Throughout your real estate career you’ll work with many clients on the buying and selling side. After helping clients sell or buy a home, some agents shake their hands, wish them luck, and both parties go their separate ways. But while these individuals no longer need your services, there are reasons to keep in contact with past real estate clients.
So before you delete their contact information, here’s why you should stay in contact, and the best ways to do so.
You’ll have repeat customers every few years
Some homebuyers purchase a home and eventually pay off their mortgages. But on average, homeowners sell and move about every five to seven years. Therefore, the clients who purchase a property from you today will likely re-enter the housing market in less than a decade. If they had a positive experience working with you, there's an opportunity to work with them again.
But don't assume past clients will automatically think of you when they’re ready to sell their current homes and buy another one. A lot can happen in the years in between. Once you're no longer in close communication, the relationship becomes out of sight, out of mind.
Regardless of whether you were professional and performed beyond their expectations, some past clients will simply choose another agent. The reasons vary, but can include losing your contact information and forgetting your last name, or they hesitate calling because they’re not sure if you’re still in the business. Either way, losing contact with past clients can mean missing out on repeat business. You want to keep your name in their minds so you're the first person they think of when it’s time to sell and purchase again.
They can provide referral business
Chances are your past clients will know someone buying or selling a property. One good thing about staying in contact is that even when your clients don’t need your help, they can refer a friend, relative, neighbor or coworker who needs the assistance of a real estate agent.
If your past clients were to refer two people, and then these two people referred another two people, the cycle could continue resulting in a strong client list based on word of mouth. This along with your other marketing strategies can help you maintain consistent clients and income.
What are ways to keep in contact with past clients?
- Home anniversary cards or holiday cards. You shouldn’t harass past clients, but you should stay in touch at least once or twice a year to keep your name on their minds. You can send an anniversary card on the anniversary of their purchase date, as well as a holiday card around Christmas or the New Year. Wish them well and let them know you're available to discuss their changing real estate needs. This is an excellent idea because situations can change from year to year. A new baby and even a divorce can move a client to sell or buy another property. Timing is everything.
- Email marketing lists. If you have an email marketing list, invite past clients to subscribe. Don’t send marketing information without their permission. Since your past clients are already homeowners, make sure your content appeals to their needs. They might not have an interest in learning about home buying tips or mortgage options, but they’ll likely appreciate information focusing on home decor, home improvement or general finance tips. When past clients receive your newsletters on a regular basis, it’ll be as if you never lost touch.
- Direct mail postcards. Because the average homeowner moves about every five to seven years, keep a record of when previous clients purchased their homes. As they approach the four, five, six, or seven-year mark, send a postcard or letter offering to help them find their next property. Some will call if they're thinking about moving and use you instead of contacting a different realtor.
- Connect on social media. Another way to keep in contact with past clients is to connect on social media. Whether you use Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, you can friend or follow each other. Whenever you post something from your accounts, past clients will receive your notifications and status updates. Although you don’t talk on a daily basis, they’ll occasionally see your name in their newsfeed and remember you when they’re ready to purchase again, or when a friend needs a realtor.