“Some agents just assume that clients will use you again because they liked you during the transaction. People have so much going on in their lives, they may just forget your relationship. For Realtors®, not having a follow-up plan is the biggest mistake,” said Neill.
Neill said she has a five-year post-closing plan with her clients. “There is much valuable information you can put out there, to be a resource or continue to be a resource. Referrals will come if they see you as a valuable and trusted professional in your life.”
So, where do you begin?
“I think that we spend a lot of time on social media, but are not very intentional or strategic about it,” said Neill.
Neill said that Realtors should be using social media to get a glimpse into clients’ lives. “It’s more than liking or commenting on a post,” she said. “If you can take that information from your clients, if they announce a baby on the way or a graduation, make that an opportunity to take it a step further. It’s an excuse for you to reach out to them.”
“We’re uncomfortable interrupting peoples lives with a phone call,” she added. “But what if it’s not about real estate? Pick up the phone with a purpose.”
Neill also recommends sending a handwritten note or a card for clients celebrating or mourning. “Put something in their hands that is physical, it stands out. Don’t even talk about real estate.”
In non-COVID times, Neill is also a fan of what she calls “pop-bys and drop-offs,” where she leaves little gifts for clients at their homes, stopping by to say hello. “Be intentional. Give something you’d be happy to receive.”
For flu season last year, Neill made bags with a bottle of hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes and travel tissues and dropped them off at 50 of her clients’ homes in January. In the fall, she took parents with school-aged kids an adult back-to-school package, which included coloring pencils, an adult coloring book and ear plugs.
“Ask yourself what works with your personality. It has to feel authentic to you as a Realtor®. If its authentic to you, you’re excited for it. Doing those kinds of things is an easy conversation starter with your client,” she said.
Neill said that while real estate is a sales business, she doesn’t always feel comfortable with the sales aspect, but is there for the personal connection. “I can bake fruit cakes, drop them off and chat with them that way instead,” she said. “It keeps me in their mind, whether we even talk about real estate. It keeps me from directly asking if they know anyone who wants to buy or sell a house. Some people are more comfortable for a hard sell, I like a soft sell.”
“How do you have time? We’re all human. You will lose touch with some clients, you can’t beat yourself up. It’s the evolution of the business. No matter what your approach, the very first step is to have a plan,” added Neill.