As a Realtor, one of your most important revenue sources over time are referrals. When you’ve worked with a buyer who has had a great experience, or someone has purchased one of your listings and the process was painless for them, you have an opportunity to further develop rapport that will ultimately lead to new referrals. Buyer follow-ups don’t have to be complicated, but they should keep your name top of mind.
Today, we bring you some of our top tips for choosing, distributing, and managing buyer follow-ups!
Ensure the initial follow-up is personal. This cannot be stressed enough. Real estate is a very personal business, especially when you’re dealing with residential buyers. For you, it’s a career, but for them, it’s a home, a lifetime of memories, a place to raise their families. So when you reach out with a personal phone call, email, or text (you should know the preferences of these folks by now) after closing, it should be friendly and upbeat. For example, ask them how they’re coming along with their move, or if they need you to bring by lunch while they’re moving. These little touches can make a huge difference.
Remember that the euphoria dies. When you’re doing your personal buyer follow-up, you may be confronted with things you absolutely don’t want to hear. For example, if you had the buyer, you may be told, flat out, that they made the wrong decision, or they hate the house, or they literally didn’t remember it looking like it does. This is heart-wrenching for many reasons, but it’s also a completely normal response. All the butterflies associated with shopping for a house have left, and all your buyer has now is the reality of the commitment they’ve made. It can be a lot all at once. Just remind them of the things they really liked about the place, and any improvements they had mentioned they wanted to make, and you may be able to kickstart the excitement all over again.
Create a recurring reminder of your service. Over time, your buyer will eventually start to think about selling their home. When that happens, you want to be the one they go back to, even if it’s a decade down the road. You can absolutely leave this to luck, but what works way better is to put them on some kind of mailing list. Email and texts work fine, but people have been known to change their phone numbers and throw emails into their trash without even looking at them. Paper mail works well for this kind of on-going follow-up, since they will at least have to look at your logo and name every time your mail arrives. It’s subtle, but a good way to keep yourself in their minds.
Make sure any follow-up mailers are useful. This may sound obvious, but it’s a common mistake when creating those recurring mailers. Too often, real estate agents lay themselves out like the most recent specials at the supermarket, rather than using their mailer to answer one simple question: “What’s in it for me?” When you can provide the homeowner with useful mailings on a regular basis, they’re far more likely to think of you as someone they can really trust to help them when they need to sell their home. Your mail doesn’t have to always be the same, for example, you could create an informational newsletter with articles about caring for a home and send that out eleven months a year, but on the 12th month, opt for a calendar for the coming year. Having your face on a magnet calendar on the fridge isn’t such a bad fate.
Remember that working your follow-ups is more than just a way to stay friendly, it’s a way to build your business longer term. It’s impossible to know when your former buyer may have a future client that needs a referral to an expert, so staying front of mind is vital to maximizing the cost of acquiring that first buyer.
Absolutely, you should be in the real estate business to help people find firm financial footing, but you can’t run a business on goodwill alone. You need more sales, and the best way to do that is to establish a strong stream of referrals. These people won’t need to be won over, they already know how great you are – and you don’t have to do a lot of advertising to keep them flowing if you’re working your buyer follow-ups properly!