Updated February 2023
You, dear real estate agent, are one smart cookie.
You’ve already figured out that the best way to stay top of mind and garner referrals is to consistently stay in touch with your clients. And savvy professional that you are, you also know that a quick pop-by during which you deliver a token of appreciation for your client’s business is a simple way to ease into a conversation, help you stand out from the crowd, and encourage them to remember you.
We’re here to help with free resources that you can download, print, and use during your real estate pop-bys. We also offer advice on how to plan your visits, and we review best practices to help you be efficient and maximize your ROI as you make your rounds.
A wide selection of free pop-by tags, cards, and gift-card holders
The holidays are a natural time to stop by to say hello to your best clients, and we have a large assortment of holiday pop-by gift tags and cards that reflect a variety of themes. All you need to do is download your selection, print, and attach it to a small gift. Try them all, including:
- Valentine’s Day pop-bys
- St. Patrick’s Day pop-bys
- Mother’s Day pop-bys
- Fourth of July pop-bys
- Halloween pop-bys
- Christmas pop-bys
- New Year’s pop-bys
But don’t just wait for a holiday—take advantage of these versatile pop-by cards designed to reflect the seasons and other notable times of the year. Among the ones you’ll want to check out are:
- Winter, spring, summer, and fall pop-bys
- Cold and flu season pop-by (this one is exceptionally popular)
- Back-to-school pop-bys
We’ve also got tags, cards, and gift-card holders suitable for even the most spontaneous moments. Take your time to peruse our entire selection of printables—you’ll find something for every taste and need.
To make things especially simple and accommodate those who prefer a done-for-you solution, we’ve selected a seasonally-appropriate printable for each month of the year and put them together in a 12-Month Pop-by Printable Bundle. Rather than sort through our many options every time you go to see a client, you can just download the bundle to have a gift tag or card available when you need it.
Finally, many of our clients like to bring along promotional copies of their personally branded magazines when visiting clients. (While not a free solution, each magazine still costs less than a typical greeting card.)
In addition to having us automatically mail their magazines to their list of core recipients, many of them will also order copies to use during pop-bys or leave-behind pieces when door knocking. Some even keep extra copies in their cars because they never know when they’ll meet a potential new client. (Branded with their image, logo, and contact information, these magazines are far more impressive and memorable than a traditional business card.) If you’re curious, you can get a free PDF sample by clicking here.
Like everything else in business, putting a plan in place will make executing your pop-by strategy much easier. Prior to stopping by the homes of your clients, you will need to consider locations, times, and the budget you want to stick to.
This is where our free Pop-By Tracking Sheet can help. It’s an editable Excel spreadsheet you can use to record the clients you plan to visit, the dates of your visits, who you were able to connect with, the gifts you provided, and the referrals each client sends your way. You can also use it to group your clients by location to maximize your efficiency (and save gas!).
Another thing to consider when planning your pop-bys are the local laws and ordinances regarding door-to-door solicitation. There are communities where this practice is against the law, and you certainly don’t want to run afoul of the legal system nor do you want to annoy homeowners. And don’t leave your items in US mailboxes—that’s illegal too.
But don’t despair. Try a reverse pop-by instead where your clients come to you!
A popular idea, especially around Thanksgiving, is to offer your clients a free pie for their dinner table. Invite them to pick it up at the bakery where you’ve formed a strategic partnership with the owner and where you will be to greet your neighbors and give out the pies. You could modify this idea in dozens of ways:
- On a Monday morning, you could reserve a few hours where people stop by for a free cup of coffee and doughnut to start their week;
- On a hot summer’s day, you could rent an ice cream truck to provide a cold treat courtesy of you; or
- On a weekend afternoon, invite folks to swing by while they do their errands to grab a hot dog.
Set your budget
It is important to figure out how much you want to spend before creating a pop-by plan because costs could easily get out of control. We’re giving you our designs for free, but you still need to consider printing costs, transportation costs like gas, and the cost of your gifts. Even small bottles of hand sanitizer can add up when you’re purchasing a hundred of them.
But don’t shy away from doing pop-bys because of the cost. Small, token gifts can be incredibly effective. For instance, if you spend $100 on pop-by gifts that you deliver to 20 people, and you get a referral from just one person that pays you a six percent commission on a $250,000 home . . . well, that’s a worthwhile investment!
To get the most bang for your buck, consider the audience you are targeting with your pop-bys. We suggest you start with people you have worked with in the past year and then track your referral rate from this group. This will help you determine who and how many of these clients to visit again.
After connecting with this group, spend some time following up with clients you haven’t spoken to recently. You can choose to connect through email marketing, social media marketing, direct mail marketing, texting them, or calling them. (If you’re not sure what to say, check out these scripts.) Then you can begin to slowly add them into your pop-by rotation.
Plan your time
Pop-bys do take more time and effort than merely sending a client an email or text message, but the reward is a more memorable and valuable client experience.
The tracking sheet referred to above will help you save time by grouping clients by proximity to one another.
To save yourself more time, download any of our free pop-by tags or cards, including the 12 Month Bundle, and send it to your favorite print center. Have them print out enough copies for just a few months or for the entire year. You can maximize your time savings by asking them to cut your printed items to size. Having your tags and cards ready to go can give you some extra motivation to make your visits since you won’t want them to go to waste.
Best practices for real estate pop-bys
Like all your customer touch points, pop-bys are a means of marketing your services, and, as such, there are better and worse ways to execute your strategy. What follows are some strategies that will ensure you maximize the ROI of your pop-bys and enjoy the interactions you have with clients.
Include additional customer touch points
Part of what we preach on a daily basis to our clients—and anyone who wants to listen, really—is that you need to follow up with your clients on a regular basis in order to stay top of mind with them. Staying in touch is the best way to make sure they remember and mention your name or business when a friend or family member brings up a need they have for services you offer.
As effective as pop-bys are, they’re best used as one part of an overall follow-up strategy that employs multiple customer touch points, including digital, direct mail, calls, texts, social media, and face-to-face interactions. If you want to simplify your touch points while augmenting their impact, then check out our interview with John Carpenter, an award-winning agent, trainer, coach, and speaker. John offers some great advice to real estate agents about how to keep your customer touch points varied so they don’t become desensitized to your marketing.
Keep your visits short
These customer touch points are called pop-bys for a reason! You want to keep them short—three to five minutes tops. Funny thing is, it may be hard to extract yourself from a conversation once it gets going, so here are a few tips to help you manage your time:
- Set the expectation. Call your client before you show up. Let them know you are on your way to a meeting (which would be your next pop-by) but wanted to stop by quickly to say hello and drop off a small gift.
- Leave your car running. An idling car is a clear indicator that you can’t stay long.
- Don’t go inside. But if there is no way around it, stay close to the entryway and don’t sit down.
Ask for referrals
A face-to-face visit in which you provide a gift is the perfect time to remind your clients that your business is sustained by referrals.
You’ve gone out of your way to see them, you’ve done something nice by providing a gift, and you’ve given of your time to have a conversation, all of which means far more to many people than you might imagine. They’ll want to return the favor, so let them know you appreciate any referrals they can send your way. Your request will be welcomed because it relieves them of the burden of thinking about how to best reciprocate.
Send a short, handwritten note letting your clients know you enjoyed seeing them. If you weren’t able to meet, leave your gift if you can and then send them a text saying you’re sorry you missed them. These notes are another touch point and well worth the effort.
Track your ROI
It’s important to track your results: you can’t measure data that doesn’t exist, and you can’t tell what’s working and what isn’t if you don’t have anything to review.
As mentioned above, you can use our free Pop-By Tracking Sheet or another method of your choice to track the referrals you receive as a result of a pop-by. Tracking will help you justify the time and money you’ve spent against the ROI. But don’t rely on one month’s data—track your results for several months to get a representative data set.
You can also choose to reverse engineer your results to determine how effective your pop-by plan is. (It’s not as difficult as it might sound.) Let’s say you get one referral for every 15 pop-bys, and you want 20 referrals in the coming year. You’ll need to conduct 300 pop-bys in the next 12 months, or 25 per month to reach your goal. Here’s the math: 15 x 20 = 300, then 300 ÷ 12 = 25.
As a real estate agent, the most powerful and perhaps only true way to distinguish yourself from your competition is to provide outstanding service. But people have short memories, so if you are going to stay top of mind, you need to consistently remind them of the value you provide.
Pop-bys are one of the most effective ways real estate agents can keep in touch with their clients and continue to provide value. Your commitment to maintaining face-to-face communication with your clients, nurturing your relationships with them, and providing continued value will distinguish you from 99 percent of agents—and that’s exactly what you want. Let those other agents keep chasing their next lead while you enjoy the referrals and repeat business that strong client relationships provide.