Resolve To Follow Up In 2008
When I first automated my real estate business, my goal was to increase my touches with my clients while decreasing the amount of work it took to accomplish it. Simply put, I wanted to build my relationships with my clients without compromising my free time, since it can be a daunting task to stay in close contact with a long list of clients.
You see, my overall motivating purpose in life is to spend more time with my wife and children, not spend more time in my real estate business. I needed to have systems in place so I could enjoy the lifestyle of a high income earner without being married to my business! Does anyone else feel this way? You want to make a ton of money, but you don't really want to work that hard?
Let me share with you a couple of strategies and technologies that have helped me and many others accomplish those conflicting goals...
First you must have a very good real estate specific database (client relationship manager or CRM.) I talked about CRM's in my last blog. Check it out at http://verlworkman.realblogging.com to get my recommendation. The next principle is key and very effective: make sure everyone in your database is on some kind of a plan or follow up system. Now, using that concept, here are a few of the high touches I recommend and the products that will help you accomplish them:
- Send a follow-up letter/thank you card after every meeting, listing appointment, closing, buyer's day out, etc. Use Beson's Letter Writer series, Agent Office, The Marketing Library, Top Producer or Respond for Outlook.
- 7 years of follow-up. We know that people move every 5 to 7 years, so I recommend a 7 year follow up system that automatically touches each of your past clients for the next 7 years. The leading product, and the one I use, is Dave Beson's LetterWriter which can be installed into your Top Producer, Agent Office or Respond for Outlook or even just Microsoft Word. Tip: If you are going back to launch the plan, set it on the actual closing date and delete all activities up to today's date. This will make your anniversary letters correct. (I promise nobody will call and ask where the first few letters are.)
- Monthly postcard or letter (Don't create your own.) Instead consider this great resource: www.postalrealtor.com
- Birthday cards or calls "Many web sites offer free e-cards and my favorites include: www.dgreetings.com, www.Hallmark.com , www.bluemountain.com.
- Anniversary of their home purchase "use Top Producer, Agent Office, Respond for Outlook, Beson's Letters or one of the companies listed in item 3.
- Wedding anniversary "My strategy is to call the husband 2 weeks prior and "remind" him! Believe me, he will be grateful for that call, especially if you can give him a couple suggestions for a new restaurant in his area to go to or any other great ideas you might have (you can say something like, "I took my wife to this great B &B last year for our anniversary "she loved it!")
- Holiday greetings "I prefer sending Thanksgiving cards rather than Christmas cards, because fewer people send them. That way your message won't get lost in the crowd. Many agents do both. And you can also send cards at other holidays as well. If you have clients with family in the military, for example, a card at Memorial Day or Veterans Day would be appropriate.
- Special event ideas "Look through the different tools and options built into your CRM like Top Producer, Agent Office, Respond for Outlook.
- Buyers looking for homes like theirs (present and future home needs) "use Top Producer, Agent Office, and Respond for Outlook to match the needs versus your inventory. (This activity will help you get on both sides of more transaction)
- Four to six voice touches per year with every contact. This may seem overwhelming but just make it a quick phone call to say hello and see how they are enjoying their home, etc. Make sure you schedule the next contact after completing each call; this will ensure that no one falls through the cracks.
- Send them business. It's the “winning by giving” principle. Give one outbound referral each week from your business. This should go to a business owner where you have recently moved a family like the local dry cleaner, the area veterinarian, or nearby restaurants. This simple high touch principle will be responsible for a significant increase in your referral business
- Geographic farm "Pick an area and work it forever. Send Just Listed, Sold, Reduced, Open house, your new neighbor, and area stats to these people. Be the area expert!
High touches are not difficult to execute on if you have the proper systems in place, the hard part is getting started. I suggest the following steps:
First, get your real estate specific contact manager up and working with all your clients in it. It is more important that you do the right thing here than it is that you do it perfectly. We can work on perfecting things as we go. Many people say that the Beson's letters (for example) don't "sound" like them and they don't want to send them. But how much better is it to send something that doesn't sound like you than to send nothing at all? (And don't forget that they are all editable.)
Next, purchase some good high touch systems that are automated and simple to use, I have suggested several but there are many more I have not talked about.
If you are using an unusually effective high touch system that I have not mentioned, please share your comments with others on this blog!
By automating your client contact you'll make business flow like never before and have that freedom you've been seeking to spend time with the ones you love!
Enjoy implementing your technology at a higher level.