From an $8,000 investment in movie tickets, mega agent Seychelle Van Poole of Van Poole Properties and her team walked away from their latest client-appreciation event with 15 referrals, 20+ online reviews and an estimated $4-5 million in future business.
For the Van Poole Properties team, past clients and their referrals are the most reliable sources of leads and highest contributor of business, accounting for over 50% of their $54 million revenue year-to-date.
“Past clients are the most profitable way into a real estate transaction. They trust you and they like you and the services you provide,” she says.
So how does Van Poole prosper with past clients?
"The past client waltz," she says. Here are the steps:
- Begin by providing your clients items of value.
- Share your successes .
- Ask for the referral.
After the “dance” concludes at the end of the year, Van Poole Properties has touched each client 18-20 times with four phone calls, six emails, and 12 direct mail pieces.
STEP 1: Provide Items of Value
“If you want to succeed with past clients, it all comes down to providing them with items of value,” Van Poole emphasizes. Her team masters this step by having three or more real estate-based conversations per year.
- Tax Season: “We offer clients and our potential sphere a complimentary Comparable Sales report that they provide to their tax authority, saving them several thousands of dollars on taxes. Also, if they close before the end of the year, we reach out to them in January to remind them to file homestead exemption.”
- Summer: “Since Texas is hot, we remind them to get their air conditioner checked and of any other ways they can prepare their home for the hot summer.”
- Winter: “Whenever there is a winter storm warning, we reach out to our clients with education on how to keep their pipes from freezing.”
Creating Clients for Life
To be more effective, they couple real estate-based conversations with client-appreciation events. “Events allow us to walk alongside our clients during special milestones in their lives.”
The team currently hosts four events annually:
- A Thanksgiving Pie Giveaway: “We invite our clients to the office to pick up a pie or bundt cake they can take to their Thanksgiving meal. The first year we did it, we gave away 50 and received seven referrals. Last year we gave away 450 and received 15 referrals as a result.”
- A Fall Festival: “After seeing our clients post adorable photos of their kids at pumpkin patches and fall festivals, we had an idea – why not host our own? So, five years ago, we kicked off our annual fall festival where we invite clients to a pumpkin patch with their families. We offer free food, face painting and other fun children’s activities. When we started we had 70 guests, and last year we had between 200-250 people.”
- Spring Portraits in the Park: During the spring, Van Poole hosts a special event for VIP clients called “Portraits in the Park” where she hires professional photographers and offers clients complimentary photo sessions.
- “The event is very personal. We’ve done everything from engagement photos to maternity photos, senior photos, headshots and everything in between. The photo shoots give us the opportunity to really engage with our clients one-on-one.”
- A Summer Movie Ticket Giveaway: The newest event that the Van Poole team added to their client-appreciation repertoire is a summer movie ticket giveaway. “Last year, we received 25 Yelp reviews as a result of the event. Yelp has helped us close eight transactions.”
Consistency is Key
Van Poole admits each event takes work, but is adamant that any agent – new or seasoned – will find events fruitful if they are willing to host them consistently.
“The key to getting results from an event is to do them every year. No matter your budget or how small your team, you can always find a way to engage your clients face-to-face through events. I’ve seen agents do something as simple as hosting a coffee/wine night with clients during the holidays to engage them before the spring selling season.”
STEP 2: Share Your Successes
“After sharing your items of value, make sure to state your successes,” Van Poole advises. “Whether it’s in person or on paper, outline what makes you good at what you do – awards you’ve won, houses you’ve listed, etc.” The Career Growth Initiative’s Local Expert tool is perfect for helping you underscore your validity with your clients!
STEP 3: Make the Ask
The last step of the dance – making the ask – can seem the most difficult, but Van Poole assures agents that it doesn’t have to be. “After providing an item of value and sharing your successes, you shouldn’t see a problem asking for referrals.”
Lost for words? Leverage Van Poole’s scripts:
After working with a client:
“How was our experience working together? Great! It means a lot to me that I helped you meet your goals. I loved working with you! Who else could I help like you? Could you shoot me their contact information so I can follow up with them?”
After a client RSVPs “yes” for your event:
“We’re so excited to see you and will send you a confirmation email shortly. Between now and [DATE OF EVENT] could you think of one or two people that need help with buying, selling or investing in real estate?”
At the event:
“Thank you so much for coming! Who do you know is looking to buy, sell or invest in real estate? We’d love to help!”
And if the client couldn’t attend the event? Call them to express your disappointment that they weren’t able to join the fun – and still make the ask!
The scripts don’t stop here! For more resources on tapping into the goldmine in your database, download our Past Clients Toolkit today