Client Retention Will Make You Rich!
Did you know that customer retention is your key to never making another cold call again? It is easier to retain a current customer than to develop new ones, so what do we need to do to build our business on endless referrals? It’s a lot easier than you think, and you’ll save a boat load of time, energy and money!
Retention strategy is always a smart one for businesses that offer consumable services. But real estate does not lend itself to fast consumption. When customers buy or sell a property they usually don’t need another property as a main residence for at least a couple of years. So what can an agent do to bridge the gap between the buy and the next buy?
For agents, keeping the connection starts with four important points:
- Why would a customer choose you to help them with their real estate needs?
- Did your customers have an exceptional experience working with you?
- What systems do you have in place to continue the relationships?
- How do you leverage those customers into future referrals by creating advocates and emissaries who will spread the good word about you throughout their sphere of influence…forever!?
Forrester Research reports that just a 10% improvement in a customer’s experience can translate into 1 BILLION dollars of increased revenue! So even a slight improvement in how you connect with your customers can dramatically improve your bottom line.
Let’s look at how you can really begin building clients for life instead of being a one-time service provider:
- Do start the relationship with a brand strategy that directly identifies what you do and who you do it for. When you have a given area of expertise, you will attract those prospects that are looking specifically for what you do and where you do it. Jack Cotton, rookie turned super producer, started working in Cape Cod’s high-end real estate with a broken down bike and now ranks as the number one choice of real estate professionals to handle luxury homes in that area. Jack has earned the title “Cape Cod’s Luxury Home Expert” because he studies every transaction and offers an annual report to each of his Cape Cod homeowners. His website, social media channels and books make him the undisputed king of his area. His BRAND is his expertise. Choosing a specific area of specialization in real estate is the key to getting customers to come to you. No need to be limited to a certain geographical area! Think market verticals, like first time buyers, military specialization, golf communities, condos, farms….the list is endless! Start with a brand to help customers and prospects come to you.
- Great service doesn’t impress the savvy customer of today. Buyers and sellers are looking to be “wowed” in ways that help you stand apart from your competition. Expertise is on the top of the list, but having a “great experience” during the process of working with an expert is mandatory. The experience starts from the minute you make the connection. If the lead came through your agent website, jump on the response often and more often. Should the lead come through a call, set up systems that give that prospect an immediate automated response and follow up with a personal call as soon as possible.
- Philadelphia top producer Craig Lerch Jr. makes the showing of property a different experience. He equips his car with a small cooler stocked with beverages, snacks and a clip board with a short form. The cooler makes for comfort throughout the process, and the form gets pertinent information from the prospect like birthdays, pets’ names and more to customize ongoing communication and connection with the client.
- Marsha Sell, Atlanta’s number one agent for multiple years, has a small basket of treats waiting at the hotel where her out of town customers will be staying during their house hunting visit. It’s the small personal touches that cement an ongoing connection. She then nutures her client relationships by continuing to add value and support after the sale.
- Top coach Verl Workman continues to drill his coaching clients that systems are the key to doing more business more easily. You positively must have a software system that captures and supports a clean and vibrant database of customer, client, and prospect and referral resources information. Gary David Hall explores the various data base options available in his session on how to cultivate and generate more leads. The formula to keep clients for life is: Consistency + Value (of Messages, reports, updates) + Personal contact equals repeat business
- After you acquire a customer, the challenge is keeping the connection alive so that you can earn the right to ask for referrals in a way that helps them to help you. Simply asking for referrals can be awkward, making it hard to come up with someone they know who may need your services. Look for easier ways to secure referrals. Mike White, offered easy tips on leveraging strategic partnerships for ongoing warm referrals by implementing his “Referral Triangle.” Setting up other important resource connections for your clients, especially transferees, is a key component of leveraging professional services. Michael recommends that we contact all parties tangent to the real estate transaction and beyond, like accountants, attorneys and financial planners to offer reciprocal referrals for easier prospecting.
- Offer the personal touch. Canadian ranch and farm expert, Tim Hammond shared his tips on retention with unique marketing activities that have proven to keep his name and services top of mind. Tim dominates his area of Saskatchewan by branding himself to farms and ranch real estate. He gives GPS units as well as a high-end knife set as closing gifts, both which sport his name and logo.
- Super star Leslie McDonnell throws an end of year holiday party annually (for over 15 years without fail), and her customers love it. They get a “save the date” electronically at Thanksgiving so they have plenty of time to put this event on their calendars.
- Another great tip that Leslie uses to stay connected all year long is by offering monthly contests and drawings from her website. She has a “theme of the month.” Premium drawings include gas cards, baseball tickets or dinners. This “trains” the clients to keep coming back year after year.
- Start an annual pie give away. Linda Hall in Fort Mill, S.C., offers an annual Thanksgiving pie giveaway to her past clients and referral partners. Her team ties in a “food bank donation” to help her customers help the community. The past clients choose between apple and pumpkin to “reserve” the free pie. The Linda Hall team raves that this activity generates impressive referrals and keeps them rolling in even after the holidays.
Start with at least one idea a month and find out what works best for your clientele. The bottom line is that referrals will make you rich… but you must stay connected!