How good is your brokerage at earning repeat business?
According to the latest statistics, most real estate brokers struggle to earn repeat business, even though their clients are generally happy with their agents.
Consider these figures: The National Association of Realtors® reported that 90% of buyers were so happy with their real estate agent that they would use their agent again or recommend them to others. However, only 13% of the typical Realtor’s® business comes from repeat clients. If these buyers are so happy with their agents, why doesn’t repeat business account for a larger piece of the pie?
Frankly, too few brokerages are focused on generating repeat business.
Here’s how savvy real estate brokers are earning repeat business (and how you can emulate them!).
Provide the Best Possible Client Experience
Earning repeat business starts with an exceptional client experience. After all, if you don’t provide the best possible service, why would your clients choose to do business with you again?
The problem is, many brokerages aren’t clear on what makes an exceptional client experience. Let’s address a few of the basics. You may already know these to be true, but is your brokerage implementing these practices?
Under-Promise and Over-Deliver
Too many agents promise the moon and stars. Then, when they get a good result, their clients are still disappointed because they were expecting a great result. Set realistic expectations for your clients, then work to exceed those expectations. And if you’re worried you’ll lose listings by managing expectations, just be honest with your potential sellers; warn them that other agents over-promise to secure the business, but you’ll actually deliver on your promises!
When you become too familiar with the process of buying and selling real estate, it’s easy to forget that much of this information is new to your clients. They may not know what’s normal and what isn’t. Over-communicating with your clients will put their minds at ease. Give all your new clients an overview of the process, including estimated time frames, early on. At a minimum, you should be in touch with clients once a week: provide a status update to your sellers and notify buyers of new listings that meet their criteria. And, for goodness’ sake, please return all messages promptly!
Invest in Professional Photos
With so much of the home-search process now taking place online, professional listing photos are no longer optional. Did you know homes with professional photos sell 32% faster than homes with amateur listing photos? Including professional photos as part of your standard service will also give you a competitive edge over other brokers in the listing presentation.
Show Your Appreciation
While some brokers are trying to get away from the closing gift tradition, others are embracing it as a way to show sincere appreciation and get one step closer to earning repeat business. For maximum effect, give your clients a closing gift that:
Has a long shelf life (so your clients will keep it and think of you for years to come)
Doesn’t include your branding (as long as you get them a memorable gift, they will think of you when they see it, even without your branding)
Engraved tool kits, framed maps, personalized dishes, and customized garden decor are all solid options.
Use Digital Catalogs to Stay Top of Mind
Speaking of gaining a competitive edge in the listing presentation, is your brokerage taking advantage of digital catalogs? As the name implies, digital catalogs are catalogs that are delivered via email rather than in old-school print format. These professional publications are full of eye-catching listing photos, articles of local interest, and promotional pages for your brokerage.
These digital catalogs are branded to your brokerage, giving the impression that they are published by your own in-house publishing company. And, perhaps most impressively, they are delivered automatically to your client base every month, costing you almost nothing in terms of time investment. And the monetary investment? You can actually completely offset the cost by selling a handful of ad spaces in your digital catalog to local businesses!
How excited would your seller prospects be to see that their home will be featured in the upcoming issue of your digital catalog? The other listing agents they interviewed probably don’t have anything comparable!
But digital catalogs do far more than give you an edge in the listing presentation.
Most importantly, digital catalogs keep you top of mind with past, present, and future clients. Earn repeat business (and maybe a few referrals!) by regularly reminding your clients of your polished, professional service.
Offer Ongoing Services After the Sale
To earn repeat business, you need to show your clients that you care about them even after the deal closes. Providing ongoing services after the sale proves to your clients that they’re more to you than a commission check.
Your digital catalogs could certainly be considered an on-going service, providing interesting local articles and showcasing the newest listings. And because they’re delivered automatically, you’re freed up to include a few additional ongoing services after the sale.
While lots of brokers send monthly (or quarterly) market updates to their client base, many of those market updates don’t quite hit the mark in terms of providing ongoing value. There are two main problems with the standard market update:
They look boring, so clients hardly glance at them.
Clients don’t know how to interpret the numbers or apply the numbers to their own situations.
To make your market updates valuable, you need to correct these problems:
Instead of using an MLS print-out of the data, invest a few dollars in a visually impressive template. You can find them on Etsy for as little as $5.
Include an interpretation of the data: one for buyers and one for sellers. Explain the benefits of buying and/or selling under the current market conditions.
Complimentary Property Tax Reviews
Are any of the brokerages in your market offering complimentary property tax reviews to make sure homeowners aren’t being over-taxed? Highly unlikely! How impressed would your clients be if you offered this ongoing service? And how much more likely would they be to give you repeat business when you’re providing such a valuable service?
Property tax reviews are fairly quick and easy to do. You just need to look up the taxable values on your County Assessor’s website for each of your clients, and make sure the taxable value isn’t higher than the fair market value. With your existing knowledge of the market, you’ll probably know instantly if the taxable value per square foot is too high.
If the taxable value is fair, you simply send your clients a letter confirming that you completed your review and that they are being taxed fairly.
If they are being over-taxed (which is surprisingly common), let your clients know you may have found them some extra money! You can either provide them with instructions for appealing their property taxes on their own, or offer your property tax appeal services for a fee to create a new income stream for your business.
When you provide the best possible client experience, use digital catalogs to stay top of mind, and offer valuable ongoing services after the sale, you’ll be earning repeat business just like the top brokers!