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It Pays to Keep in Touch

December 02 2013

woman on phoneI'm part of a Parent Participation class, where moms and babies meet weekly to learn and play. Many of my fellow mommies are struggling with lack of living space. They each own a home, but they've recently grown their family and need more room. These women are opportunities. If the REALTOR® who sold them their current home gave them a call, sent them an email or otherwise reached out, they'd most likely receive a response and the potential for repeat business.

Yet so many agents fail at keeping in touch effectively once the transaction is over. Staying in touch is key. You need to maintain a stream of communication with past clients so that you're top-of-mind when their lives change and they're ready to make another real estate move.

I talked with a real estate CRM expert, Matthew Collis of IXACT Contact, to brainstorm a few strategies for maintaining long-term relationships with clients and real estate leads.

1. Keep track of dates that matter: clients' birthdays, their wedding anniversary, the days their children were born, and the dates they closed on their new home or sold their old home. Put these dates in your real estate CRM and drop the client a line when you receive the reminder. A good CRM will automatically remind you when key dates of those in your real estate database arise.

2. Organize your contacts into groups for quicker, easier targeted communications. A good real estate CRM will let you easily create your own groups or tags and assign them to contacts. Create and assign as many groups or tags as are appropriate. That way, when you want to send out an email targeted to past sellers, past buyers, or leads that never converted, you can do it in moments. Targeted real estate marketing is effective marketing.

3. Keep notes about your interactions with a contact. Track in your CRM when you last communicated with someone, how the communication occurred (phone, email, card, etc.), and what you spoke about. This helps you start a conversation the next time you're in touch.

4. Offer a real estate newsletter. If you give people the option of receiving an e-Newsletter from you, it's very low-pressure for them and an effective way to keep the lines of communication open for you. Collis mentions that some CRM solutions like IXACT include professionally written content specifically for real estate. That is a feature that you may want to consider if writing is not your forté.

5. Take the time to meet in person with your best clients. Collis calls these people your "A List" and emphasizes that they're well worth a lunch, dinner, or cup of coffee. The REALTOR® who helped us buy our house recently reached out to me and invited me to go on a walk with her and her new baby. We had a lovely time hiking with our kids and I can guarantee she'll be the first person I call for my next real estate transaction. This kind of personal attention and relationship-building creates a customer for life.

If you're looking for more keep in touch ideas, there are some great ones on the IXACT Contact blogIXACT Contact blog.

Don't Forget Referrals

These strategies for keeping in touch aren't just about getting repeat business; they're also about winning some referrals. Your past clients are an excellent source of real estate leads. If you keep in touch with them, they'll recommend you the next time one of their friends or family members is looking for an agent.

A Real Estate CRM is Key

"A real estate CRM is absolutely essential for any keep-in-touch strategy," says Collis. Sure, he's biased (his IXACT Contact is a leading CRM for the real estate industry). But he's also absolutely correct. Modern CRMs do so much more than save a contact's name, phone number, and email address. They offer advanced tools for real estate marketing – from sophisticated organizational features to templates for drip marketing campaigns.

If you're not currently using a CRM or are looking for a solution with more to offer, you can give IXACT Contact a try for 5 weeks FREE.

For additional CRM options, visit our product directory.

Want to learn more about staying in touch? Attend IXACT Contact's free webinar, "5 Simple Steps to Building Relationships and Staying Organized Using a Real Estate CRM," on December 12 at 11am EST/8am PST.

Other articles of interest: AgentOffice | 10 Things Not to Buy in 2010