If that title grabbed your attention, either this has happened to you or you want to know which poor colleague has been burnt in the past. Sometimes misery does love company.
True story, during the early phases of our company history, I would routinely answer the phone. One afternoon a disgruntled prospect called me and stated “I just read about my client moving into a new building in this morning’s paper”. You get the irony here – right? Unfortunately, the bewildered caller just recognized “his client” had actually become his competitor’s client.
[Tweet “Don’t let who you thought was your client become your competitor’s client.”]
For a majority of commercial real estate professionals, getting a new client is the hard part of the business. Think of how many calls you had to make, meetings you had to attend, and engagements you had to pitch to finally get a signature. The easy part of the business happens when that client comes back to you for their next deal. You get essentially the same transaction with essentially none of the effort, none of the closed doors and none of the getting undercut by competitors that leads up to it. Strangely enough, many don’t give enough thought to getting repeat business from their clients.
[Tweet “Retention-focused brokers provide superior services AFTER the transaction.”]
Someone who focuses on client retention runs their entire business differently. Some professionals typically provide their best service before they get the client’s signature then turn the transaction over to assistants. Retention-focused brokers do the opposite. They know that once the client signs with them, they’re auditioning for their next assignment with that client.
In addition to a commitment to provide superior service which, hopefully, ensures that the client won’t go anywhere else, those that want to retain their clients provide excellent service after the transaction. Calling the client a few times soon after the transaction and sending a thank you gift or booking a thank you lunch or dinner are all part of maximizing the positive feeling that a client should have after a successful closing. Even beyond the closing, if you are focused on retention, you will provide regular follow up, access to market information and perhaps events for your clients. These not only keep you in your client’s minds, but also help to continue building your positive brand image.
[Tweet “Periodic planning and review meetings are excellent client retention tools.”]
Beyond retention, though, is the opportunity to use a good experience to expand the amount of business that a client does with you. Periodic planning and review meetings, which are excellent client retention tools, are also ways for you to expand the opportunity that you can realize from your client. Find out if they have needs outside of your area of expertise or if they need services that are outside of your business plan. Form an alliance with those that can service them and manage the relationship. Expanding the services that you can offer those clients not only gives you a chance for more business but also helps prevent competitors from building relationships with them.
Today, I challenge you to reach out to a client you worked with previously and reinforce or enhance your relationship. There is nothing worse than hearing about their latest move in your morning news.
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