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    The fall and winter months are a great time to work on relationship marketing. A good relationship strategy is the key to success. New leads become become clients and clients become referral partners. Here’s a simple checklist of the things you should be doing to strengthen those relationships and turn them into more new business.

    1. Confirm and update the information in your CRM. Eliminate duplicate entries and be sure you have current contact information. If you know you’re never going to connect with a particular individual, weed them out.

    2. Segment your contacts. Obviously you don’t want to send the latest post from your first-time homebuyer’s blog to someone who’s not the currently in the market — or worse, is thinking of selling. A simple approach is to segment into three categories:

    • Seed – These are new contacts who could become clients or referrals.
    • Nurture – These are contacts you are currently working and closed customers that you need to stay in touch with on a regular basis.
    • Harvest – These are past clients and/or reliable referral partners who you wouldn’t hesitate to refer and who you know would be willing to refer you.

    Feel free to break each category into smaller segments. Just keep in mind that the more complicated your segments, the more maintenance is required.

    3. Deliver appropriate content. This is how you go about seeding, nurturing, and harvesting your contacts. Email campaigns, social media posts, your blog, even Facebook messages, are all ways to deliver content. Your goal should be to find what works best for your contacts. Closed clients might be comfortable with one or maybe two emails a month over a year or more, while new clients would receive one per week over a six week period. Remember to always allow your contacts to unsubscribe. After all, being a nuisance is not likely get or keep a potential client or referral. Your content should:

    • Be informative and tailored to the contact’s particular status or situation.
    • Content should also be appropriate for the medium by which it’s being delivered. Don’t put a full blog post on Facebook or Twitter. Introduce the topic with a few sentences and provide a link to the full post.
    • Be concise. People are bombarded with content all day long. Anything too long, poorly written, or not properly proof read is likely to be skipped or deleted. Don’t be afraid to follow up with someone to see if they found the article you sent of interest. If not, what might they like to see?

    4. Follow up. If you want to harvest, you need to cultivate. That means more than just sending out blog posts, emails, and so on. Depending on where the contact is in the overall process will help you determine how often you would want to reach out by phone or in person. Direct contact puts a name with the face. It serves as a reminder of who you are and how you might help. A good “in person” interaction can lead to a referral before you’ve even begun working with a potential client.

    5. Review your contacts on a daily basis. Your CRM should be the jumping off point for your day’s work — because it’s all about relationships.

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