4 ways to build more "Client for Life" relationships

Real Estate Technology with SmartZip

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.


Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Ginger Harper 08/14/2017 07:18 AM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing

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L. Scott Ferguson
Ask4Ferguson - Your House-SOLD Name in Real Estate - West Palm Beach, FL
Sunny Florida Real Estate Professional

Like the #1 of ranking clients! Great info!

Aug 14, 2017 08:42 AM #3
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

It used to be one family stayed with same doctors and dentists for a life time. If you trade homes that agent can be your best go to source. The same goes with gardener, handyman.

With the current insurance limited coverage, people do shop around. Dentists have to work fewer hours.  The life time realtors do not come often.  Those who rely on their personal touch did not look for specialists for their sale.  I am aware of several realtors who had their friends homes foreclosed during the loan modifications because they did not have the skills or gave the wrong advice.  Gardeners, handyman is another thing there is no loyality.   When I get a call people often ask are you still in business?  I thought 90% of realtors drop out you are still around ? If you want repeat business stay in touch can help. Most of the time they want to come back because no one can give you maximum break. Fees and services are the key considerations. Not loyalty anymore.

Aug 14, 2017 08:48 AM #4
Amy Gutschow
RE/MAX - Sheboygan, WI
Professional Real Estate

Great advise!  Probably the most important part of growing our business.

Aug 14, 2017 09:46 AM #5
faye schubert
Keller Williams Tri-Lakes Realty and Lake of the Ozarks - Branson, MO
technology and marketing specialist

This is 4 fantastic points that I will bookmark.

Aug 14, 2017 10:10 AM #6
Janice Hope Zaltman Realtor,LEED AP
United Realty Group - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Love the idea of focusing on clients who rank high on our list . Have not found a review place that crosses all the platforms I think are important to my business yet.

Aug 14, 2017 02:17 PM #7
Gary 'Banana' Houghtaling
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix Real Estate Agent

I find it strange that agents would not keep in touch with their clients. Anna has for years and they come back year after year and refer people to us.  Not only is is profitable but it's the best way to build a sustainable business and create amazing clients for life.

Aug 14, 2017 04:18 PM #8
Bandele Oguntomilade
Bogun Realty and Luxury Homes - Woodland Hills, CA
Your Woodland Hills Real Estate Agent 818-825-6996

This is the Brian Buffini method of working by referrals and creating clinets for life.  Chcek out www.BuffiniAndCompany.com.

Aug 14, 2017 06:50 PM #9
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

This is a great post and a very good reminder how important it is to keep in touch with past clients and sphere.

Aug 14, 2017 07:33 PM #10
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

I try to build long term relationships, 85 % of the time it works... but there is always that other 15%...Endre

Aug 14, 2017 11:16 PM #11
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

This is really the name of the game. Anybody who can converse with multiple cultures, and other awesome stuff

Aug 14, 2017 11:31 PM #12
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I'm really surprised this isn't featured. It should be.

Excellent tips on keeping clients for life!

Aug 15, 2017 09:41 AM #13
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

I like the variety of tips for keeping in contact. I agree that we can rank them and use a contact method that best fits with their ranking.

Aug 15, 2017 10:35 AM #14
Ross Milroy
Ross Milroy Realty, LLC - Miami Beach, FL
Broker/owner specializing in vacation home buyers

I have found that by staying in front of my clients and showing a personal interest in their lives that this is critical to maintaining relationships over the long term (#2). In Miami, this mostly evolves into spending social time together and visting the latest restaurant, hotel scene or coffee shop. Besides for the repeat business, this is always a great set up leading to new referrals.  This is a high "touch" business for sure.

Aug 15, 2017 11:30 AM #15
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

Great information. I like the idea of sending them a gift on their one year buying anniversary. Thanks for the idea. 

Aug 16, 2017 09:21 PM #17
Tracy Santrock
Fonville Morisey/Santrock Realty Group, Inc. - Cary, NC
Raleigh - Cary Realtor/Broker In Charge

Client events are a great way to keep in touch.  My team has one every year that is catered at different model homes in the area so the clients can see all of the latest and greatest!

Aug 17, 2017 05:51 AM #18
Paul McFadden
Paratex - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Great advice. Stay in touch I say

Sep 27, 2017 12:08 PM #19
Eva B. Liland with Century 21 Doug Anderson
Century 21 Doug Anderson - Lancaster, CA
Glad to be of Service

Great ideas, especially the ranking system. Also the gift ideas but you have to stay in touch to make it effective.

Sep 27, 2017 02:49 PM #20
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Watching social cues is really special skill that takes a while to develop if you really want to master things

Sep 27, 2017 11:34 PM #21
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

The ranking system is pretty airtight in the way that you do it. Very good job with the entire package!

Sep 27, 2017 11:35 PM #22
Corey Martin
Martin Presence Group - Ruston, LA
Real Estate and Management Solutions

Great advice! Client retention is important for both reputation and return revenue. 

Sep 28, 2017 11:57 AM #23
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