We have all heard the old adage that it is easier to keep an existing client than to find a new one. So why do we so often look to uncharted territory when striving to build and strengthen our client base? By taking special steps to help cultivate and build strong relationships with your past and current clients, you will discover that there is more promising potential to grow and develop relationships with existing clients than seeking out new ones. Here are a few simple techniques to keeping in touch with your referral gold mine, otherwise known as your existing client base.

Give your Service the “Wow” Factor:

We constantly check with top-performing agents to find out what helped them become so successful. These agents tell us that the vast majority of their business comes from repeat or referral customers, so they know what it takes to make their customers happy. We call it adding the “wow” factor to your services, as in “Wow, I can’t believe my real estate agent did such a nice thing for me.” When customers say that about you, they are going to recommend you to others and come back to you for their next transaction. Judie Crockett, a member of the Crockett Team in Mentor, Ohio, creates a “wow” factor by mailing out new address labels to buyers after the offer letter is signed. The labels include a small photo of the clients’ new house. Customers love these labels and they are so impressive they once even saved a deal when a buyer tried to back out due to financing problems. The buyer’s wife said she would borrow money from her parents if necessary, but she was not backing out because she had already sent out her new address labels.

Add Value to Your Client Relationships:

What is the actual impact of what you do? When you become consciously aware of the value that you provide to your clients through your work, you allow yourself to focus more deliberately on increasing that value and making it more apparent in your daily work. Clarify which activities provide the most value in your clients’ mind and focus on conveying this value, not the costs of your services. No one will complain about your fees if you can show them you were a worthwhile investment. In the end, your clients don’t necessarily care how many houses you sold last year or what your annual sales revenue was. The real essence of the value to them is all about the actual impact of the services you provide. The creation of value in everything that you do, and your contribution to it, is the very thing that delivers your paycheck and will be the most rewarding part of your job.

Stay in Touch Regularly:

The power of frequent contact should not be underestimated. Research tells us that you have to get in front of clients often to win repeat business. Lifelong clients are developed through regular, frequent and consistent contact.

Here are a few easy ideas for keeping in touch with your clients and turning your customers into repeat clients:

  • Once a year, send out replacement 9-volt fire alarm system batteries with one of your address labels attached.

  • Send out gift certificates for local restaurants every time your clients give you a referral.

  • Get personal by keeping a record of key dates, such as birthdays and anniversaries, and send them a card to let them know you remembered.

Ultimately, you can’t buy customer loyalty…you must earn it. Your past clients are your very best market, as they will return to you and refer others to you as long as you stay in touch and provide excellent service. Past clients can lead to a steady flow of new clients through people you have already built a base of rapport and trust, and an increase in the level of referral and repeat business.

Howard Brinton is a real estate sales motivational speaker and the founder and CEO of Star Power Systems, a sales training organization that offers tapes, books, videos, conferences and a club that distributes selling techniques from the nation’s top producers.

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