How to Touch Your Database Effectively and Often
Touch your database, a lot.
When it comes to your database, we are all told to just focus on it. Stay in touch, call them 4 times a year and you’ll get referrals. It sounds simple and yet, for a lot of us, it still makes that phone weigh a ton. Real estate is hard and asking for business seems harder. If only there was a way to make it fun or at least easier. 33 Touch, 36 Touch, 100 Touch. Whatever you call it, just touch your database, a lot. Emails, Phone Calls, Mailers, Text, Facebook, Happy Hours, Events and more.
How much is too much? Once a month, twice a month, once a week? Well I guess that depends on what you are sending and to who. We send two emails a week. Note we are still testing and changing things up as we go. Our content is created each week and at least one email each week contains a video called “Touchbase Tuesday.” It’s a video to let our database know what we’ve been up to and what’s going on that week. We typically use our iPhone or Canon 70D camera and our Marketing Coordinator handles the edits.
Think about it, better yet go look in your inbox (maybe your personal email) and see just how many emails you receive from retailers. In my personal email when I look up Amazon, for instance, I find anywhere from two to four emails EACH DAY. So really when you think sending two emails a month is spamming and overwhelming, think again. The reality is your emails are getting buried. You are not communicating enough.
Call your past clients and Sphere at least 4 times a year. That’s a minimum. If you don’t talk to them, they aren’t going to sing your praises. Let’s face it, 30 days after the sale they have likely settled into their life. It is not that they no longer appreciate what you did during the home purchase or sale, it is that they are like you and are off to the next thing to do. For you, it’s your next client, your right now and future business. It’s a little egotistical to think they will pick up the phone and call you with a referral when you don’t pick up the phone and ask, or at the very least see how they are doing.
A common fear around asking for referrals is “what do I say” or “I need a reason.” So here are a few openers to get you started: I’m in a contest, I’ve been challenged, I have a goal to help x families this month… If you don’t want this to be your opener you can always close with “oh by the way, who else do you know looking to buy or sell that I can talk to today?” Phone calls are also great for inviting clients and sphere to events.
It’s simple: the most important thing we have is time and when you give it to someone, they are very appreciative. Some may be worthy of four calls a year and others you may think about having conversations with every month or every other month. You decide who.
Several options here are post cards, greeting cards, anniversary cards, birthday cards, invitations, newsletters, just listed/just sold and the list could go on. We send a birthday card, anniversary card, thinking of you card and invitations to events. Also, for our sellers during the listing we send 2-3 cards as added value.
Texts and Facebook
Text messaging is communicating; however, you may not be connecting. Texts are great for conversion, quick follow up and check ins and as an add into your communication for events. Remember texts do not convey your emotion, that is left up to the receiver to add in the emotion. Even emojis can even be misinterpreted.
Utilize Facebook to stay in touch several ways. First you can use it as a way to check in with your database in messenger, singing happy birthday to them on their timeline or commenting on their posts. You can also use it to see what’s going on in their lives so you can “have a reason” to call.
Happy Hours, Events and More
If you aren’t doing events then start. If you can’t afford an event yourself then get sponsors or get several people to host with you to offset the cost. There is no substitution for human interaction. Social media, while it provides some weird insight into other people’s lives, that life you see is a lie for many. Get to know your clients, current and past. The best way to do that is face to face with real conversations that lead to connecting. There is no substitution for human interaction.
I’m not saying the internet is out completely from your business—this is about getting referrals and not losing them to the internet or another real estate agent. If you want to be remembered and you want more referrals, you have to be what the internet is not and you have to give the client what the internet cannot. You have to create experiences. From the beginning, get to know them—not the house they want—them. If you cannot pick out the house, 90 percent of the time you don’t know them. During the process, stay in touch, anticipate their needs and let them know what happens next. After the sale, create experiences.
Here is where it gets fun
You can make events small or large. Events can be intimate or involve your community. Here are a few ideas to get you started for client appreciation:
Quarterly happy hours, BBQ and picnics, Bunny Photos, Santa Photos, Halloween costume party, house warming parties, baseball games, hockey games, fall family photos, movie night, Pie giveaways, community/farm driveway potlucks, etc. You can work your way up to multiple events a year. Mini coffee and lunch meetups with your best advocates show you care about them, not only their referrals.
All of these are great and just a part of it. Near the end of 2017, we found out about a book called Perk Your Sphere by Liz Johnson. She is a realtor that wrote a book on giving back to your clients and SOI. We modeled her system, made it our own and we are so thankful. We planned out the entire 2018 calendar and implemented in January. It is a tiered rewards program to give back to those that give to us. The program took about 3 months for it to really take off. We have monthly giveaways for those in the group and larger prizes for those that refer. No prize is given for an individual transaction. We think of this is more of a rewards program. Now legal disclaimer: check with your state and local laws before starting any program. We have a legal opinion from a RESPA attorney for what we do specifically stating we are not in violation, and I would advise others to do the same.
For our giveaways in 2018, we spent about $6,000 and received over 120 referrals. In 2018 year to date, we have 192 closed and pending sales and 78 are past repeat/referral/SOI. That’s about 40 percent of our business. In 2017, it was 34 percent. In 2019, we have budgeted $10,000 to our database. There are many unknowns and we are learning and tracking as we go. For instance, what happened or what will happen to all the referrals? Better tracking will tell us. We are having fun with what we do, and there are too many reasons for real estate to be exhausting. Enjoy this!
Below is our current touch program with VIP giveaways
Our 36 touch (really a 150 touch Plus VIP interactions)
- 2 emails per week (104 touches)
- At least 4 events (BBQ, family photos, thanksgiving pie, Cookies with Santa) – these each have an 8×8) (36 touches)
- 1 anniversary card mailed
- 1 birthday card mailed
- 2 “thinking of you” cards
- Total = 144
Calls/extra touches – the expectation is that you’re communicating through their desired communication method. Including Facebook, email, phone call and text message.
Monthly or weekly if they are on your pipeline depending on the rank.
Face-to-face – 1-2 times a year with VIP
Past Client – 4 quarterly calls
VIP – at least 6 touches per year VIP (4 calls and 2 face to face)
Weekly Facebook posts
Monthly giveaways to the entire group Tier 2
Quarterly giveaways to Tier 1 (those that have given a referral)
Charity in the community – at least 2 per year
VIP Monthly– $300/month
Kate Spade Purse
Night of Lights x3 winners
$200 Gift Card to Ruth Chris for Valentine’s Day
$50 Amazon Gift Card
4 TPC tickets ($300)
4 Tickets to Disney on Ice ($75-$100)
Kate Spade Purse
Massage at Ponte Vedra Spa ($200) Mother’s Day
$100 “Mother’s Day basket”
$200 Topgolf Gift Card Father’s Day
$100 “Father’s Day basket”
Ring Doorbell Giveaway ($100)
Adventure Landing Giveaway
$150 gift card — Target (back to school)
2 or 4 — Jags tickets
2 FL/GA Tickets
$150 Visa Gift Card
Pottery Barn Custom Stocking Giveaway
Pottery Barn Custom Stocking Giveaway
Honey Baked Ham Giveaway
Q1 ($500) – Yeti Tundra 65 ($350) + $150 to fill with goodies (chairs/towels, etc.)
Q2 ($500) – 4 tickets to Volcano Bay ($375) + $150 Visa for food or hotel
Q3 ($500) – 2 Carrie Underwood tickets
Q4 ($1000) – Family Cruise