The National Association of Realtors reports that 87 percent of homebuyers worked with a real estate agent to purchase a home. Customer loyalty is critical in the real estate industry as agents tend to rely on referrals from existing customers to help build and sustain their business.
Customer loyalty is not about price or money, but instead is all about perception. Customer perceptions are based on previous experience, reputation, self-promotion and how you show appreciation.
Part 1: Loyal for Life
Loyal customers visit more, spend more, and are evangelists for your brand in any industry.
- 39 percent of customers found their agent through a friend, neighbor, or relative
- 25 percent of customers used the agent that they previously used to buy or sell a home
First time clients and repeat clients have one very important thing in common- trust. Client relationships go beyond the closing. Here are few tips:
- Monitor your clients’ home value – Communicate market changes monthly
- Monitor their community – Notify clients of new roads, developments, and businesses – especially new restaurants
- Interest rates – Pass along opportunities for savings
- Homeowner’s insurance renewal reminders – Send a reminder on the home’s anniversary date so clients can comparison shop their rates
Part 2: Using Gift Cards As A Loyalty Tool
One of the challenges facing real estate professionals when it comes to rewarding loyalty is budget. While it’s nice to show appreciation through the little things, sometimes we want to reward our clients with something more. Many agents and brokers have to dip into their own funds in order to provide rewards to loyal clients.
We recently surveyed various real estate industry professionals (agents, brokers, lenders, and more) to find out how gift cards are being used in the real estate industry. Here is what we discovered:
- 87 percent of industry professionals have used gift cards
- Gift cards are used primarily as a ‘Thank You’ (Closing gift)
- Home improvement stores and restaurants were the most popular gift card categories
- 65 percent of businesses would consider purchasing gift cards in bulk if there was a discount or incentive
Using gift cards is an affordable option for loyalty rewards. They are one of the most requested gifts across all channels (i.e. loyalty, rewards programs, points programs) and for new homeowners, providing a gift card is gratifying, thoughtful, and functional. They are multifaceted and also perfect as sales incentives for agents, open house drawings or giveaways, and client referrals.
Purchasing gift cards at volume discounts from stores like The Home Depot® stays in budget & gives clients a gift they can put towards their new home.
Part 3: Other Ways to Enhance Loyalty
Relationships with loyal customers need to be nurtured in order to flourish. Showing your customers that you appreciate them for supporting your business is an easy way to retain relationships.
- Hand-written notes – Emails can often be impersonal and most people are inundated with them these days. A quick personal, hand-written note to acknowledge your customer goes a long way.
- Phone calls – A five-to-10-minute conversation falls along the same lines as a hand-written note. Your client will appreciate that you had them on your mind. Use the time to not only thank them but acknowledge the little things you may remember about them: how their new job is going or how the kids like the new house.
- Acknowledge special occasions – Use an electronic calendar to keep track of client’s special occasions; birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Use these occasions to send them a note, give them a call, or send them a gift card.
- Be a resource – Moving is tough, and it can be a challenge to find trustworthy, quality help in a new place. Be a resource for your clients by providing them with recommended contractors, plumbers, electricians, painters, landscapers, or any other professionals they may need for their home.
Customer loyalty needs to be established and continually nurtured. These customer loyalty tactics are important for attracting new customers, maintaining existing relationships, and building your overall business.