I'll be the first person to admit that I do a crummy job of leveraging my database of past clients. We don't have any regular communications like newsletters or emails, and that is a lost opportunity. The company will be 7 years old this June, and by that time I will have a good system in place to reach out to our past clientele with some regularity.
That said, in the past few months I have noticed a nice trend: we are getting more referrals from past clients. It makes sense; with almost 300 closed transactions since 2005, somebody was bound to refer us a friend or relative. And they are.
When I started the firm, I actually hadn't sold a house in 5 years. I kept my license up and qualified as a broker because of my active career as an agent from 1996-2000 in Rochester, NY. But that was 300 miles away, and I had no referral base in Westchester. I started the company from zero, literally, earning every client through prospecting. Nothing was easy, and no one looked me up at the behest of a friend or relative. It was all my beating the bushes.
Three months after the firm was founded, my brother Paul passed away very suddenly. Two years in, the Sub Prime Meltdown hit. The following year the Financial Crisis hit. Two and three year old companies seldom have much of a referral base of past clients to draw from. We sure didn't. But we weathered the storm, and as 2012 begins, I can point to half a dozen active files that are sourced from past business and not from marketing. Each year, the percentage has grown, and I have to say that among the most rewarding feelings in the world is a past client entrusting their loved ones to my care.
As I said, among my plans in 2012 is to do a better job of being in touch with past clientele. It isn't just about soliciting referrals, but also to be a resource to those that trusted me in the past. However, it is smart business too, and no matter if people think of me because we're in touch or they just recall a good job, I have to say that the more referrals we get the more I love them. It may sound a tad corny, but it really does inspire me.