Most salespeople rely on return clientele to keep sales steady. Returning clients are important for two reasons: they represent sales that you didn’t have to invest in new marketing for, and they are more likely to refer others to your business.
Real estate agents have some special considerations to make when it comes to return clientele. Since homes are often a long-term purchase, agents must find ways to keep in touch over a long period of time but not be annoying. Annual cards can easily come off as junk mail. Newsletters are also likely to be ignored. Giving gifts can be a nice surprise, but there is also a minefield of mistakes you can make when giving gifts to clients. Below are some actionable ways to maintain value in your clients’ lives and optimize the opportunity for referrals and return business.
Impart Personalized Valuable Information
When you help someone buy or sell a home, you learn a lot about them. You learn about their job, what their kids are doing, what their hobbies are. You may learn what type of restaurants they like or what their favorite movies are. When you happen along information that they might find useful, pass it along. This could be as simple as “I saw this show was coming to town and knew you’d be interested” or more like “I know you were looking for more information on debt management- here’s a great article I found!” You can also create resource lists with tips on how to prevent home hazards and other useful information for homeowners.
Offer Your Connections
Probably the most valuable resource a real estate agent can offer their clients is their network. Below are types of businesses you can create relationships with to provide resources for your clients:
- Attorneys: You’ll likely have close relationships with attorneys for filing certain kinds of paperwork. Be sure to recommend their services to your clients. Just mentioning how you work with attorneys can increase the likelihood a client will come to you should they ever need help filing for a short sale, foreclosure, or loan modification. Make it clear you can help them get the legal help they need and determine the best course of action for their situation.
- Tax Professionals: Buying a home can drastically change how taxes are filed, especially for those who have never owned a home before. Have a list of tax professionals to refer your clients to. You can even send out a reminder/recommendation during tax season. That is one annual card that serves a useful purpose, rather than just putting your name in front of them. You can also use this as a chance to remind them about important home-related tax deductions and credits they may qualify for.
- Construction Crews, Interior Designers, Landscapers: If you know a client is planning renovations, it’s great to refer them to quality local construction companies you know will treat them well. Same goes for interior designers and landscaping professionals.
Referring your clients to other services benefits you in a variety of ways. It allows you a reason to remind them you exist, and it also shows them your value. It may bring them back to you for other recommendations, further cementing your relationship. It also enables you to build relationships with other professionals who in turn may refer their clients, friends, and family members to you.
Thank them for Referrals
The one time a letter and gift isn’t just cheesy is after a client has referred a new client to you. Be sure to send a thank you note, and include a gift card or small gift that speaks to you remembering their interests. This shows your gratefulness and encourages them to refer others in the future.
What are your methods for keeping in touch with clients without coming off as too advertorial or annoying? Share in the comments!
About the author: Jeriann Watkins is a blogger from Boise, Idaho. She spends her days writing about her student loan debt, wedding planning, and other aspects of her busy life. Check out her blog: dairyairhead.com