Let’s face it: Referrals are the best source of business a real estate agent can receive. There’s no better feeling than receiving a call that sounds something like: “Hello Rebecca, this is Jane Smith. I am friends with Joe Shmoe, who purchased a home with you last year, and I would like to sell my home and buy a new one with you.”
On the other hand, the absolute worst feeling as an agent is logging onto Facebook and seeing past clients with a sold sign in front of their new home — that you didn’t help them purchase. It might not have been because they didn’t want to work with you again, but because they forgot about you because you didn’t stay top of mind.
Building a solid relationship with your clients is not only important during the transaction, but after you close. In fact, the follow-up is key in continuing that relationship past the closing gift and 5-star review. Here are five ways to stay top-of-mind with clients.
1. Host a housewarming block party for buyer clients
Let’s start with the best way to end the transaction with a client. We all love a good closing gift for our clients — maybe a custom basket for them or a personalized piece of artwork for the new house with their closing date etched into it. But any agent can do that.
The idea is to create an unforgettable experience that they will share with their friends, family and neighbors.
It’s pretty simple to plan and put together. Hand-write invitations and door-knock the surrounding houses to personally invite the neighbors. Let them know you just sold the house at 123 Main Street and that you are throwing your client a housewarming party so they can be welcomed into their new neighborhood by all the neighbors.
Ask your client if they are comfortable allowing the neighbors through their new home, and if not, call the police to see if they will allow you to block off the street for a few hours for a block party.
Purchase some food and beverages, and you’re all set to go! The best part is your client will talk you up to all of their neighbors, who will think of you first when they are ready to buy or sell.
Note: This can also be done as a “going away party” for seller clients.
2. Connect on social media
Social media is by far the easiest way to stay in touch with your clients and remain in front of them. As soon as you close your transaction, befriend your clients on all your main social media platforms.
A simple “like” and comment on their posts and photos is the best way to start.
For buyer clients, make note of every close date and wish them a happy housiversary on their favorite social media platforms, this way not only do you stay top-of-mind with your clients, but also all of their friends and family will see it too.
3. Collect online reviews
Having an online presence outside of social media as a real estate agent is crucial. More people than not will go out of their way to look you up to see what other experiences clients have had with you.
If you don’t have reviews to back your services, it can make it hard for some people to trust you. Even referrals from your past clients will look to see what other clients have had to say about working with you.
Common review platforms to consider include Facebook, Zillow, your own website and Yelp. Make sure to encourage all of your clients to leave you a review after closing, and post your reviews to social media to let others know about them.
4. Treat those clients just like your friends
This doesn’t have to be rocket science. Call your clients and ask them to go to dinner or invite them for drinks to catch up. Send them a handwritten birthday card with a Starbucks gift card, and do pop-bys on Valentine’s Day or Halloween with candy and a note.
Not only should you treat them like friends, but you should actually be turning them into friends. A new favorite of mine is to invite them over to your home for a home-cooked meal. Nothing says “friend” like inviting them into your home.
5. Throw a client appreciation party
This one seems to be most common. Once or twice per year, (some agents do this quarterly) host a client appreciation party for all of your past and current clients to come and just hang out.
Try to plan at least two months in advance to give enough time to promote and to make sure your clients have enough time to add it to their calendars.
Once you’ve chosen your date, time and location, personally invite your clients with either a phone call or video message, which should be followed up by a written invitation in the mail. You can even create an event on social media.
Having your affiliate partners (lenders, title companies, etc.) sponsor your party is a great way to save costs on the event, and they will love the exposure in front of your clients and your clients’ friends and family who tag along.
Make sure to photograph the event, and post on social media. And once your party is done, personally thank each and every client who attended.
Staying top-of-mind to all of your clients is a must in the real estate business. These tips will increase your chances of your clients remembering to use you in the future and referring you to their friends and family.