You know the cost of things you do, but do you know the cost of what you don’t do?
You know what your marketing costs in terms of dollars and cents for things you purchase. When you contemplate adding a new marketing method or purchasing new equipment, it’s there in black and white. You can look at your income and your budget and know whether you can pay those prices.
What you don’t know is the cost of NOT doing the things that would attract new clients, put commission dollars in your pockets, and build your business.
The cost of missed opportunities is difficult to calculate.
For instance: If you send a monthly newsletter, you know what it costs to prepare and distribute – but do you know what it costs if you don’t send it? Probably not. No one is going to come up to you and say “I thought about listing my house with you, but when I didn’t get a newsletter from you I chose someone else.”
You might know what you earn as a result of mailing farming and prospecting letters – but if you don’t bother, you have no idea how much more you’d have earned had you made the effort.
Do you know what you earn from blogging? Once in a while you get a hint, because someone says they chose you because of a post you wrote. But do you know what you won’t earn if you stop, or never start?
Do you know what you earn from sharing your blog posts and listings on social media or from interacting with people there?
Do you know how many clients choose you because your real estate agent bio makes you stand out? Or how many pass you by because you either have no bio or have one that is dry, uninteresting or filled with empty platitudes?
Do you know how many out of town buyers you attracted because you have an informative community page on your website? Or how many pass you by in their search for area information.
Do you know how many people chose you because you submit real estate articles to your local newspaper? If you don’t do that, do you know how many would choose you if you did?
Do you know how many closings you have because you offered useful information for buyers or sellers via a capture box on your website – and then followed through with more information? Or how many you didn’t have because you made one attempt to connect and then crossed them off your list?
Do you know how much extra you earn because you do volunteer work or speak up at HOA meetings – or take time to chat with someone at the grocery store?
You probably don’t know how much you earn as a result of any one of those activities, because the effects are cumulative.
People get your newsletter or your prospecting letters. Then they come across your blog posts when they’re searching for information about local events. That leads them to visit your website and read your bio. Then they see you helping out at a fund raising event or hear your opinions at a meeting.
Do they even know which specific thing caused them to begin thinking of you as the agent they need? In some cases, yes they do. But most of the time, I doubt it. When I ask people where they found me, the most common answer is “Somewhere on the Internet.”
All of those things bring you new business, and if you ignore them, there’s just no way of knowing what you might have missed.
You WILL realize at least part of the cost if you fail to keep up with past clients.
You’ll experience that sickening feeling of seeing their homes listed with someone else – and going under contract. And you’ll know just how many dollars your inactivity probably cost. There’s no guarantee that they’d have used you even if you camped on their doorstep – but there’s a pretty good guarantee that they won’t if you’ve ignored them since their closing two years ago, or six years ago, or ten years ago.
Of course, you only know about the repeat business you’ve missed. You have no way of knowing how many referrals you didn’t get if you’ve been ignoring them.
Past clients and your sphere of influence are your personal gold mine – but only if you take the time to stay in front of them, reminding them that you’ll be there when they need you.
You know they don’t want a constant stream of sales letters, so stay in touch in other ways. Use my event-themed staying in touch letters (2 per month, so the set can last you 2 years); write and mail a monthly newsletter with actual news about the community; send quarterly market reports; send birthday cards, anniversary cards, or holiday cards; send links or tear-sheets with articles that you know would interest them; pick up the phone and call just to say hi now and then.
And if you can – do stop by to see them or invite them out for lunch once in a while.
It’s an old business adage that it’s cheaper and easier to hang on to an old client than to gain a new one, and it’s never been more true.
Depending upon your community, you’re competing with dozens, if not hundreds, of other agents for every listing and every buyer.
If you ignore your old clients, they’ll ignore you – and someone who is prospecting and doing the other things I mentioned above will have both their business and their referrals.
Your past clients already know you and trust you. If you’re there, reminding them that you’re at their service, most of them will choose you unless there’s a compelling reason to choose someone else – like their sister-in-law or an old Army buddy.
The bottom line: Stay on top of all those activities that will bring you new clients, AND diligently nurture your past clients and those in your sphere of influence. They really can be your personal gold mine.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Thomas A. Edison
“The trouble with opportunity is, it never announces when it comes. It’s only after it’s gone, you’d realize that you missed it.”
“What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree?”
Logan Pearsall Smith
One more thing…
While many clients won’t be able to say where they found you first, some will be able to say why they chose you. Ask them, and keep a record of what they say. That will tell you where to focus your activities when you’re busy and simply can’t “Do it all.”
Wishing you joy and prosperity in this new year,
Bag of money and Internet marketing switch Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Businessman crying money Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net