At a workshop I was teaching earlier this year, a previous client I hadn’t seen for a year walked in and took a seat. I was surprised that he was attending my email marketing seminar. I approached him smiling. He wasn’t returning my smile. And then he said, “I am here because not keeping in touch with my clients cost me many tens of thousands of dollars in commissions in just the past four months.”
Whoa. I actually felt my heart skip a beat. I asked if I could share his story. He said, “Absolutely. Everyone needs to hear this.”
My client, let’s name him John Doe, is a real estate professional who specializes in very expensive luxury homes here on Maui. It’s a very competitive market. I just did a quick search and there are only 23 homes for sale on Maui that are his niche: over a million dollars. There are also plenty of multi-million dollar condos and vacant lots, but Mr. Doe is very involved with home sales. The 23 homes for sale right now range from $1.2 million to $20 million. There are quite a few people competing for those sales. So it’s not every day that you sell a home in this price range.
And since there are so few sales in this price range annually, losing track of a client who has already bought from you in that price range is especially upsetting. A bird in the hand, right? Losing track of a client is never a good thing, but when you find out they actually buy from a competitor, that is a dagger to the core.
He watched it all unfold – helpless on the sidelines
It was on John’s list of things to do:
- Send out an email. (It’s been several weeks!)
- Send out an email. (It’s been a few months!)
- Send out an email. (OMG – It’s been several months!)
But he didn’t. And then he didn’t even hit send when the “buying season” hit. And he didn’t do anything when he knew that his best clients were probably on their way for their winter holidays. Most of his best clients always come around the same time every year.
John was busy. (Sound familiar?) He told himself he would just call them when he got a free moment. (Sound familiar?)
And when one of his best clients arrived – a couple from the mainland who had bought their “Maui Getaway” home from John a few years earlier – John had no idea. He also had no idea that, when they arrived for their annual month-long visit, they had a new priority: their retirement and their permanent move to Maui in less than a year.
With retirement heavy on their minds on this visit, their “second home” seemed not to fit into their original retirement home dreams. It was not quite big enough. Plus, they decided it would be nice to get something with a detached guest house. Something comfortable for their mainland friends (and especially the grandkids) to stay in when they made the full-time move to Maui. And maybe the guest house should have its own pool and spa – especially for the grandkids!
When the home that John sold them a few years ago showed up on the market, John was crestfallen! He instantly knew that he had stayed out-of-sight and out-of-mind for far too long. It was textbook: The mainland couple just happened to go to an open house and that agent scooped them up. That agent sold them their new home AND got the listing on that original home that John had sold to them. It was all over in just a few months.
Want to Guess at YOUR losses?
I know this example is harsh. Very harsh. Most of us aren’t getting such a clear and absolute monetary value of our losses thrown in our faces. But John knew how much each house sold for – it’s public record. So he knew the full amount of commissions he lost. Even though YOU can’t put an exact number on your losses, here’s the unavoidable takeaway that John wanted me to share:
So when I prattle on and on here, almost shouting about the importance of email marketing, it’s because I want you to succeed. And when I tell you that follow-up, engagement, and creating trusting relationships MUST be done with email marketing, I want you to pay close attention.
Yes, you can “kind-of-sort-of” connect with social media. But it’s a general messaging. And unless you fork over money, you can barely use Facebook anymore. You can post and tweet and pin to your heart’s content. But sending someone a targeted, personalized, expected, and “permission” granted email is still the most powerful marketing tool in today’s world.
As a means of communicating directly, it’s unmatched; a quick reminder of your store hours, or announcing new products, or just staying in touch is imperative. As a means of remaining top-of-mind (especially in the case of an agent with million-dollar clients!) and gaining trust, email marketing has no equal. Except maybe making a phone call… but that’s a rare form of marketing today, right?
Besides, you can’t really “show” a new product over the phone. Of course, snail mail is still useful too, but it’s hard to know if anyone cares or paid any attention to the glossy, expensive mailer you send.
But with email, using a professional program (please consider my favorite, Constant Contact) you know if they opened your email! AND….you know if they clicked to learn more about your offer or to get more information. Real-time feedback!
So…sigh…John really needed to send out a quick email – once-a-month is all he needed – to remain top-of-mind. All it would have taken is a quick “Aloha from Paradise” email, with pictures of sunsets over the ocean and links to the newest restaurant or other buzz-worthy news. It would have meant six-figure paycheck for John. And that’s not even including referrals – such a big key to success; those are also gone.
What’s your plan for keeping your customers and clients engaged?
Don’t have one? Call me. 808-283-2108. Call me and I will make it happen. Or email me, right now! I will crack the whip. I will get you going now.
And, if you recall from the last blog post: Don’t get lulled into thinking you will “start” emailing your list as part of your New Year Plans. Do this now. Who knows how many sales you might make between now and New Year’s Day? (Or how many you will lose?!) Learn from John’s incredible losses.
If you want to grow sales, consider this is the First Day of the Rest of Your Business Life.