How to Create a Lifetime Customer When you Sell Real Estate

How often have you seen a customer buy from one agency and then a few years later, list with a different agency? I’ve seen it far too often! I always wonder if the agent did something wrong, or just didn’t bother to turn that person into a lifetime customer.

I’ll admit, real estate customers aren’t known for their loyalty. In fact, if you list a house and it doesn’t sell right away, they might take their listing elsewhere even if you’ve spent hundreds on advertising for them. But there are ways to improve your chances of keeping them. And there are ways to turn satisfied buyers and sellers into “Lifetime customers.”

And remember, if your commission averages $10,000 per transaction and people move every 5 years, you stand to gain an extra $30,000 over the next 15 years. Then consider those buyers who like to do rehab. They sometimes buy more than one each year. Add in the friends and family each customer could bring you, and there’s only one conclusion: Customers are worth keeping!

How to keep a listing: Stay in touch during the listing period. I can’t count how many times I’ve gotten listings that used to belong to someone else, just because the sellers felt ignored.

So, rule #1 is “Stay in touch, even when it’s difficult.”

It is difficult to call and speak with the seller when there’s been no action, but call anyway. You can tell him or her where you’ve advertised, how many flyers you’ve given out to office drop-ins, how many flyers you’ve mailed to long distance inquiries, etc. Perhaps you took new photos and posted them on your virtual tour. Whatever you’ve done, let the seller know you did it.

In my office we kept track of all activity and mailed a monthly report, along with copies of each ad we had placed in a newspaper or magazine. In addition, we called mid-month just to stay in touch. This practice was responsible for most listing renewals. The important point is, you must make sure that the seller knows you’re doing something regularly to promote the house.

OK, you sold the house. Everyone passed go and collected their money. Now what?

Now you send a thank you letter with a brief questionnaire asking for feedback on your service. It will let you know what you did right – and occasionally you’ll hear what you did wrong! Don’t be afraid of that. Welcome that kind of feedback because it gives you the opportunity to make a friend out of an unhappy customer. Write back and thank them for letting you know and for helping your career by letting you improve your service.

Next, put those names and addresses in a data base and start staying in touch. Every 2 to 4 months is often enough, unless you know that they have friends or relatives who are about to make a move.

Send a magazine article about their hobby, birthday cards, a postcard with a funny joke, a pretty picture, or perhaps an article about getting the house ready for winter. Anything that will interest them and keep your name in front of them will do.

I wrote a monthly newsletter, and if I was late getting it out customers would call to see why it wasn’t there. That was before email became so popular. Now you could do it electronically at zero cost if you write it yourself, and you could add a personal note to really special customers.

You’re going for “Top of mind awareness,” and you can only get that through regular contact. Your goal is for them to think of you first when anyone mentions needing a Realtor.

That brings me to Rule #2: Stay in Touch!

Marte Cliff is a Freelance Copywriter and former real estate broker. She has extensive experience in writing for the real estate industry and related fields. Visit her at http://marte-cliff.com/RealEstate.html and sign up for her complimentary real estate marketing ezine.

Schwinn Elliptical 430

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