We all know that return business and referrals are the lifeblood of the most successful real estate agents and businesses.
It’s always good to remind ourselves that during your career buyers will eventually become sellers and sellers will become buyers in a continuous loop. So why not take every opportunity you can to impress and leave a lasting impression on all your clients to encourage return business.
It’s so important not to leave any potential clients hanging. While I was house hunting, I lost count of the number of times I would fill in an online enquiry form for a property and hear nothing back from the agent or they’d get back to me with a brief email a week later. This really isn’t a good look for their time management and customer service skills, especially when time is of the essence and buyers are trying to plan their weekend inspections and auction itinerary.
Set yourself a timeframe for which you aim to get back to all new leads and online enquiries by. This may be within 30 minutes, an hour or maybe even 12 hours of receiving the lead, you probably have a realistic idea of what will be achievable for you and your workload.
It’s a good idea to set up auto replies to your emails, so even if you’re really busy the new client will receive confirmation that their message has been received and you’ll get back to them shortly.
Taking the time to make a phone call for enquiries is the best way to introduce yourself to potential clients and start building up rapport and trust. Another advantage of the phone call follow up is you’ll be able to qualify them so much more easily from their tone of voice and willingness to have a chat compared to email and text message conversations.
One great way to leave a strong impression on clients is to assist them in every way you possibly can from the beginning right through to the end of your business transaction.
Show off your local market knowledge and willingness to be helpful early on at open for inspections by putting together and sharing a property report with clients. Include suburb demographics, an amenities map, comparable recent sales and median prices, basically anything that will help a buyer feel better informed and more confident to buy the property.
Assist vendors with presenting their home at its best by introducing them to a home staging, Feng Shui or decluttering professionals. They'll be impressed by not only your industry connections, but how you have their best interests in mind to achieve the best outcome possible.
Help both vendors and buyers with their moving arrangements by endorsing a reputable local moving company that you have worked with in the past. You could even negotiate a special rate for your clients with a local mover in exchange for referring them a lot of business.
For buyers planning on renovating their new purchase or sellers wanting to renovate before selling, you should have a contact list of local tradies to assist them with organising the reno.
One of the most valuable ways to delight clients is to show your gratitude for their business in the form of a thoughtful gift. This doesn’t have to be anything spectacular or too expensive for your business. The more customised the gift the better, but a card and a bottle of bubbly is always nice if you’re unsure what to get.
Perhaps the clients mentioned they will be renovating their new home, so a Bunnings voucher would be greatly appreciated. Maybe they talked about their love of gardening so a nice plant or tree seedling would be a nice present for their new garden. Better yet, go above and beyond the call of duty and show up on moving day with a pizza and the gift in hand.
A week after I moved into my new place it was so nice to find a beautiful housewarming party starter pack hamper with a personalised thank you card on my front doorstep from Chisholm & Gamon congratulating us on our purchase. It contained locally sourced yummy nibbles, a timber cheese platter and a bottle of champagne. So classy! It’s unexpected surprises like this that people will remember and tell others about when they're in need a real estate agent.
Don’t forget to nurture existing emotional connections with your client base to incite long term return business. Fun ways to follow up and keep in touch with old clients is to send them birthday or Christmas cards, Easter eggs or an anniversary gift of the purchase/sale date.
Having consistent and responsive communication, going out of your way to be extra helpful and surprising clients with a closing gift will put you on the right path to teeing up return business for years to come.
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