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In a business that relies heavily on referrals, it’s important to not only build, but maintain a solid client base. According to the 2015 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 41 percent of buyers were referred to their real estate agent by a friend, neighbor or relative, and 12 percent used the agent who assisted them in a previous transaction. Cultivating relationships with clients can pay off in the long run.

Long-term client relationships begin with the first transaction, so it’s necessary for agents to establish themselves as trustworthy, knowledgeable, attentive and eager from the start, or clients are less likely to remember the agent when referring friends and family in the future. Encourage agents to seek out details about new clients, not only so they can add personal touches to the home-buying experience, but also so they have a basis for contact after the transaction.

Coach agents to build their own network of professional connections such as mortgage lenders, attorneys, plumbers and electricians to which they can refer clients both during and after the transaction. Being a source of referrals and information expands the agent/client relationship, bringing both parties in contact between real estate transactions. It also entrenches the agent’s name in the mind of their clients, making them more likely to mention their agent to others.

Train your agents to use systems or programs that’ll reduce time spent on post-transaction communication, but maximize contact, such as a drip email marketing system. Drip emails can contain tips on home maintenance and safety, interesting facts, fun pop culture notes, issues of importance to the client, and more. ABR® designees have access to special pricing for Pop-a-Note, RISMedia’s conversational marketing system. With a system such as this, emails can be set up to go out automatically or manually. Drip email marketing is less about the agent and the pitch, and more about keeping the agent’s name in the client’s mind.

If you or your agents are unsure of what content to include in an email marketing campaign, consider turning to HouseLogic. HouseLogic provides themed content such as DIY project ideas, home maintenance tips and seasonal information for REALTORS® to share. Agents can even share this content via Facebook, Twitter, email, or on their own websites. Social media posts can also be scheduled and automated using a platform such as Spredfast or Hootsuite. REBAC members can utilize their benefits by sharing customizable consumer one-sheets, which provide information that can be useful after the transaction. Pay attention to clients by following them on social media and send postcards geared toward newlyweds, expectant parents, retirees, new jobs, and more.

Making client contact an integral part of your strategic plan not only creates repeat clients, but also can extend your potential for new clients. Shay Hata presents tips to keep in contact with past clients in the REBAC Connection Webinar, “Generate Leads from Past Clients (and have fun while doing it),” available to members at REBAC.net. Maintaining these relationships doesn’t have to eat into time spent on other tasks. Keeping in touch can take remarkably little effort when you use the right resources and systems.

Marc Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for NAR and executive director of REBAC. A wholly-owned subsidiary of NAR, The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 30,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who work directly with buyer-clients.

To learn more, visit www.REBAC.net.

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