STEP 2: MAINTENANCE MODE
You’ve made the introduction and extended the handshake. Now,
how do you keep this budding relationship growing?
Start off with a blitz.
Get in touch with a prospect eight times within eight weeks following an introduction. The “ 8× 8” program is what Donna Boylan, productivity coach at Keller Williams Consultants Realty in Dublin,
Ohio, teaches agents for keeping in touch. The program centers on
the idea that people need to be exposed to something eight times before they remember it—and that “it” includes you. The forms of contact will di;er (for instance, phone, e-mail, postcards, and so on) and
should be tailored to that person (such as potential first-time home
buyer or seller), Boylan says. The content could include anything
from a “thinking of you” card to mortgage information to a market
comparison of the person’s neighborhood.
Get attention with the occasional
Need to add pizzazz to a blog post, e-mail, or other communications?
Have some fun: Hallmark o;ers up a list of nontraditional “holidays”
to celebrate ( www.theultimateholidaysite.com). For example, in honor
of “National Dress Up Your Pet Day” on Jan. 14, you could promote
a contest on your social networks for best-dressed pooch. Invite your
prospects over for a sweet get-together on Feb. 7 to celebrate “
National Chocolate Fondue Day.” On Feb. 25, swap the best chili recipes on “National Chili Day.” Or just send a thoughtful card in honor
of Feb. 7, “Send a Card to a Friend Day.” Silly occasions o;er a vehicle
for making a fun and memorable connection. A Keller Center study,
“What Do Consumers Expect From Agents?” supports the e;ec-tiveness of humor in business; a real estate agent with a good sense
of humor is more likely to have a positive reputation as someone customers want to work with, according to the 2008 report.
Be sure to balance the entertaining with the useful. You’ll find
a vast array of valuable content on buying, selling, and maintaining
and improving your house at HouseLogic.com’s R;;;;;;® Content
Resource. The handouts are free of charge for NAR members and
customizable. Prospects will love your tips on buying, selling, energy
e;ciency, money-saving remodeling ideas, and more.
The thought really does count.
Handwritten notes are a great way to acknowledge birthdays, graduations, wedding anniversaries, a new baby, and even a pet’s birthday.
But sometimes you may want to o;er something extra.
Carlyn Parker, a sales associate with Real Living CO Properties
in Denver, tailors her approach to the client. For example, for a relocating family on a house-hunting trip over Easter weekend eight
years ago, Parker made up Easter baskets for the small children, who
were 2 and 4 at the time. Now she pays a yearly visit to the family
with Easter baskets in hand. The visits help keep the relationship
alive and have led to three real estate transactions so far. For other
families, she’ll try other things, such as “wine of the month” club.
Dolores Mauriello, ;;;, a broker with Century 21 Gemini LLC
Realty in Wayne, N.J., o;ers a Lowe’s 10 percent o; coupon to those
she meets at open houses. All they have to do is provide their e-mail
address so she can follow up. She uses the Lowe’s R;;;;;; Benefits®
Program, www.lowesrealtorbenefits.com, a free service available to
R;;;;;;;®, to send a customized, real estate newsletter, along with
Find reasons to get face-to-face.
Avoid becoming just a name on someone’s social network or a spam
in an e-mail in-box. Put in some face time with your prospects. Some
real estate professionals do this by holding an o;ce open house,
a special dinner, or a fund-raiser for a local charity. Sheri Bailey, a
practitioner with Keller Williams Boerne in Boerne, Texas, invites
prospective female buyers to lunch every month or so. “Especially
if they are new to the area, my clients love to try out a local restaurant while we catch up on the latest happenings in their lives,” Bailey says. “For the price of a sandwich or salad, I can stay in touch.”
Even if there’s no explicit conversation about real estate, she says the
meetings are valuable to strengthen those relationships. Remember,
though, in order to count such a lunch as a business expense for federal tax purposes, the main purpose of the lunch must be business;
you must discuss business before, during, or after the meal; and you
must have a reasonable expectation of generating income or some
other business benefit.