We spend so much time talking about the importance of repeat business and referral business… but the reality is that MOST agents have still not come up with the right way to keep in touch naturally over the long-term. The result?
After closing, 70% of sellers say they would “definitely” use their agent again — but only 25% of repeat buyers and sellers actually do.
We aren’t here to lecture you. Creating one client for life relationship is tricky enough, and aiming to keep in close touch with every client you’ve ever had is nearly impossible. Still, there are a few lowkey ways to ensure that you don’t break a bond that could end up paying off — both in business and in friendship — after you walk away from the closing table.
Below are four tactics you can employ to create more long-term, business-boosting client relationships.
1. Rank your clients
You ask for reviews and testimonials after you close, but do you ever bother to ask yourself how much YOU liked working with a client? If you want to focus on creating “clients for life,” then the first step is to wean out the clients who you have loved to work with. Not only will you be excited to keep in touch with them over the years, these people are also more likely to recommend other like-minded friends and family members to you in the future.
Consider adding a “Client Rapport” ranking to your CRM. After each closing, rank the client from 1-5. Anyone who scores at a 4 or 5 should be who you focus on as you create your “Client for Life” relationships.
2. Offer special treatment
You can continue to send the same refrigerator magnet to every person in your sphere, but think about upping the ante for the “4 and 5-ranked” contacts in your database. Consider hosting a VIP wine and cheese event for past clients who love to mix and mingle, send young families a coupon to the local Six Flags, offer up a gift certificate to your past buyer’s new favorite neighborhood restaurant on the one-year anniversary of their home purchase.
By showing you care about them, remember their interests and are willing to spend money or time on them after the sale, you’ll be reinforcing a bond that can continue to grow even as you move further and further away from their initial transaction.
3. Watch for social cues and keep in touch with personal outreach
Many (and maybe even most) clients hire you as they are on the cusp of major life changes. Whether they are prepping to expand their family, downsizing after the kids move away or simply shifting to a neighborhood that better suits their long-term needs, the reason for their move can act as the primary way you keep in touch for the first few years after the sale.
Comment on their baby announcement on Facebook (or better yet, drop by with a branded swaddle blanket or onesie after they have settled into parenthood). Call to ask how their kids are enjoying the teachers in their new school. If you see that a coffee shop has opened up in their new condo building, ask if they would like to meet up for a cup of joe, then ask how they’re settling into their new neighborhood.
As the years go by and you get to know more about them than just their reason for moving, you can settle into a more natural conversation groove. But for the first few months or years after you work with them, don’t worry about focusing on the “safest” conversation topic around — their reason for moving (and hiring you) and how that decision is working out.
4. Give them an easy way to review and refer you
Many agents are afraid to ask for referrals directly, because it can feel awkward and aggressive if not done in the right way. And while most have a way to generate testimonials or reviews, a lot of the platforms that promise to “syndicate” these reviews are clunky; they require an ironclad login and clients may feel turned off having to sign up for a site they never plan to use again. In the age of cyber security threats, not many people want to open up new accounts that require their email and other contact information.
When it comes to asking for reviews and referrals, it can be helpful for agents to ask for client feedback that:
Doesn’t require a login
Can be syndicated across the web
Can be used to generate a review, testimonial or one-to-one referral
Is sent on behalf of the agent, but doesn’t come directly from the agent’s email address
Agents who need such a service can peek at Reach150, a newly acquired client feedback and referral management system from SmartZip. Reach150 is a lowkey, no-nonsense way to automate your requests for referrals and reviews — and you can even turn your positive testimonials into marketing content to help win even more business over time. Get more details on Reach150 here.
Have you mastered the client for life approach? Tell us how!
Everyone has their own best practices for nurturing relationships over the long-term. We’d love to hear yours! Drop us a comment to tell us if you agree or disagree with the above tactics — and how you keep clients on your team for years and years after your initial closing.