The Answer to “What Have You Done for Me Lately?”

Originators know that their database of closed transactions and referral sources represent a gold mine for future business. Obviously, people with whom you have already done business are easier to sell to than prospects you don’t know. This is not news. In fact, I would argue that originators who have the largest number of people in their database make the most money. There is a correlation between the size of an originator’s database (plus frequency of contacting them) and the originator’s sales performance and income. In this more difficult marketplace, it is critical for originators to “work their databases” if they want to survive.

So, why is it that so many originators fail to make their database a top priority in their weekly selling efforts? Why are they leaving one of their most valuable assets in the hands of the lender with the hope that corporate marketing efforts will be effective? A better idea would be for originators to put a plan in place to market to their database and to implement it. Originators who do not incorporate database marketing into their regular sales activities are simply leaving money on the table.

I realize that many originators will say they just don’t have the time. Their strategy is to strike while the iron is hot, especially as the spring home-buying season is ramping up. They are busy and need to make their money now. I can certainly understand that issue.

The problem with this approach is that when business inevitably slows in the fall and winter, producers who have not worked their database consistently will not be top of mind when prospects are ready to purchase a home. Depending on a corporate CRM to do the work by sending out generic information doesn’t accomplish much. The fact is that prospects want personalized contact, not mass marketing materials.

Gary Keller, founder of Keller Williams Realty, recommends that real estate agents have 33 contacts a year with former customers. Some of the contacts are obvious such as birthdays, holidays and specific milestones. Keller suggests that the remaining touchpoints deliver valuable content that relates to customers’ interests and where they are in their journey of life. Relevant information might include local market updates, changing tax laws and local activities. Some of the salesperson’s contacts can be by phone. Other contacts would use social media platforms and emphasize videos etc. What the touchpoints look like is limited only by a salesperson’s creativity but contacts must be consistent and frequent if it will have any impact on prospects and referral business. Helping someone purchase a home often isn’t enough to prompt customers to refer new transactions. The borrower’s motto might well be “What have you done for me lately?”

Keller’s strategy of frequent touchpoints is smart business regardless of what industry you are in. If the originator doesn’t market to former customers, they are losing a great opportunity to leverage the contacts of their former customers. Some of their former customers might even be interested in buying a second home or investor property or might have children who want to purchase a home. Unless former customers hear from the salesperson, they will not think of you when it comes to making a recommendation. As time wears on, that becomes more of the case.

The bottom line is that the days of the originator depending solely on their current referral sources is not enough. Originators who want to generate future business should optimize their database contacts starting with their former customers and the real estate agents who helped them in the process.