Recent stats from the NAR show that 86% of buyers and 82% of sellers say they would use their agents again, but only 22% end up doing so. Why the massive gap? Some of it may have to do with how long homeowners are staying in their residences before selling. NAR shows that last year’s homebuyers plan to stay in their home for an average of 14 years.
In a world where you can generate new leads in a few clicks, you may not see the benefit of staying in touch with past clients over a 14 year span. And frankly, most agents have an “all-or-nothing” approach to drip campaigns and outreach, so their tried-and-true campaigns would be a bit much if deployed monthly for over a decade.
So what’s a savvy agent to do?
Introducing: the slow cooker approach
You know how slow cooker recipes tell you to “set it and forget it?” After you’ve closed with a buyer or seller and followed up to see if they’re doing well, it’s a great time to put them on a casual, infrequent communications plan. You can vary these communications (snail mail, email drip, personal email) but aim to reach them quarterly for the first year after you sell, and then slightly less frequently after that.
Then, once enough time has passed and they are ready to sell again, you can “turn up the dial” on your slow cooker approach. Get in touch personally by mentioning that given today’s market conditions, you thought they might be ready to sell. They’ll think it was fortuitous timing, but you’ll know that it was a strategically long play.
How can I stay in touch?
The key is to have all past clients or “cooler” sphere contacts on the same communications plan, so you aren’t running yourself ragged trying to think of new ways to stay in touch. Consider varying your approach by selecting about four of these:
Mailers of recently listed/sold homes in their neighborhood
Invitations to participate in a food drive or another charitable event (See examples)
A holiday card with a personally written greeting
Free tickets to games or shows, or a coupon to a local restaurant
Seasonal email campaigns with homeowner tips (Spring gardening tips, fall home maintenance checklist)
How will I know when they are ready to sell?
Agents without predictive analytics can try to watch for outward signals, like home renovations or restoration of curb appeal. Remember to keep in mind the demographic of the owners, too. If you sold a starter home to newlyweds and now see through Facebook that Baby #2 is on the way, chances are they are hoping to sell and find a bigger home.
If you have a territory with predictive analytics, you can always see who is getting ready to sell in your area. The algorithm will analyze thousands of variables for each home and homeowner, and predict if the home is likely to sell in the next 6-12 months. Once that homeowner appears in an agent’s predicted seller rankings, they know to “turn up the dial” on their communications and get in touch personally with the homeowner. Until the homeowner is in that top-ranked list, the agent can continue the slow cooker approach.
Ready to get started with the slow cooker approach?
The key to staying in touch with a thousand homeowners (or more) is to casually keep your name and brand in front of them, then “turn up the dial” with more personal contact and attention when they are ready to sell. SmartTargeting offers the predictive analytics you need to identify likely home sellers. Give it a quick test run -- reach out today to see predictions in your area.