According to longtime broker Richard Ardia, building past-client loyalty is more important than ever.
By Richard Ardia of RE/MAX Heritage Properties, Flanders, New Jersey, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the 45+ years I’ve been in the business, one thing I’ve noticed is a direct correlation between consistent top producers and constant nurturing of past clients. Agents should realize that each and every client represents a potential “tap root” in your career momentum. Each client is connected to a hub of personal contacts, any of whom might be ready to buy or sell a home locally or in another state. If you nourish and feed the “tap root,” you create a bounty to harvest for years. Here are six thoughts on the process:
1. Teach and guide them
Helping others is the key to building client relationships. We aren’t just salespeople; we are educators, and when we help others above and beyond their expectations, they want to help us; hence the paths to referrals are born.
2. Visit the home after the closing
You may have attended the closing and brought a small gift, but that’s not going to be impactful. Within the first few weeks, take the opportunity to visit the clients in their new home and present a personal house-warming gift.
3. Understand they have other options
Most towns have plenty of active agents. When you’ve worked successfully with a client and then fail to keep in touch, you stand a huge chance of losing that client and the referrals they might have sent you. To be frank, if I were a client, I’d be inclined not to reuse an agent I hadn’t seen or heard from for years. The closing is the beginning of client-building, not the end.
4. Show you care without wanting anything in return
Take the time to hand-write notes to your past clients – and never ask them for anything. You don’t need to remind them you’re in the business; they know that already. Instead, just show them you care – with questions about their family and their lives. Recently, an out-of-state broker did exactly that with a handwritten note asking how my wife and I were and saying he thinks of us often. It made an impact – I turned to my wife and said, “You know, if we return to that state, I’m going to use Bob for sure.”
5. Let them show and tell
There are so many television shows about real estate. Interest is at an all-time high. In all of them, everyone stays tuned to see what the buyers did with their new home. Capitalize on this in real life. Visit your clients’ home and be prepared for the “Show and Tell” program they present you. After all, you might have been the only other person who remembers the “before” condition. It’s fun to see what they’ve done with the property.
6. Remember: You move people
We don’t move houses. We move people. And that’s a critical thing to remember. Never become so hardened to the business that you fail to provide your highest level of caring and service. In the end, it’s a people business. So be the best person you can be.
MORE INSIGHTS: Richard Ardia published a real estate book in 2007 that is available via Amazon.com.