice.
4. Get Your Real Estate Contacts in Order – Otherwise Known as Your Sphere of Influence
You have no idea how many people you’re connected with who are moving or know someone who is moving until you get your sphere of influence organized. Your sphere of influence includes your friends, family, current and past clients, neighbors, and everyone you’re connected with on email and social media.
All of those categories combined leaves you with a huge pool of possible real estate customers. You should be reaching out to these people and making sure they know that you are not only a great agent but also a trusted resource for everything related to their home and moving.
5. Tons of Agents Are Utilizing Automated Real Estate Newsletters to Stay in Touch
You can stay in touch with your sphere of influence by sending out your very own automated email newsletter. Real estate email newsletters are one of the easiest and most effective ways of staying in touch with past and potential clients. Your newsletter can offer advice about buying a home, home improvement tips or information about your own listings.
An email newsletter is a soft approach to keeping in touch with your sphere of influence while offering them useful content about everything related to homes and moving. It’s also one of the best ways to position yourself as a real estate resource and stay top of mind with new and existing clients.
However, you will never be able to reach these individuals without organizing your sphere of influence.
A Real Estate Marketing Opportunity Awaits
Real estate agents are always on the move, so it is understandable that you might not have time to organize all the contacts you have in Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more. HomeActions provides a twice-monthly automated e-newsletter to everyone in your sphere of influence by doing the organization part on your behalf. The setup takes no more than 48 hours, and you will be delivered an alphabetical list, organized by where the contact came from (Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), which will be used to automatically send your contacts a newsletter chock-full of great content. Once you have an organized sphere of influence, you can use it however you see fit, such as for real estate farming purposes.
HomeActions offers a set-it-and-forget-it product that you know is delivering your contacts valuable content on your behalf. However, there are tons of options to customize the content as you see fit, and we encourage you to feature your current listings.
Visit HomeActions.net today to start connecting on a regular basis with your real estate contacts and improving your real estate business.
We all know that having a personal LinkedIn profile and one for your business is essential to your social media goals. But merely setting up profiles and forgetting they exists won’t help your efforts. There are some relatively simple things you can do to make your pages more interesting to your LinkedIn community.
First and foremost, you should ensure that your personal LinkedIn profile lists your business as your current employer. When people view your profile, your current employer is among the first few pieces of information displayed, making this an important connection back to your business page. Another step toward boosting engagement is increasing your connections. Having a solid following on your LinkedIn page will help you reach more potential clients; however, procuring these connections isn’t always intuitive.
Here are six strategies that will help you increase your professional connections.
1. Compose Daily Status Updates
Being active on LinkedIn as a whole will help to increase your connections. The best way to stay present is to make sure you post at least one status update every day. This tip holds true for both personal and business pages. But don’t post just any old thing, share a link about something relevant to your business, industry or community. Having a consistent presence on LinkedIn will give users an opportunity to stay updated on your business, and relevant posts give your followers a reason to visit your page in general.
2. Send a Personalized Message to Connect Once a Day
There are two steps to this tip. First, make sure you’re reaching out to potential connections that are personally known to you or with whom you have a friend or colleague in common. A good place to start is by utilizing LinkedIn’s “Alumni” feature, where you can find fellow LinkedIn users that share your alma mater. Once you find a familiar individual you’d like to connect with, write them a personalized message to connect. Ditch the automated message that LinkedIn provides and write something that the other person knows you wrote specifically for them. Writing your own message increases the likelihood that they will accept your invitation.
3. Utilize LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform
LinkedIn’s publishing platform is a great way for you to position yourself in front of a wider audience. This tool allows you to post long-form posts, creating a string of three posts and accompanying images. These posts will be available to the entire LinkedIn audience and will appear on your profile under the “Posts” section. Not only will you have the ability to create professional looking long-form posts, but the reach of these posts is not limited to only your connections, giving every LinkedIn user the opportunity to discover your posts. You can also customize your own “about us” blurbs as the closing of your personal posts and link them back to your business profile.
4. Join Groups and Participate in Discussions
A great way to stay active in the LinkedIn community is to join groups that are relevant to your industry niche or philanthropic involvement. Pick a minimum of three groups, and stay active on a weekly basis. Membership in LinkedIn’s groups will help you to discover potential new prospects or referral sources. Furthermore, you should also make sure that you have a strong presence on these group pages. Try participating in group discussions or even initiating conversations on the page.
5. Comment on Your Connections’ Updates
A really simple way to garner more connections and nurture your existing professional relationships is to simply show interest in the people you are connected to on LinkedIn. If one of your connections posts a new job, comment to say congratulations. You can also respond to links they post or like their status updates. Displaying your interest in your connections’ professional achievements will brand you as a valuable member and make others want to connect with you.
6. Endorse Others
Endorse others for the skills that you admire. This is another way to increase your credibility, build relationships and demonstrate the value you add as a connection. In order to gain new followers, you should have a track record of being an asset to your current connections. When others endorse you, send them a personal message to thank them.
All of these tips will assist you in attracting more people to your personal and business LinkedIn pages and give you more opportunities to increase connections. Having an active presence is the key to success.
Look for our next post, which will go in depth on the type of posts you should be sharing, breaking down exactly which ingredients create the most effective posts.
You need captivating images on your business’ website, blog or email newsletter, but like most of us, you’re not a professional photographer. Without visuals, it’s hard for readers to quickly gather a visual understanding of your content. But don’t fret! There are countless places on the web to get cheap, or even free, stock images to accompany your marketing content.
Here is our roundup of the 4 best websites for freebie stock images.
Free Images is exactly as it sounds. The site houses thousands of free images for you to download and use in your email marketing, on your website or blog, or in social media. All that is required is that you create an account. From there, you have access to their diverse range of quality images. You can search for images by typing a basic keyword search, or you can make use of the “Tags” tab, which takes you to a page full of commonly used words like “Business” or “Finance” that will direct you to images associated with those keywords.
This site has some very impressive first-rate photos. Search for the type of image you need and click on the image you like. Then you can download images in a variety of sizes: original, large, medium, small, or you can choose the “custom” option and input your own dimensions. One feature unique to Pexels is their own Photoshop Plugin Subscription. It isn’t free, but it is super cheap at only $4 a month or $2 a month if you pay annually.
Pixabay is another site with totally free images for you to use. Sign up with your email to start downloading images in a variety of sizes. Pixabay offers many high-quality photos as well as a large database of illustrations and vectors. If you’re only interested in illustrated images or vectors, you can click to browse only these types of images. You can also choose to explore “Editor’s Choice,” which offers the most sophisticated and quality photos. Furthermore, if you find several images that you like by the same photographer, you can choose to browse images only by this artist.
The selection on this site isn’t as varied as the others, but this is a very aesthetically pleasing site full of dramatic images. The images are big and the overall layout of Unspslash is very simple and elegant, giving you the opportunity to browse their beautiful database of images with ease. Downloading is so simple that you barely notice it. If you like an image, just click the download button in the bottom right corner of the photo and the image instantly pops up on a separate page. The site has an incredibly user-friendly download process, but it requires that you resize the image on your own if you need different dimensions. If that’s the case, just save the image in Paint (or another image editor) and change the dimensions to your liking. Make sure you take a look at Unsplash’s “Collections” tab where you can peruse photos from categories.
Other Image & Design Resources
Once you have all these great photos in your inventory, take it one step further by checking out ways to edit those images and create new, original graphics. Sites like Canva.com and Befunky.com offer free design tools to edit images and create things like newsletter mastheads, invitations, collages, social media images and more. Stay tuned for my next post to get even more tips on how to utilize these free graphic design sites and create show-stopping images for your marketing projects.
HomeActions and its IndustryNewsletters division announce Version 3 of their exclusive e-newsletter product, putting it on the cutting edge of the e-newsletter industry. The companies provide professionally written articles and a system that lets a range of professionals send out e-newsletters to clients and prospects. They primarily serve real estate professionals, payroll companies, accounting firms and estate planning attorneys.
With Version 3, the newsletter system becomes even more customizable and user-friendly. Among the improvements:
- A more contemporary look for the user interface, and a better design for tablets and smartphones.
- A cleaner and more functional client dashboard that shows readership stats at a glance.
- A completely revamped image system that lets users choose among three different sizes of images to put into their newsletters.
- A smoother, more intuitive system to allow users to add their own content to company-provided content.
- The ability to easily remove company-provided content and replace it with an article from extensive article libraries available to users.
- The addition of a completely new Web banner library so users can easily find and post banners to make their newsletters even more useful.
And as always, help is just a click away. The system comes with an easy-to-use, automated help feature that lets users follow along step by step as the tool gives interactive answers to questions.
Barry J. Friedman, CEO of HomeActions, LLC
Barry Friedman, CPA, founder and CEO of HomeActions and IndustryNewsletters, said, “Our clients are busy and successful professionals, and they want a system that lets them communicate with their clients with perfect ease while providing sophisticated options — without any hassle. That has always been our goal, and with Version 3 our system is even better than ever.”
About HomeActions and IndustryNewsletters
IndustryNewsletters and HomeActions were founded by Barry Friedman, CPA, who managed many CPA firms for over 25 years and subsequently sold them to American Express. He then created BizActions LLC, which became the largest marketing e-newsletter company for CPA firms and payroll companies, and he sold that to Thomson Reuters in 2012. He has over 15 years’ experience in the email newsletter space.
HomeActions and IndustryNewsletters are virtual companies that employ more than 30 people. Both are headquartered in Green Cove Springs, Florida.
For more information, please visit our websites, HomeActions.net and IndustryNewsletters.com, or contact Richard J. Koreto, chief content officer, at 845-642-4314 or Email.
An estimated 30,000 residents have fled their homes, and the western area wildfires have consumed over 1,000 residences. Many of these homeowners are now trying to piece together their possessions, bit by bit. It is estimated that nine out of 10 consumers who lost their homes did not have a current home inventory of all their possessions and home improvements. HomeActions President Albert Clark commented, “The loss of one’s home is traumatic enough, but now they have to go through the process of filling out insurance papers on what was destroyed, what it cost and where it was all purchased. The stage is set for lots of under-reporting and smaller insurance claims.”
Homeowners outside the disaster areas can learn from this tragedy and construct an entire home inventory of all contents and the physical structure. Homeowners and renters should be prepared for any type of home disaster, flood, fire or burglary.
HomeActions and Agents: Delivering the Message. HomeActions has uncovered the best-in-class (and free) home inventory system provided by the nonprofit Insurance Information Institute (III.org). Agents are promoting the home inventory resource in their biweekly HomeActions e-Newsletter that goes out to all the agents’ past clients, prospects and friends.
HomeActions provides real estate agents with an end-to-end e-prospecting system. It involves building the agent’s database into a pipeline that is nurtured and protected (exclusive). HomeActions does it all for the agent who lacks the time, the systems and the engaging content. HomeActions currently delivers 4.2 million highly branded newsletters every month.
- A Business Solutions Provider with the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.
- A Business Benefits Program Member with Century 21 Real Estate.
- A Business Advantage Program Member with Coldwell Banker Real Estate.
- A Select Services Member with ERA Real Estate. An Approved Supplier with Better Home and Gardens Real Estate.
HomeActions is headquartered in Green Cove Springs, Florida. For more information, please visit our website, www.HomeActions.net, or contact Richard J. Koreto, Chief Content Officer, at 845-642-4314 or through email. You can also contact Albert Clark, HomeActions President, at 570-510-3507 or through email.
Copyright (C) 2015 PR Newswire. All rights reserved
The Digital Marketing Zscore (DMZ) is included in the latest update of HomeActions e-prospecting system and soon, this data will be automatically delivered to you on a regular basis. Using HomeActions DMZ, agents and management can compare the engagement their HomeActions email newsletters are creating with prospects in their sphere of influence to the results seen by other agents using HomeActions.
“The insight delivered by DMZ is unprecedented in real estate content marketing,” says HomeActions CEO Barry Friedman. “It provides real-time data about the effectiveness of the agent’s e-marketing.”
The DMZ measures:
- Active Members
- Click Rates
- Open Rates
- Transaction Readiness Triggers
- Survey Responses
“Agents can see how they stack up against other agents in their office and agents in other offices in their brand,” explains HomeActions Senior Vice President of Marketing Lee Sowers. “By knowing the areas where you excel and where you fall down, you can improve your digital marketing. You know where you need to focus to bring yourself up to where other agents are.”
HomeActions members who want to improve their DMZ have access to white papers, webinars and support professionals who can help them adjust their digital marketing plans.
The DMZ gives office managers, regional managers and brand managers a powerful snapshot showing how effectively agents are engaging their sphere of influence. Managers can then offer support to agents who need assistance upgrading their digital marketing strategies to better target their desired customer base.
Were you able to get a new listing or sale as a result of using your HomeActions newsletter? Has HomeActions helped to move your business forward?
Share your success with us and we’ll enter you in a drawing to win a $ 50 VISA gift card.
Send your stories to: email@example.com and tell us how you have benefited from using the power of HomeActions. We’ll announce the winner on Nov. 30 on our client dashboard page as well as notify the winner directly by email.
As a Realtor, your job is to interpret the real estate market for clients. Should your interpretation include commenting on politicians’ attempts to influence and regulate homeownership? Or should you just keep your mouth shut and hope your clients’ political yard signs aren’t blocking your for sale sign?
I believe that when you do it right, talking about politics can position you as an informative commentator. Done wrong, it can alienate your client base.
Here’s a simple two-question test that tells you which political issues will help improve your reputation and which will cost you customers:
1. Does the issue influence my clients’ home value or their ability to buy or sell property?
2. Is NAR’s position on the issue one that benefits my clients, too?
If you answer “no” to ether question, it’s not a good issue for your communications with homeowners. An issue is only appropriate to discuss with clients if it’s directly related to real estate. When an issue benefits Realtors but not homeowners, you’re wise to avoid the topic, too.
If you can answer “yes” to both those questions, the political issue is one you should be talking about to your client base. It benefits them to know about it and it benefits your industry as well.
Political Topics Garner Clicks
That was the case with one of the most-read articles among the nearly 3 million newsletters HomeActions sent out last month. House Democrat Wants Big Changes In Credit Reporting explored changes in credit reporting proposed by California’s Rep. Maxine Waters. If it passes, the bill would likely make it easier to get a home loan, creating more potential homebuyers. That’s a win for homebuyers, home sellers and Realtors.
The key to covering politics without offending anyone is to write about the bill rather than partisan politics. You’ll know you’ve done a good job at that when you get comments back from people who agree and from people who disagree with the proposal, but no comments from people criticizing you for supporting or opposing the bill.
You’ll Get Comments
Here are some examples – real comments from viewers who had something to say about Maxine Waters’ attempts to change the way credit reporting works:
There were homeowners who applauded the bill: Current system is unfair to all citizens! What she is proposing is very fair, because items in the Credit Bureaus are one person’s opinion, not the truth!!
There were homeowners who think it’s a bad bill: She basically wants to hide bad credit. Did we not learn from the 2008 meltdown? We should not lend to those who can’t or won’t make the payments!!!
And there were people who think there are more adept politicians than Rep. Waters: Maxine Waters is an idiot… and would put us back in recession to get reelected.
But the most telling comment (and the one you want to see come back to you when you write about political issues) is this one: Thank you for gathering this information for us.
While thousands of homeowners read that feature, not a single comment came back criticizing our Realtor clients for supporting or opposing the Waters bill. Because the coverage did neither. It simply outlined what Rep. Waters wants to do to change credit reporting.
When you write about politics, you’ll almost always get people fired up. The key is getting them fired up about the issue (or the politician) rather than fired up about your personal political views. Stick to the facts and let your clients form their own opinions and you’ll always be seen as an expert in all things home-ownership.
If Zillow does manage to close its acquisition of Trulia, the combined entity will be spending millions to compete with you for consumer mind-share.
The two real estate websites share a common goal – using your listing and real estate articles to gather consumer leads and then selling those leads back to you.
If you don’t want to buy back your own leads, you have to beat Zillia at its own game.
Agents and brokers already have the tools to win the game. You likely have a sizable sphere of influence because you worked hard to build a customer network. You have clients’ contact information. And you know more about the local real estate market than Zillia’s entire editorial staff.
I know this is true because HomeActions thousands of clients have enrolled 1.4 million of their homeowners and prospects into our database. Every two weeks, we’re sending a relationship-building newsletter that builds a defensible pipeline full of past clients and prospects.
By sending out regular, relevant content, HomeActions clients are nurturing, growing and insulating their most valuable asset: Their database!
The acquisition should be a wake-up call for agents and brokers who aren’t leveraging the contact information they collect — other than storing it on their smart phones and in their email, social media and MLS accounts.
You have to defend your customers by moving that contact information into one spot and then nurturing those relationships. We know a lot of folks have trouble with this task. Many of our clients have us do this for them instead of doing it themselves (although a cynic would argue that they let us do it because we don’t charge for that service).
While we help with this process, you never relinquish control over your contacts and we promise never to contact them or sell to them. If you have a company help you manage your contacts and marketing communications, be sure you’re not turning over control of your contacts in the process.
Real estate is a relationship business. It always has been and we don’t think that axiom is going anywhere. The brokers and agents we work with agree that 95 percent of everyone they know will not be on their websites this year. Why? So few are engaged in a real estate transaction.
Homeownership, yes. Buying or selling a home, not so much or so often.
Zillia’s potential as an aggregator of consumer allegiance can chip away at your “relationship” capital only if you fail to stay in touch.
Delivering a steady stream of homeownership-related information portrays you as a trusted adviser, (and a live one at that) and regardless of where they see listings, your clients will think of you first when they’re ready to buy or sell a home.
A year-round steady flow of customers is the Holy Grail of real estate. Without it, you end up staggering from deal to deal praying you’re going to meet your monthly goals.
Is your business where you want it to be?
These are nine reasons why prospecting may not be working for you:
1. You think prospecting is something you’re supposed to do when you don’t have listings to sell or buyers to show homes to.
Prospecting isn’t something that takes time away from listing and selling, it’s what you have to do to get listings and showings. Skimp on marketing and you won’t have a pipeline of deals to work on next month.
Marketing should go out consistently and automatically.
2. Failure to properly identify prospects.
10 percent of your contacts are actively selling or buying. 90 percent are still prospects because they may know someone who’s looking to buy or sell.
Stay in front of your former clients. Make it easy for them to find you when they’re ready to do another real estate transaction.
3. Boring them with advice about buying and selling homes.
Unless your marketing is going directly to potential first-time home-buyers, stay away from sharing home buying advice. The 90 percent of your client base that isn’t actively involved in a transaction doesn’t need home selling and home buying tips.
Compelling content speaks to homeowners.
4. Not prospecting enough.
How much contact is too much? We know from our customer-focus research on email marketing that once a month is not enough and once a week is too much.
Once every two weeks is enough to keep you top-of-mind without being annoying.
5. Marketing via snail mail.
The Internet, not the mailbox, is the starting point for today’s home shoppers. Using snail-mail makes you look old-school.
Reach prospects where they are with online communication via newsletters, emails, web links and webinars.
6. Networking only in the virtual world and not in the real world.
It’s important to take every opportunity to network in person.
Go to Chamber of Commerce breakfasts, do a booth at local fairs and festivals and teach an adult education class for first-time home-buyers or investors.
7. Keeping your business cards in your pocket or your desk drawer.
If you’re not giving away 100 business cards a week, you’re not working hard enough on prospecting. When you give people your card, they often give you theirs and it’s going to have an email address on it. When you exchange cards, mention that you have a newsletter about home ownership that you’ll send them.
8. Thinking a lead service or a free email marketing newsletter will do it all for you.
A lead service or a free email marketing newsletter won’t do all your prospecting for you. Any number of services sell lead information about expired listings, people who’ve inquired about foreclosures or online home shoppers.
Those lists can be out of date, of questionable quality, and in the case of email newsletters from places like Lowe’s, available to every agent in America.
To differentiate yourself, you need exclusive marketing lists and quality newsletter content.
9. Taking shortcuts to build your contact database.
The best email contacts are the ones you gather yourself one potential client at a time.
Building year-round deal flow doesn’t have to be hard, but it does take consistent effort. To fill your deal pipeline:
- Build a database filled with people who know you.
- Form partnerships with companies who can help you share exclusive content that highlights your real estate expertise.
- Get out in the community to raise your visibility.
Lee Sowers, Sales and Marketing SVP of HomeActions, helps Realtors® enhance their prospecting and build relationships to increase sales. Sowers knows what it takes to successfully market to commercial and residential real estate customers.