There’s an old saying in business: “A customer can make you money. A repeat customer can make you rich.”
That’s certainty true for real estate agents.
Think about it. Which would you rather have? A client who uses your services for one transaction and then you never hear from them again. Or a client who hires you for each of their moves throughout the years — and along the way recommends you to numerous friends and neighbors.
We’re guessing you prefer that second scenario!
However, to cultivate repeat business and real estate agent referrals, you need to focus on building relationships. In other words, you must change your Realtor marketing mindset from “getting the transaction” to “getting a lifelong client.”
How do you do that? Here are a dozen proven ways to build solid, long-term relationships with your real estate clients.
- Understand the possibilities Cultivating long-term client relationships isn’t an esoteric exercise. On the contrary, it can predictably generate real estate leads and referrals. On average, a homeowner moves every 5–7 years and meets 2–3 people each year who are seeking real estate help. Over a five-year period, the potential is 6+ transactions. (Cha-ching!)
- Start with a solid foundation It’s difficult to build a positive, long-term relationship with an unhappy client. That’s why you need to give each client your best and ensure they’re satisfied with their experience working with you. Think of client satisfaction as the foundation to building relationships. The more solid that foundation is, the more likely a client will become loyal to you,
- Follow-up with value, not requests A request-based follow-up is, “Are you thinking of moving this year?” That’s often a turn-off for most clients. A value-based follow-up is, “Let’s schedule an annual checkup to determine your home’s market value and see if it’s still meeting your needs.” Most clients will readily see the value in that.
- Check-in regularly after the transaction The worse sin a real estate agent can make is to disappear after moving day. Clients will feel abandoned. So be sure to check in regularly during the 90 days after the move. The ideal schedule is: moving day, 1 week, 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days. Sound overwhelming? Consider an automated real estate client referral program to remind you each day
- Call or email each quarter It takes less than five minutes to make a call or send an email. Yet, to the client, that speaks volumes. It shows them you care and that you’ll always be there — with advice, information or help — whenever they need it. By staying in touch, you’re demonstrating that you’re referral-worthy.
- Visit past clients once a year Don’t be a stranger. When a client sees you in person (or via an online meeting), that helps build the relationship. An in-person visit optimizes the “know, like and trust” factor. Make it a point to check-in annually.
- Use a real estate direct mail newsletter service An excellent real estate newsletter is inherently valuable to clients, particularly if it contains helpful tips, news and articles. Be sure to include a personal message from you. The ideal frequency is once a month.
- Host a client appreciation event There are many approaches to this. You can sponsor a first-time buyers’ seminar (or online webinar), organize a picnic or movie night, or even set up an online event on Facebook. Such events show clients that you appreciate them. It gives you a venue to grow those relationships — which inevitably results in more real estate referrals. Also, events are an effective way to attract new real estate agent leads.
- Send cards and greetings Everyone remembers and often keeps a handwritten card or note. So, take advantage of that technique to build relationships with clients. Use a good real estate CRM to prompt you of birthdays, moving anniversaries, and so forth. Keep your CRM updated with dates and events important to your clients.
- Follow your clients on social media Chances are, you have at least a few clients who are active on Facebook, Instagram or one of the other popular social media sites. The fact that they’re active means social media is important to them. It’s their way of connecting. So be a part of that. Follow your client’s posts. When appropriate, “Like”, “Share” or “Comment”.
- Return calls and emails promptly Your past clients should always get the VIP treatment. When they reach out to you for any reason, get back to them as soon as possible. Ideally, the same day. Even a simple “Just curious” question from a client about the market can eventually lead to that person listing or giving you a real estate agent referral.
- Thank clients LOUDLY for referrals When you receive a referral from a client, thank them for recommending you. Let them know, in no uncertain terms, how much you appreciate their support. Be sure to call them. Also, send a thank you card. Studies show that if clients see that you’re thankful for their recommendation, they’ll recommend you again.
According to an article in BizJournals.com, you’re five times more likely to get a repeat sale or referral from a past customer than you are to convert a new lead. So, it makes sense to focus at least part of your Realtor marketing efforts on building relationships with your client base. Your return on investment — all those repeats and referrals over the years — is high.
Takeaway: Take a look at how you’re staying in touch with past clients. Explore how you can build those relationships. If you haven’t done so already, explore your real estate marketing options and start using a relationship-building real estate newsletter service expertly designed to get client referrals.