Back when my son was just one year old, we decided it was time to sell our small 900 sq/ft house in Pasadena. To see what homes in the area were selling for, we attended¬†several open houses around the neighborhood.
At one of the open houses nearby we met a very driven Realtor.¬†She was also an Interior Design student and used her skills to¬†make the homes she was selling even more attractive by updating¬†the inside and outside of the house for faster selling.
We ended up hiring her, and low and behold – she sold our house FAST, and we made a lot of money from that sale. (Yay!)
Once she sold our house, she also found us another house very quickly. The whole transaction between the two took about¬†45 days.
We were very happy with our Realtor… and we let her know about it.
About three years later, we outgrew our current house and wanted to sell again. The market was good and we stood to make some good money from the sale. We also applied to be on HGTV’s¬†Design to Sell, which we were featured in May 2005 (Episode 308 – Yes! I am a reality show star ūüôā
We hadn’t heard from our Realtor in three years since we moved into that house and we couldn’t get in contact with her for the life of us.
[I¬†think]¬†we were pretty easy to work with. So, I’m not¬†sure why she wouldn’t want to work with us again. And, we know¬†for sure, that her commissions on the sale and purchase of our¬†homes were over $20k to 30k. Who wouldn’t want to make that kind of money¬†again?
So, what was her problem?
It was¬†lack of follow-up.
She was really good at getting new clients. When she met¬†someone at an open house, they were¬†amazed at how the house¬†looked, and she could take credit for it. (Instant credibility.)
What she lacked¬†was a¬†system¬†for follow-up¬†with her past and current clients.
Unfortunately, we find this kind of broken window in many businesses.
It’s a well known fact that it can cost 5x’s to 10x’s more time and money¬†to acquire a¬†new¬†client than it does to follow up with your¬†existing and past¬†clients on a regular basis and get them to do business with you¬†again.
If your past clients are happy with the work you’ve done for¬†them, why wouldn’t they want to do business with you again?
All it takes is a simple, but systematic approach to following up with them¬†on a regular basis. It’s always about the relationships that you build over time with your clients and¬†prospects that determines your long-term success.
Rules of thumb: I suggest that if you’re communicating by mail, no less than once a month. Use a client newsletter to build and maintain¬†the relationship. You should also be sending regular offers by direct mail, too.
If you’re using email, I suggest¬†no less¬†than once a week. Every weekday, if possible.¬†
The lesson here is this:¬†the¬†fortune is always in the follow-up. The real ROI is in the relationship with the client, not the first transaction.¬†
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