As a real estate professional, your relationship with your clients is the most important factor in determining your success. Without a way to nurture real estate client relationships, develop long-term clients, word-of-mouth recommendations, and a positive image in your community, your business runs a large risk of failing. With return clients you can spend more time "getting down to business" and less time looking for new clients. Word-of-mouth advertising, which can be the best kind there is, flows freely from satisfied clients.
1. Get Organized
Create a database of all your clients (present and past). Include: full name, nick name, address, home phone, office phone, cell phone, fax number, e-mail address, and website address. Include a link to each client’s file on your computer and add a "notes" section where you can keep track of important details about your client, like birthdays, anniversaries, children’s names, preferences and specific interests - even social media contact information. Getting all your clients' information organized is crucial to set yourself up for success in following these next steps.
2. Be Thoughtful
It's the little things in life that we remember, right? There are so many small gestures you can do to make your clients feel nurtured and happy about working with you. You could:
- Send cards on holidays, birthdays, anniversaries... whenever a thoughtful note is appropriate, send a card! Remembering a client’s birthday or anniversary shows you appreciate them and let's them know you're listening!
- Write personal thank you notes. Nothing beats a handwritten note! Include a handwritten thank you with invoices or right after the time of closing. Even a simple email will suffice if you really can't find the time to write something (the key here is that you're letting your client know you care)!
- Gifts go a long way. Use your judgement here - gift giving may seem over the top to some clients, and amazingly thoughtful to others. Give a gift when the gratitude you want to express can't be summed up in a note card. Consider having a "go to" gift (such as a gift certificate to a restaurant or favorite local shop) for clients that refer you business.
3. Communicate Often.
Call, text, or e-mail clients frequently while you are working with them. Buying or selling property can be an emotional process for some. Be attune to your clients' needs by providing updates and being proactive with communication. This keeps emotions at ease and paves a smooth path for success. When not actively working with a client, keep in touch through social media, e-mail, monthly newsletters, or snail mail notes. Keeping in touch with past clients lets them know you haven't just forgotten about the business they gave you. Staying in contact shows you appreciate having had them as a client, and that you are available to work with in the future.
4. Do a
Good Great Job.
The single most important thing you can do to nurture your relationships with your clients is to do great work and get it done on time. Real estate is such a competitive marketplace and holding yourself to a high standard of work ethic establishes your reputation and translates to a successful business built on trust and reliability. This doesn't happen overnight, but with consistency and sticking to it, you will show your clients that you're a cut above.
5. Be Honest.
Really. In a business relationship honesty truly is always the best policy. If you are unable to meet a deadline or not qualified to perform a specific task, be honest about it; even if you do not realize it until after you have agreed to the work. Honesty garners respect and respect must be mutual in a healthy relationship. Nurture your relationships with your clients by always being honest.
This article about nurturing client relationships would not be complete without including when NOT to nurture a client relationship! All clients are not equal - some will cause you such aggravation, stress, and frustration that the relationship will not only be unsatisfying, but unprofitable. When you encounter a client like this, often times the best approach is to be honest and bow out gracefully (that's a whole other blog post!) while maintaining your professionalism. Get rid of a bad client as soon as you can; your time is much better spent nurturing relationships with a good clients. Good clients generally refer other good clients... and a these clients can be worth their weight in gold.