Starting out in the real estate business (or any business for that matter) can be a little anxiety inspiring. The initial stage of getting off the ground is always a challenge. There are plenty of ideas out there on how to get new business, but one of the best ways to build your business is by building on the relationships with your current clients. If you offer outstanding service and do the job right, you will get the referrals. Word of mouth is still one of the best marketing tools a business can ask for.
Always keep your seller in the loop – give them information and updates as to how their home is being marketed, provide prompt feedback from buyers who have seen the property. Make sure your buyers have the new listings as soon as possible.
When your clients seal the deal send a gift card or a bottle of wine. Give a gift for possession. It shows your client that you recognize this milestone in their life, and the personal touch makes all the difference. “When we moved into the new house there was a lovely gift basket filled with fancy preserves, crackers, chocolates and champagne from our realtor,” says one new homeowner. “We had a little celebration picnic in our new home.”
Consider implementing a customer satisfaction survey – after your business is done, give your client an opportunity to provide feedback. Set your ego aside and consider this an opportunity. Take the time to really learn from what they say – and find ways to improve in areas that might not be your traditional strengths.
Even after a deal is done, remembering your clients will show them that you think they are important, that you appreciate their business. Depending on the client you may want to offer personalized notes, email messages, website links and newsletters.
Not only is this good interpersonal relationship building, it will also build your reputation as a caring professional earning you well deserved referrals and repeat business. For repeat clients you might consider lowering your commission slightly, as a thank you for the continued business.
As much as you might want to, resist from asking clients to refer you. It’s cheesy – by providing great service you will naturally come to mind in conversation, which is far more genuine. Continue to offer services that will ensure your name is easily recalled in the community.
One way to do this is by being active in the community – sponsor fundraising events for local causes, family events, etc. Go farther by becoming a community resource – after all this is your market, you should know it well. You want to be the person people think of when they need local info – like where to go for the best Chinese food in town or what family friendly activities are being offered in the neighborhood. Be a wealth of information for new comers and established residents alike. Also develop other sources for referrals: HR departments for corporations in the area and relocation companies are a good place to start.
When you do get referrals, regardless of where it came from, remember to send a thank you note to the person who referred you.
By establishing your reputation as a thoughtful business person who is active in the community and willing to go the extra mile to provide exceptional service, you will find your business grows on its own and your reputation in the community will grow with it.