Depending on who you speak to, the cost of acquiring new clients is 25 times more than being able to do business with an existing client. Which is absolutely staggering if you do the maths!
Even if it’s not that high, it still takes a lot of time and investment. So once you finally get to do business with someone after years of prospecting, nurturing, rapport building and doing the right things for them, it’s super, super, super important to hold onto them as a client.
Right now it is super hard to get new clients, but I think the lull in actually doing business as a result of the fallout from the coronavirus presents a great opportunity to set up a system to keep the clients you have now and those you will get in the future. This fourth instalment in my COVID Recovery Series: Five Activities to Focus On will take you through building an after-sales service system.
1. In normal circumstances you would follow up with a client after you’ve done the transaction. All it involves is a phone call on settlement date congratulating them and telling them that, of course, you understand that they’re very busy today with trucks coming and going and moving into their new home, so do they mind if you book an appointment later on to see them at the new premises. I’d recommend making the appointment for two weeks after the settlement so that everyone is settled in and quite comfortable.
At that appointment you go through an after-sales service agenda where you talk about how you went (obviously you’ve given them a gift already, so that’s built rapport), discuss referrals and testimonials and you exchange promises.
2. After you’ve said your goodbyes, you want to create a trail so that there is some type of contact with them every six months. I recommend alternating between a phone call and a gift for these points of contact.
The phone call is about updates, a reminder of your relationship – you need to have a reason for the call and something to say. You should also have a post-sale gift system where there’s a systematic approach to what sort of gifts you give them and why. For example, some are an experience and last one day such as movie tickets, others will sit on their desks forever.
3. Ensure that you hold an event once a year for people who have used your services in the past, having either bought from you or sold through you. I call this an advocate event. You can do a Christmas event, something mid-year, end of financial year, it doesn’t matter, whatever takes your fancy.
It’s a good idea to pick a time or an event that you are familiar with. If you’re big into wine then go wine tasting, if you’re into footy do a footy get-together for the grand final or something along those lines. These events are very important to do, so make sure if you start doing them that you never ever, ever stop.
And don’t worry if not everybody comes. Simply inviting them reminds them of the relationship you have and strengthens it.
4. Set up a range of ways to maintain contact:
- Invite your past clients to be your friend on Facebook and invite them to like your business page from there
- Make sure that they’ve “whitelisted” you and are receiving your electronic direct mail. Sometimes they blacklist you, then use your services and like you, then want to receive email, so get them to whitelist you
- Put them onto your referral club system
- Use dates. Make sure you’ve recorded the anniversary dates of their purchase and birthdates so you can send cards
5. At least once per year pop in and see them. Take a bottle of wine, have a drink and be their friend. This is one is ad hoc, just drop by. If they’re not home, leave it at the door with a note to say hi, you’d just popped in to say good-day and see how they were and you would love to catch up at some point.
Most real estate agents don’t look after their existing clients, they take the commission, leave them at the orphanage and away they go. Which is sad, because if they’re nurtured, past clients can actually become the goose that lays the golden egg – they’ll come back to you again and again, and refer you to their friends and family. They’ll become your advocate and save you time and money by finding new clients for you.
If you haven’t done this before with previous clients, take this time to set up the system and get started. You don’t have to start at point one, just start somewhere – plan that event, organise anniversary cards or make those six-monthly phone calls.
At Real Estate Brilliance we have after-sales service down to a fine art; there are scripts for those calls, gift-giving systems, birthday and anniversary card systems and much, much more to help you build and maintain relationships with your past clients. Find out more at my upcoming seminar.