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Listing Icons: Is Adopting Abandoned Buyers Stealing or Smart?

Abandoned BuyerDoes Closing and Running = Abandonment

I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.  We both know the truth.  I don’t need to share charts, survey percentages or statistical bona fides, do I?  The truth is plentifully self-evident.

The average and ordinary majority of selling agents, DO NOT stay in touch with buyer clients after closing.  The deal is done, it’s time to run.  Fresh leads needs chasing and an uncertain future needs feeding.

At first blush, closing and running seems logical, maybe even smart.  After all, gleefully settled buyers won’t be moving for years, why waste your finite attention on a years-distant possibility.  Bills need to be paid now.  Right?

Dead Wrong!  Closing and Running is abandonment and financially unwise.

Why?  Because of this – The Three People Principle.

The buyers who chose you and now know and trust you, they know three people at work, at worship, in Katie’s Girl Scout Troop, at BUNCO, or wherever, they know three people who are going to move in the next year.  Invest attention in these fans friends people and you’ll earn referrals, accompanied by recommendations.  These are the best leads, are they not. And they’re free. Well almost free, you have to invest some emotional labor to remain relevant and remarkable and therefore, recommendable, but that’s easy.  It’s what you do.

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So, staying close and relevant is smart and profitable. Agreed?

But wait, there’s even a higher level of business cultivation.  Wise ones capitalize by monetizing the mistakes of  the average and ordinary majority.  Some might consider this business-getting tactic – stealing.  I call it smart.

Listing Agents, Listen Up – Are You Adopting Abandoned Buyers

Pretty straight forward.  The average and ordinary majority of selling agents abandon their buyers after closing. When you’re the listing agent, grow your success by cultivating a relationship of relevancy and trust with the abandoned buyer of your listing. Yes, you heard right.  I believe you should adopt the abandoned buyer and become their Go-To-Girl for all things home, community, lifestyle and real estate.

The How-To varies from person to person.  I wouldn’t presume to tell you what you should do or say.  But, I will share a few directionally-correct ideas.

  1. After closing, mail a handwritten note card.  Wish them well, welcome, etc.  Of course, include two business cards.
  2. Thirteen days after closing, between 2:37pm and 7:57pm, stop by in person and see how things are going.  Follow-up your visit by mailing a handwritten note card (nice talking to you, blah, blah, etc.). Use purple ink, a hot-pink envelope and a real postage stamp.  Just kidding.  Doesn’t matter what time you stop by or the ink and envelope color. I’m not kidding about the stopping by or sending the note.
  3. While you’re visiting (in person) ask for permission to stay in touch.  I’d say something like this, “Hey, would it be ok if I touched base from time to time to see if your need anything real estate related?” or “Hey, I send monthly market report updates to my friends, I’d like to include you, would you be offended if I shared my market report with you?”
  4. If you’re granted permission, include these fine folks in your thoughtfully created Top Of Mind Awareness campaign.

Smart or Stealing

I believe it’s smart for listing agents to adopt abandoned buyers.  Some might think it’s stealing.  I don’t.  If they’re abandoned, you’re not stealing.  If they aren’t abandoned, and you ask for permission to stay in touch and the say, “No-Thank You”, then don’t.   Some will, some won’t, so what, next.

Pretty simple, but uncommon.  Are your actions uncommon?

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Thanks for reading. Cheers.

Written By

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.



  1. Matt Stigliano

    March 15, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Ken – Someone once told me one of the “big guns” in town did this and I thought to myself, “Wait, that just makes good sense.” Although I haven’t been as focused as you suggest about it (I just learned some excellent points – thanks), I have adopted this as part of my practice. Buy my listing and you’re sure to hear from me.

    • Ken Brand

      March 15, 2010 at 9:32 am

      Amen Matt, it’s a simple add and will create new opportunities. Cheers.

  2. Ralph Bell

    March 15, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Brilliant! Will definitely make this part of my marketing plan from here on out. Like anything else in RE the worst they can say is No. Well some have said no in a worse way…but you get the point.

    • Ken Brand

      March 15, 2010 at 9:33 am

      Thanks Ralph, everyone wants to be loved. It the selling agent won’t, we should. Cheers.

  3. Michael Price

    March 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Can you steal a relationship? Nope. Just like the seller is the only one that really owns any listing information, a buyer is the holder of the relationship. They will relinquish it to whomever they chose, typically it will be with the one that treats it with the most respect.

    • Ken Brand

      March 15, 2010 at 9:24 pm

      “You can’t steal a relationship”, exactly Mike. Cheers. I’m calling to set up a burger conference.

  4. Erica Ramus

    March 15, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I’ve done it, especially with buyers who have out of town agents who don’t know our area. I am listing a house now where the seller moved in 2 years ago. Her agent is 2 hours away and since the sale I have indeed cultivated the relationship.

    • Ken Brand

      March 15, 2010 at 9:25 pm

      Good work! That’s exactly the sorta thing I’m talking about. Cheers.

  5. Missy Caulk

    March 15, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    I have heard of this Ken, but never done it.

    Every January I send out all the HUD reports and a thank you letter to my clients, someone else suggested I do this for the other folks on the other side of the transaction.

    What do you think?

    • Ken Brand

      March 15, 2010 at 10:51 pm

      I think that’s smart and helpful Missy. I also think that a more fruitful relationship can be nurtured by consistent contact. And there’s nothing more memorable that a personal visit. The keys to Top Of Mind Awareness is Relevance, Remarkability and Repetition.

  6. Nashville Grant

    March 16, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Sheer genius. It’s not stealing if no one else is in the picture. I call it my charitably adopt a buyer program.

    • Ken Brand

      March 16, 2010 at 7:27 pm

      I don’t know about genius, but I’m with you, it’s pretty dead-bang simple and obvious to me too. Thanks for your comments NG. Cheers.

  7. Elizabeth Cooper-Golden

    March 17, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Ken, I think this is brilliant. I have really been keeping a close eye on tracking listings of one agent in particular. What I have found is that she was the original listing agent. Years later, her name is appearing again as the sellers list with her, NOT their buyers agent. It struck me then that she must have this idea in play. Genius if you ask me, and so simple to do! I am starting this practice tomorrow and will play catch up with past buyers 🙂 Great info you just shared!

    • Ken Brand

      March 17, 2010 at 8:11 pm

      Thanks Elizabeth. Turns out, it’s the little things that others don’t do, do them consistently, over time, they add up to a BIG difference. Sounds to me like you’re ON IT. Cheers.

  8. Shea Bunch

    March 18, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I’ve heard these called orphaned clients. We all know that you have to find clients anywhere you can and frankly if the selling agent doesn’t care to follow up on past clients ( and probably 75% or more don’t ) there is nothing wrong with the listing agent doing so as long as the former client doesn’t object. As far as the agent goes, once the closing takes place, they are no longer clients.

  9. Ken Brand

    March 18, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I’m with you Shea. Adopt the orphans, everyone deserves love and attention. Thanks for chiming in. Cheers.

  10. Ashley Drake Gephart

    March 18, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    I leave a listing book with all the info I had in it for the house while it was for sale. But I add in all the warranty stuff and manuals that the homeowners had. I then add my card. That is step one in my adopt a buyer program.

    • Ken Brand

      March 18, 2010 at 8:45 pm

      Ashley, that’s brilliant. Thanks for sharing gem. I’ll be sharing that with the team at our next team meeting. Go, go, go:-)

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