We’ve all heard the rhyme about making new friends and keeping the old, but sometimes we forget just how gold those old relationships can be.
Yet the longer you go without connecting with a past client, the greater the chance that relationship will fade. And since it costs five times as much to attract a new client than to keep an old one, there’s no reason you should let a past client forget you.
From passing on news to picking up the phone, use these seven strategies to make sure that never happens.
1. Thank them for referralsAs soon as you get off the phone with a referral (which you asked for), call your past client and thank them for passing your name on. Not only is it thoughtful to thank a previous client for sending business your way, it’s also an opportunity to reconnect.
After thanking them for referring you, move on and talk a bit about their market and needs. Although they may not be looking for a broker at the moment don’t miss this easy chance to express your gratitude and continue the conversation.
2. Attend events
In addition to being a great way to network, attend enough events in your market and you’re practically guaranteed to bump into past clients. Use the opportunity to reconnect and see what current projects they’re working on, and take a moment to tell them about your latest deal. This industry is all about relationships, and spending some time chatting with a previous client face-to-face will keep you on the top of their mind.
3. Set periodic reminders
Despite your best efforts, not every past client will refer you and there are some people you just won’t bump into. Solve that problem by setting periodic reminders to help remember when it’s time to reach out to clients you haven’t spoken to in awhile.
There’s no right answer for exactly how often you should touch base, but try to make contact at least once a quarter. But don't overdo it — avoid contacting past clients more than once a month if you don’t have something useful to share.
4. Share market research
As a broker, you’re constantly analyzing market trends and speaking to key people in your neighborhood. Help your past clients by sharing this knowledge and inform them of any shifting trends that could impact them. While you undoubtedly have lots of useful information to share, make the most of this contact by only sharing the most important and relevant insights you have.
5. Use social media
Social media is a good way to generate prospects, and it’s equally effective for keeping in touch with past clients. Check out their posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up with how their business is evolving. Reply and engage with them to keep a dialogue going, and join the relevant professional and local groups to build your online presence.
6. Set up an e-newsletter
Whether it’s sharing news and market research or engaging with your client network periodically, you can set up an email newsletter to make the most of many of the above tips. But first, a word of caution: content matters.
Although there’s nothing wrong with mentioning important deals you’ve completed or are currently working on, avoid obvious self-promotion and focus on creating insightful content.
Just like with periodic reminders, you want to get the frequency of your newsletter right. Try to stick to a regular schedule where you send it out at least once a quarter, but not more than once a month. A strong newsletter will turn you into a local CRE expert and deepen relationships with both current and past clients.