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Long-Term Success Takes More Than Sales

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Guilty

Yeah, I’m guilty of this. Along with much of the marketing advice and how-to that’s out there I tend to talk a lot about attracting and converting prospects into clients. Definitely a necessary and critical part of business but here’s the thing…

Creating clients is only half the battle to increasing sales (insert old-school “Yo, Joe!” yell).

Quite frankly, the other half is arguably more important…

See, the 3 ways to increase your bottom-line results is three-fold:

  • Increase the number of people you do business with
  • Increase the amount of every transaction

And then the vital piece for “long-term sustainability” is:

  • Increase repeat and referral business

With that being the case…

What happens after closing?

A lot of Realtors tend to focus more on transactions – they simply try to do more business with more people. Since you’re an Agent Genius you already know the benefits of continuing the relationship after closing:

  • Happy clients come back to you
  • Happy clients tell friends
  • Happy clients give testimonials
  • And so on

I really believe you’re in business not just to sell a home and collect a commission check. You want to do something worthwhile. To make a difference.

So, while you need a system to generate sales, you also need a system to create those longer, more profitable relationships (repeat sales and referrals).

What types of things should you be doing after closing to continue providing value to the relationship… and ensuring long-term success?

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Bill Beavers

    June 1, 2009 at 10:47 am

    What you have said is so true. My wife is a Broker and I am a licensed agent and loan officer. Most agents walk away from the client when escrow closes. This opens the door to another agent to walk in. I know because I’ve done it, too many times. We sometimes forget that this is not their last deal. We sometimes forget about their family and their extended families. Clients and friends for life, that’s what they should become. All the best.

  2. Lani Rosales

    June 1, 2009 at 10:52 am

    @markeckenrode I *love* when you talk about the “simple stupid” concepts such as “stay in touch with clients.” you have a particularly appealing brand of drip marketing that i really enjoy. for anyone not subscribed to mark’s content on his site (click “home stomper” in his bio), you’re missing out!

  3. Brandie Young

    June 1, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Hi Mark,

    So true. I keyed in on your use of the word “Happy” as in happy clients. That’s quite different than “Satisfied” clients. Satisfied clients feel you did your job – but if you failed to delight them, they are not likely to evangelize you.

  4. Mark Eckenrode

    June 1, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    @bill – sounds like you’re a step ahead of many agents if you’re continuing to reach out and market to past clients. what methods are working well?

    @lani – blush grin 😉 doesn’t it seem that the most simple and common sense approach to things usually has the biggest long-term payoff?

    @brandie – i always thought “satisfied clients” was setting sights kind of low. heck, “shoot for ecstatic” and everyone wins

  5. Missy Caulk

    June 1, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Gosh Mark, I couldn’t have said it better myself. LOL

    It’s really not that hard and actually I miss my clients for weeks after the transaction is over so not hard to stay in touch.

    In my 14 year career, I have only deleted 2 people. No regrets.

  6. Joe Loomer

    June 2, 2009 at 6:58 am

    My wife cooks Christmas cookies every year – about eight or nine different types – our kitchen looks like one of Chris’ MLS fail shot episodes when it’s in full throttle. She cooks ’em, bags ’em up in nice dollar-store bags with pretty ribbons and a business card, and I divide up the map, get in the car for a full week straight and deliver them to all our past clients.

    That’s our “major” evolution, but we call, write, host BBQs, do what we can throughout the year. Staying in touch is such a basic, ingrained part of our psyche now that NOT doing it would be harder and feel weird.

    One year we both got sick about halfway through the Christmas cookie delivery and failed to get them to about 20 of our past clients until after Christmas – the phone and email messages were full of polite (but anxious) “Where’s my dang cookies!” messages.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  7. Mark Eckenrode

    June 2, 2009 at 10:35 am

    @joe – i’ve known other Realtors to regularly host parties and BBQs and they swear by them, too. so… about those cookies 🙂

    @missy – wow! that’s got to be a healthy database you have. how do you keep in touch with so many and continue that relationship?

  8. Louise Scoggins

    June 2, 2009 at 10:44 am

    I definitely believe in following up with your clients post-closing. We do a closing congrats letter right away, follow up after their move, send a monthly magazine with recipes and home tips, and send personal letters once a year as well. It’s not the BEST follow system but at least it is one that’s in place. I have been in biz long enough now that I have “moved up” a few of my first clients into their second homes. I do get referrals from my past clients as well, so that’s always nice. Your past clients can offer warm leads, especially if you have done a great job with them…just don’t let them forget you or how to get in touch with you!

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Business Marketing

Hiring managers keep you on your toes – make them take the 1st step

(MARKETING) If you want to stand out from other job applicants, weird outfits, stunts, and baked goods will only get you so far – or it could backfire.

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According to research by employment search website Simply Hired, hiring managers get an average of 34 applications per job listing, but they spend time genuinely considering an average of only 12.6% of them – that’s less than 1/3. Some applicants may feel the need to go above and beyond the average application and do something unusual or unexpected to grab the hiring manager’s attention.

Simply Hired conducted a survey to find out whether or not “nontraditional” strategies to stand out are worth the risk, or whether it makes sense to stick to a traditional resume and cover letter. They surveyed over 500 hiring managers and over 500 job applicants to find out what sort of outside-of-the-box approaches applicants are willing to take, and which ones do and don’t pay off.

Most notably, the survey found that over 63% of hiring managers find attention-grabbing gimmicks totally unacceptable, with only 20.2% saying they were acceptable. Hiring managers were also given a list of unusual strategies to rank from most to least acceptable. Unsurprisingly, the least acceptable strategy was offering to sleep with the hiring manager – which should really go without saying.

Interestingly, hiring managers also really disliked when applicants persistently emailed their resumes over and over until they got a response. One or two follow-up emails after your initial application aren’t such a bad idea – but if you don’t get a response after that, continuing to pester the hiring manager isn’t going to help.

While sending baked goods to the office was considered a somewhat acceptable strategy, sending those same cookies to the manager’s home address was a big no-no. Desserts might sweeten your application, but not if you cross a professional boundary by bringing them to someone’s home – that’s just creepy.

Another tactic that hiring managers received fairly positively was “enduring extreme weather to hand-deliver a resume” – but waiting around for inclement weather to apply for a job doesn’t seem very efficient. However, hiring managers did respond well to applicants who went out of their way to demonstrate a skill, for example, by creating a mock product or presentation or completing their interview in a second language. A librarian who was surveyed said she landed her job by making her resume into a book and creating QR codes with links to her portfolio, while a woman applying to work at the hotel hopped behind the counter and started checking customers in.

It’s worth noting that while most hiring managers aren’t into your gimmicks and games, of the 12.9% of applicants who said they have risked an unusual strategy, 67.7% of those actually landed the job.

Still, it’s probably a safer bet to stick to the protocol and not try any theatrics. So then, what can you actually do to improve your chances of landing the job?

Applicants surveyed tended to focus most of their time on their resumes, but according to hiring managers, the interview and cover letter are “the top ways to stand out among the rest.” Sure, brush up your resume, but make sure to give equal time to writing a strong cover letter and practicing potential interview questions.

In the survey, applicants also tended to overestimate the importance of knowing people within the company and having a “unique” cover letter and interview question answers; meanwhile, they underestimated the importance of asking smart questions at the interview and personality. In fact, hiring managers reported that personality was the most impactful factor in their hiring decisions.

It appears that the best way to stand out in a job interview is to wow them with your personality and nail the interview. Weird outfits, stunts, and baked goods will only get you so far – and in fact, may backfire.

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Business Marketing

Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today

(MARKETING) A market that is making waves is found in the form of entertainment nostalgia. Everyone has memories and attachments, why not speak to them?

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Is it just me or does it seem like there is something for everything nowadays? Let me clarify, as that is a rather broad question…

With the way communicating through technology has advanced, it’s become much easier to connect with those who have shared interests. This has become especially evident with interests in the entertainment community.

Entertainment nostalgia

It now seems like there is an event for every bit of nostalgia you can imagine. Autograph shows, meet and greets, and memorabilia collections of all kinds are held in convention halls all around the world. (To give you an idea of how deep this thing goes, there was a “Grease 2” reunion convention sometime within the last five years. Being that I’m the only person I’ve ever met who likes that movie, it’s amazing that it found an audience.)

This idea of marketing by use of nostalgia is something that is becoming smartly tapped and there are a variety of directions it can go in.

For example, the new Domino’s ads feature dead-on tributes to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

What’s your niche?

If you’re a fan of anything, it’s likely that you can find an event to suit your needs.

And, if you want to take it a step further, you can think outside the box and use nostalgia as a marketing tool.

I recently began dabbling in social media gigs that have brought me to a few different fan conventions. One was a throwback 80s and 90s convention that featured everyone from Alan Thicke to the members of N*SYNC. Another is a recurring convention that brings together fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything under that umbrella.

I was amazed by the number of people that came out to these events and the amount of money that was spent on the day’s activities (autographs, photo ops, etc.). I was energized by the fact that you can take something you have a great appreciation for and bring together others who share that feeling. Watching people meet some of their favorite celebrities is something that is priceless.

Hop onboard the nostalgia train

If you’re a fan of something, you don’t have to look too far to find what you’d enjoy – going back to the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller” example, there is a first-ever John Hughes fan event taking place in Chicago next month that will bring fans to their favorite Brat Pack members.

In the same thought, if you have an idea, now is the time to find others who share that interest and execute your vision.

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Business Marketing

5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing

(MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.

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Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully, you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject Lines: Think about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.
  2. Nail the Intro”: Never take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!
  3. Use Video: Email might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.
  4. Keep Eyes Moving: The goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.
  5. Don’t Ask Too Much: It can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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