July 6, 2016
How to nurture long-term relationships with clients
Finding clients is only the first part of the equation to becoming a successful real estate agent. Once you find clients, you need to keep them engaged through the entire home-buying or selling process, so that they ultimately end up buying or selling with you. After closing, continuing to nurture those relationships ensures that they become a source of ongoing referrals after their transaction with you is over.
Keeping clients engaged from the time they begin working with you through closing and for years beyond is they to making sure they continue to think of you whenever they or someone they know has a need to buy or sell a home, and provide those referrals that will be the bread and butter of your business.
This is about developing relationships that last. How do you make it happen?
Communicate In-process. One of the biggest determining factors of whether your relationships are going to last over the long term is the service and communication you provide to your clients while you’re in process with them. Deciding when and how to communicate can be a challenge, because each client may differ, in terms of what and how often they want to hear from you. Our suggestion is to develop a regular follow-up strategy for each client. This would involve valuable communication delivered at predictable intervals, agreed upon beforehand with the client so that they can know what to expect. The strategy we recommend includes:
Automated listing updates. Set up your active buyer clients to receive daily updates about new and reduced-price listings that are of interest to them. Make sure you review these. Extra-special opportunities? Homes you think will sell quickly? Follow up with a phone call! Sellers should also receive new listings, but for them, a roundup of weekly listings is probably more valuable, since they don’t need to hurry out to see the listings.
Weekly email updates. Send a brief update with any important market news or information that your buyers and sellers might need to know. This could include links to news stories about changes in mortgage rates, bought/sold information for the week in their target areas, or other news or information that might be of interest. The most important thing is that this information goes out regularly. You can set up these emails through your Karma CRM application, using a general template that goes to all clients, but personalized with a few thoughts for each specific client.
Follow-up calls in process. While your buyers and sellers are in process, you should incorporate regular follow-up calls to discuss how you each perceive things are going. Sometimes as a buyer searches for a home, they may find that some of their criteria have changed, or they decide to look in a different neighborhood. Listing clients may need to hear feedback that has been provided from showings and open houses. Regular calls and discussions go a long way toward making sure that you and your clients remain on the same page throughout the process.
Listen. One of the most critical skills you can develop as a real estate agent is the ability to listen well and incorporate feedback from clients. During the buying and selling process, there will be many times that client feedback can help you improve the service you provide. So when challenges arise, rather than defending how you do things, simply listen and assess whether there might be an opportunity to improve. Sometimes clients want daily communication, other times they may be sick of hearing from you, or they may feel you’re not communicating the information they need to know. Or maybe they feel that you’re not doing enough to help them find or sell their home. Whatever the case, listening well can help to defuse these kinds of concerns so that you avoid losing a client.
Be the go-to person. We’ve said before that one of the most important tools in your success is the market knowledge you bring to each client. This includes your network of referrals and resources that clients may need to access, either during the transaction or afterwards. Remind clients and referral resources that if they have a need for anything related to real estate, whether it’s a reasonably priced repair person or an attorney to help with legal matters, you’re the person to ask.
Keep in touch after closing. After the transaction closes, many agents move on to the next sale. Even if their service was great before closing, clients will soon forget you if you forget them. How can you prevent this?
Monthly newsletter. Your past clients should receive the monthly newsletter that goes to all prospects. Make sure it’s packed with useful information about real estate that isn’t just oriented towards buying or selling. Market information that shows how their real estate investment may be performing is always of interest, as well as information about how to care for their home throughout the year. Again, this can be scheduled through your KarmaCRM application to make keeping in touch easy.
Personal notes and phone calls. In this day and age of automated marketing, people still love the personal touch of a handwritten card or a phone call instead of a text. A birthday card, a note with an article or picture that reminded you of the client, or even just a call to check in and ask about FORD (Family, Occupation, Recreation, or Dreams) and learn what is new are important ways to keep in touch with clients over the long term.
Social media. Interacting with past clients on social media is a simple and easy way to stay in touch for years after the sale. Of course, your follow-up after the sale shouldn’t be limited to social media, but it is one way to stay in touch. One of the most effective ways to use social media is to check in on big dates in your clients’ lives and follow up with an in-person phone call or email message through your KarmaCRM app.
Treat every client like your most important client. This is possibly the most important piece of advice, because sometimes it’s easy to forget. Those renters down the street who walked into your open house might be buyers in a year or two. First-time buyers may be looking at a small condo today, but in twenty years they could be selling a million-dollar mansion. That elderly couple downsizing may not buy again … but their children and grandchildren might. Treat every client like they are your most important client. Give them all the same level of follow-up and service; you’ll find that they’ll reward you with loyalty and referrals for as long as you’re still in the business.