Kaci (Brown) Bellenie is a writer based in Columbus, Ohio. She also serves as the principal broker for her second-generation, family-owned real estate brokerage, B&A Realty Investments. The firm focuses on residential property management and serves a unique mix of clients, from college students to international residents. You can find her on Instagram @barealty or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Relevant Ways to Reconnect With Your Sphere
Whether you’ve been in real estate for five or 25 years, get back to basics with a humanized approach in your outreach to past clients.
May 21, 2020
Do you remember when you were first licensed and went through that grueling exercise of writing down the names and contact information of everyone you knew so that you could announce you’re in real estate? Now, as a broker managing agents, you’re likely asking your new recruits to do the same. But I’m guessing it’s been a while since you checked in on your own list or updated it. Well, now’s the time to dust off your address book, boot up the client database, and take things back to the basics as we navigate this COVID-19 era.
The people in your network already know you’re in real estate; instead, it’s time to reach out and show them you care. It’s easy for your message to get lost in the sea of emails and social media posts that are all saying the same thing: “We’re in this together.” Instead, be original and model some ingenuity for your agents by serving your clients’ distinctive needs.
People want to know you value and care about them personally. Whether it’s a handwritten note mailed to them for a special day or helping them navigate the big and small challenges they face, let’s get back to our initial sales training, update it for the COVID-19 era, and make an impact on the lives around us.
Mail Out Some Encouragement
As our schedules, workspaces, and, well, everything, looks different now, so should your approach to reaching your sphere. The email drip campaigns and marketing materials you used in the pre-virus days worked well then, but now people crave connection and the human touch. It’s time to fire up your client relationship management system and make a list of all the birthdays or anniversaries in the coming weeks. Then stock up on some stamps and put your pen to paper. Don’t forget to honor the anniversary of when they bought their house, too.
If your clients have college students living back at home, you might include a note asking how it’s going and whether it’s time to think about purchasing that empty-nester home yet. Then jot down in their file that you asked this question and see if they call you in a few months saying, “It’s time!”
With people feeling on edge for many reasons these days, opening their mailbox to find a card and get a much-needed laugh can mean a lot. You don’t have to come up with your own jokes. Instead, you can print out funny cartoons or memes you find online and mail them to your clients. With families together under the same roof, and the home operating as a multipurpose hub of activity, you don’t need to look far to find comic relief. We can all relate to the video of the child opening the dad’s office door and interrupting the live BBC interview. We laugh because we can all imagine being in his shoes. Sending out a relatable message will bring some levity to a person’s day.
Offer Exclusive Services to Your Clients
We all have inboxes overflowing with emails touting “10 Tips for Being Productive at Home,” but thinking outside the box will truly help serve our clients’ needs. Use Instagram Live, IGTV, or Facebook Live to hold daily story time and reach clients who have young kids at home. Offer Zoom tutorials to folks in your network who are unfamiliar with the technology to help them connect with their families. If you need help to accomplish this, pay an IT professional for support.
You can also offer your best virtual party planning skills to help make someone’s birthday special. Feature them on your social media accounts for the day and ask followers to leave them a message. If you want to take it one step further, gather your colleagues, and post signs in your contact’s yard. If it’s one thing real estate practitioners have a lot of, it’s signs, so go ahead and make good use of them. Making someone’s big day brighter goes a long way and they will remember your gesture well past their birthday.
Reassure Clients With Local Market Updates
With so much uncertainty right now, people want something concrete that shows them things are going to be okay. As the nation watches unemployment numbers rise, it is a great time to reassure clients by educating them about the strong real estate market. Sending out market reports to your sphere might not be a new idea, but attaching a handwritten note to the data makes it personal.
If you want to add a little humor, send out a “just sold” flyer for a home larger than their own and ask if sheltering in place with their family has piqued their interest in upsizing accommodations. This might lead to a listing in the future or, at the very least, a laugh and possibly a note in return.
As you plan out your new strategy, pick a few of the basics you learned from your training and modernize them for the COVID-19 era, then start reaching out and rebuilding those connections. Even if it’s been a while since you’ve been in touch, don’t let that stop you. We all have a greater appreciation for relationships, plus, many people are looking to talk to someone new these days. These human touches may lift someone’s spirits or provide a bit of laughter in a dark hour. Whatever it brings, we know it will be memorable—wasn’t that the goal of our original training? Now, get out there and let people know you’re still in real estate and that you care.