MODULE 8: YEARLY CHECKUP
Your doctor. Your dentist. Your financial advisor. Even your mechanic. All of these professionals recommend a yearly checkup. And for good reason.
Things change. Your situation changes. Your goals change.
Why should your position as a real estate professional be any different?
Do you currently recommend a yearly checkup to your clients? If not, it is time!
(and if you do, go through the entire module and pick up a few things you might not already be doing)
Think about what happens during your yearly checkups with another professionals. What do they do or ask?
Normally they do a quick review of your current situation. Then they ask some questions about what has transpired since your last visit to see them. Followed by their assessment and recommendations.
If you came in for your yearly checkup for the doctor and they immediately started poking and prodding without any explanation or discussion ahead of time it would be pretty uncomfortable.
The same holds true for the yearly checkups with your clients. Of course, you wont be poking and prodding them physically but it can feel similar to your client if you bombard them with direct questions that aren’t positioned properly.
You will want to start out the yearly checkup similar to any phone call using F.O.R.D. or F.R.O.G. This will naturally uncover any opportunities that may lead to a deeper discussion you may want to have as their real estate professional.
Hi [name], I’m excited to catch up today, find out what’s going on in your life and uncover any opportunities I can assist you as your real estate professional/advisor/agent.
Before I jump in I’d love to hear what’s been going on since we last talked.
How’s the family…
Have you been on any fun trips recently…
How’s work going…
It sounds like you’ve had a great/tough/exciting year. I wanted to talk with you today because I feel a professional duty and personal desire to assist my clients long-term. Your home is likely one of your largest assets and it is important to manage that asset and make sure it is delivering what you need it to deliver.
To help me do that I have a few questions for you, would that be alright?
After some casual conversation about what’s going on with them you will have a pretty good idea of where they are currently and maybe even some insight into what has transpired over the past year.
But if your doctor were to ask you how you’re doing you would likely answer with something along the lines of, “I’m good” or “I’m doing fine.”
Not until more pointed questions are asked or a bit of poking and prodding are done will the truth be uncovered.
You might be thinking this will be uncomfortable and that you don’t want to make your clients uneasy with personal questions. What you should consider is that it is your professional responsibility to make sure they are well taken care of and if you do it right you can keep the conversation light and friendly without creating an uncomfortable situation.
Here are the questions you might want to ask to assess any changes that have occurred over the past year that may help you help them:
- Can you confirm the best phone number for you is still XXX-XXX-XXXX and email is firstname.lastname@example.org?
- Are you and your family completely comfortable with your current home and does it meet all of your needs?
- Is the payment still affordable for you?
- If you could wave a magic wand and change one or two things about your home what would you change?
- Have you had any changes in the number of people living in the home or expect any changes in the next one to two years?
- What is your best guess on the length of time you continue to see yourself living in this home?
- Have you considered the idea of buying any real estate for an investment (rental or second home)?
- Have you completed a review of your current homeowners insurance to ensure you still have adequate coverages and deductibles?
- If not, would you like a recommendation to an insurance professional I trust to complete this for you?
- Do you have adequate life insurance in place in case of an unfortunate event that will protect the family and payoff the mortgage?
- If not, would you like a recommendation to a professional that can advise you on your options?
- On that same topic, do you have an estate plan and will in place?
- If not, would you like a recommendation to an estate attorney who can assist you in setting that up to make sure you are protected?
- Have you experienced any challenges or have any questions related to real estate that I can assist you with?
During the assessment you will take notes, ask additional questions as needed to clarify but you will not provide your recommendation.
Why not provide your recommendation during the assessment?
Because you need all the information in order to do so. For example, let’s say they really don’t like their kitchen which came up when you asked about the magic wand to change anything about their home. You could immediately provide a referral to a contractor you trust to assist them with a remodel but then you later uncover that due to a change in their family size and their desire to move in the next year that it would actually be better to sell and buy.
Just like a doctor you will want to get all the information to understand the whole situation before providing a diagnosis (recommendation).
When you provide your recommendation you need to be very careful. If not done properly this opportunity can turn into a situation where your client feels they are being led to do something that is good for you rather than them.
Here’s a story to explain. We’ve been looking for a good dentist. And it has been no easy task. Sometimes the receptionist is rude. Or they are disorganized. But the biggest issue is when it feels like they are encouraging treatments to make more money rather than looking out for our best interests.
Whether it is a special treatment offer, screening procedure, preventative measure, whatever. Sometimes it just comes off as how can we get more money out of you. And when that happens, even if it is for our own good, we look for another dentist.
If, on the other hand, the dentist or hygienist were to thoroughly provide facts and details about what’s going, what the options are along with their professional recommendation I can make an informed choice with their guidance.
This is how your recommendation should be offered:
- What I heard was…is that correct?
- Based on your situation I see a few options…
- My professional advice is…
What questions can I answer for you?
- What additional resources can I provide to assist you with any decisions you need to make?
- When would be a good time to reach back out…
Although optional, it is highly recommended that you offer some complimentary services to your clients during the yearly checkup.
Offering such services shows that you are vested in their success and will allow you to show your professionalism.
Complimentary services may include:
- Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
- Copy of county assessment
- Remodel recommendations for highest ROI
- List of recommended service providers
- Neighborhood analysis for potential move
You, hopefully, see the benefit of completed yearly checkups with your clients.
You now have a framework for completing the yearly checkups with the flow, assessment and recommendations.
Now we need to execute the yearly checkups.
Yearly checkups are always best done in person, whenever possible. But there may be many reasons that’s just not always feasible.
They may not live nearby. You may not have the time. They may not have the time. Whatever.
Here are the options, in order from most ideal to least idea:
- See them face to face
- Meet via video conference (Zoom.us)
- Complete a phone call
- Send an email with online survey link
- Email with attached document to return
- Mail them a document to complete and return
In Database Gold: Go Deeper you identified your top 20%. If you don’t have the time to meet with every member of your database yearly you should prioritize meeting with (face to face or by phone) your top 20%.
Depending on the size of your database completing yearly checkups with everyone, or even your top 20%, may not be possible.
Let’s say you have a database of 1,500 people. Your top 20% would be 300 people which, evenly divided throughout the year, would be 25 yearly checkups a month. With some months greater than others due to seasonal volume fluctuations.
For example, July is probably one of your busiest months selling homes and helping buyers. Which means that is likely one of your highest closing volume months also. You may simply not be able to handle the July volume and complete your yearly checkups for all of your past clients who closed in July.
We’ve got a solution for you BUT…
Whenever possible you should attempt face to face appointments or, at least, phone calls to complete your yearly checkups. Don’t let yourself off the hook by using this technology solution as you will not get nearly the return you would otherwise.
With that disclaimer out of the way, here is the technology solution you can use for yearly checkups, if necessary.
Small promises, kept repeatedly over time creates trust.
Your yearly checkups are an incredible opportunity to build trust and demonstrate your professionalism…if you do it right!
Don’t assume that if you call one time to attempt to schedule a yearly checkup appointment that everyone will either answer the phone or call you back.
Your clients are busy and may not consider this to be a priority. You should follow up multiple times (3 times is recommended). Keep in mind your clients may be out of town or have a big event occurring. When you follow up you will want to leave enough time (1 week is recommended) between your calls you don’t feel like a stalker and allow for whatever may have been happening at the time of your first call to pass before your next.
If someone happens to miss their scheduled appointment or call, simply follow up several times to attempt to reschedule.
When you schedule a checkup with one of your clients be sure to block it out on your calendar and/or add it to your CRM. You do not want to miss it.
Make sure to call on time…one of your small promises that builds trust.
During the checkup you may identify things you can do to provide value to your client. Whether it is one of the complimentary services offered or something that came up during the recommendations make sure to set an expectation with your client on when you will deliver…and then deliver by that time.
- Create your checklist for things you want to discover and opportunities you may uncover during your Yearly Checkup.
- Create your list of complimentary services so you have them handy when you call.
- Create a system or set reminders to check in with every client near the anniversary of their closing.