Houston (Miami, Boise, and Denver) –– we have a problem. While 90 percent of people say they’ll use their real estate agent again, only 12 percent actually do!
Sure, clients move away and cousins start selling real estate, but common sense suggests a whole lot of business is simply getting lost to the competition.
Let’s explore common sense ways to win them, retain them, and maybe even win them back.
When it comes to winning clients, first impressions still matter. With social media vying for attention at every turn, it may matter now more than ever. From that first look at your website to the way you respond to an inquiry –– make sure first encounters with your brand always feel like a warm welcome.
As real estate leads can come from anywhere, make sure you’re always ready with a modern CRM, polished marketing, robust social media, and consistent messaging from your agent team. If you’re struggling with these key aspects of running a brokerage, your real estate lead generation pipeline is probably underperforming.
For many broker-owners, franchising provides the structure and systems that streamline business operations and fuel growth.
In the meantime, you can still ensure that your team is winning over new clients by:
- Being super responsive. There’s nothing worse than an inquiry that goes unanswered, even for a day. In real estate, client retention is won and lost in a matter of hours. In a hot housing market, it’s often minutes.Knowing more. Showing a property means knowing about its HVAC system, school zones, and nearby supermarkets. But you can go one better by telling buyers about local hidden gems like the best spot in town for stargazing or a rooftop fire pit that attracts a lively crowd. (Not sure? Ask the current owners!). When listing, answering client questions with confidence and using every resource you have to attract highly qualified buyers will make for more successful closings.Pricing like a pro. It’s human nature to want to promise clients the world, but overpromising leads to disappointment. At Weichert, we developed an enhanced pricing tool that goes beyond the typical CMA and comps. It helps clients determine their best asking price based on past and present conditions as well as future market trends.Minding the budget. House hunting is exciting! You want your clients to get everything on their wish list! But busting the budget can lead to financial hardship down the road. Especially in a seller’s market, helping buyers stay focused on budget parameters shows integrity. Even if they’re temporarily priced out, you’re the agent they’ll turn to when they’re ready to try again.Going to bat. Even if your clients are anxious to buy or sell quickly, make sure you’re helping them get the best deal possible. They may not realize that contracts are negotiable. From closing dates to contingencies, negotiate skillfully to ensure clients come away feeling that you’ve gone the extra mile.Being the consummate professional. Buying and even selling a home can be emotionally draining. With hardships like the current pandemic, shifting work and family responsibilities, and bidding wars, it’s important to remain level-headed and focused on your client’s goals. Both buyers and sellers in a frenzied market can feel stressed. Being honest and fair with all parties involved will help you build lasting client relationships.
For years, business experts have been saying it costs 5 to 25 times as much to acquire a new customer than keep a current one. While this varies from industry to industry, it certainly applies to real estate client retention.
Here are ways to think about retention that really drive the point home:
- Crunch the numbers. In 2020, first-time buyers accounted for 35 percent of the market. That’s a whopping 65 percent of potential repeat customers. And while homes are typically purchased just once every 13 years, past clients are much more likely to turn to the professional who’s stayed in touch, is exceptionally knowledgeable, and simply shows interest.Build loyalty. Real estate trainer Jared James recently joined us to share some great advice on nurturing post-transaction relationships. Where other agents typically fall off the radar after a sale, you can welcome clients to your “loyalty program.” It comes with perks (useful homeowner info or market insights), appreciation (thank-you gifts for great referrals), and a sense of belonging to your inner circle.Think in 3s. The average American buys three homes in their lifetime. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you multiply that by the hundreds of contacts in your database, your referrals, people you meet each week, plus all of their friends, family members, and acquaintances, that’s a wealth of opportunity at your fingertips. You can’t win ‘em all, but you can certainly be in the running.Be the referral. As mentioned above, first-time home buyers make up a smaller piece of the pie, but may be seeking the security of a trusted referral. As you nurture past clients, make sure they understand what you can offer friends and family as they enter the market: years of expertise and a genuine interest in helping people make sound real estate decisions.
Win ‘em back
Even if your follow-up game has been lacking, it’s never too late to re-establish contact and earn back trust. The good news is, clients who’ve used you already like you! (see opening paragraph). They just need a reason to re-engage.
Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:
- Become an “advisor.” If past clients only think of you as an agent, they’re missing out on your wealth of local knowledge. In fact, with 1 in 7 homeowners currently thinking of selling, now is the perfect time to make your presence felt. Whether it’s renovation referrals or a complimentary home value assessment, you have valuable information to share.Get involved. From local events to charitable endeavors, being immersed in your community reinforces your commitment to its well-being. Get involved in a cause you genuinely care about and get reacquainted with lost contacts in the process. Win-win!Request an audit. There’s always room for professional improvement. Even if a few years have gone by (nobody forgets their buying or selling experience), consider surveying past clients and ask for some honest feedback. You may discover incredibly simple ways to improve your service. Plus, it shows you care. If an irreparable mistake was made, there’s still a useful lesson to learn.Even if you’ve lost touch, you can always check in with a handwritten message, birthday card, or anniversary greeting. Better yet, check your database for notes you may have taken about shared interests like sports, pets, or hobbies. Exceedingly rare, personal notes tend to make an impression. It’s a minimal investment that, at worst, brightens someone’s day.
Real estate competition is fierce, but there are always ways to outshine the competition. Luckily, real estate client retention is a long game so you’ve got time on your side. Any effort you make, no matter how small, can be the spark that draws people into your circle for life.
At Weichert, we invest heavily in agent recruitment, retention, and training. It’s one of our leading strategies for helping affiliates grow their businesses. If you’re struggling to give your team the tools, resources, and inspiration to stay competitive, let’s talk!