The key to repeat business

by Olivia D'Orazio28 Oct 2014
Repeat business is the gift that keeps on giving, but are you doing everything you should to keep your clients – and to get them to recommend their friends?

Repeat clients and referral business make up a lot of agents’ deals, and now industry players are pointing to the golden rule of real estate to help rookie sales reps build their own client databases.

“First thing is to stay in contact with your client and not be afraid to ask for the [referral] business,” says David Brown, a sales rep in Calgary. “If they’ve been happy with your service, they’ll pass on your name to their friends and family.”

While that advice may sound simple, so many agents have failed to harness the power of referrals. Brown says he follows up with his clients even – and especially – after the transaction has closed.

“I have a system that when someone takes over their house, I call them two days after they’re in, then two weeks later, then two months after that, and then twice a year,” he says. “If they’re not satisfied, I want to be able to get on it right there and help out. If there’s something to step in and help out with, I’ll do it. I want these clients for life – whether in this house or another or through their family and friends.”

Colleen Brown, a broker in Stouffville, Ont., says some 95 per cent of her business is via repeats and referrals, a model that she works hard to maintain.

“Every day I call five clients,” she says. “I email them the sales in their area. That’s a big thing for me. I’m always in touch with them so when they think real estate, they think me.”

Indeed, keeping top of mind for past clients is a great way to ensure their future business stays with you – that is, so long as they are happy with your service.

“Find them a house that they’re in love with, making sure the full transaction goes smoothly,” D. Brown says, outlining the Coles notes of real estate. “Certainly, in the negotiation, they got [the property] at what they believe is a fair price.”
A satisfied client is more likely to recommend you to others. But some clients need to be reminded of that, and agents shouldn’t shy away from that friendly reminder.

“Ask for referrals,” C. Brown says. “Ask [your clients] to refer friends and relatives. They might be thinking me, but maybe their friend or relative is looking for a home or looking to sell, so when you put that in their mind, [they’re more likely to refer].”

What are your tips for keeping clients loyal?

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