Social engineering conceptGrowing and maintaining a list of contacts is one of the most important, if not the most important roles of a real estate agent. So why is it that so many agents tend to forget about repeat business? Peter Knight, the managing director of the U.K.’s Property Academy spoke at the National Association of REALTORS® convention in San Francisco about this very topic.

Knight spoke of his “people first” approach, which fundamentally turns the traditional sales funnel upside down. The traditional sales funnel starts with leads that turn into appointments, then signed business, then closed deals. However, Knight suggests keeping the ball rolling even after sales have closed so that agents can keep past clients in the current funnel of business.

Past studies have shown that the typical agent loses 20 percent of his or her current database each year by not staying in contact with those individuals. The National Association of REALTORS® 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that 42 percent of buyers were referred to their agent through a friend or family member and 12 percent said they used an agent that they previously worked with.

“Among recent sellers who used an agent, 84 percent reported they would definitely (65 percent) or probably (19 percent) use that agent again or recommend to others,” the report stated. “Thirty-nine percent of sellers who used a real estate agent found their agents through a referral by friends or family, and 25 percent used the agent they worked with previously to buy or sell a home.”

This means that a whopping 59 percent of sellers find new agents even though they would have hired an agent they previously worked with. Although there are numerous factors, keeping in contact with past clients would surely decrease this number.