Working with customers after the closing is a critical part of the real estate agent marketing plan.

Client retention is good business in all industry types. Yet, many businesses and real estate agents, alike, work diligently on client acquisition but not so much on retaining customers.

Why should agents have to work on retention? After all, if clients are happy with the services provided, they’ll keep coming back, right?

But the reality is staying top-of-mind after the closing–when clients are ready to sell or buy again, or refer a friend to their favorite real estate agent—often requires more.

Real customer service is what successful sales people do between sales, according to an article on how to keep clients coming back in Entrepreneur.com.

“Every business tries to please customers when they are in the process of buying something. But how much you really care about them depends on the experience you provide post-sales, before they come back for more,” according to Entrepreneur’s guest writer Daniel Newman.

While the post-closing celebration dinner and closing gift bearing the agent’s name and contact information are nice gestures, their lasting impacts are questionable, according to a recent article on Inman.com.

Inman writer Parker O’Very offers several tips for making more lasting impressions.

Help make social connections

Finding friends and social networks in new communities can be challenging. To smooth a new homeowner’s transition, real estate agents might help link clients with their neighbors. There are lots of ways to do that–from hosting housewarming parties, to connecting the new homeowners to social networks, such as Nextdoor.com.

The key, according to experts, is to remain in touch with clients by helping them in ways that are meaningful to those clients. Real estate agents should use the knowledge they’ve gained about clients during the sales process to figure out what makes clients happy. Avid readers might like to join the local book club or library, for example, while sports enthusiasts would like to get acquainted with the local running or cycling club.

Agents should make gestures that they feel comfortable making. In other words, if having a party for their clients is too much, perhaps recommending local events and activities would be better. Some agents might even offer to take the client or client’s family on a local tour of the neighborhood or community.

Ease burdens of first-time home buying

Moving is stressful, especially when clients are first-time home buyers. To ease predictable bumps in the road, real estate agents might offer to help with referrals for homeowner’s insurance, plumbing services, lawn maintenance and more. Sometimes, a simple tip about when bulk trash pickup is in a given neighborhood goes a long way to help new homebuyers feel more settled, according to Inman.com.

It’s the little things….

Real estate agents who make an effort to help transition a family’s kids into the community stand to make not only the kids happy, but also parents. Finding local gems in parks, recreation, learning and youth-oriented events are some examples. Identifying credible babysitters or day care options also can be a big help.

And for hard-working couples or singles, real estate agents might treat clients to a move-in cleaning, or give them a list to many of the things they might need—from doggy daycare to dry cleaning.

Agents who share their local knowledge about favorite coffee shops, restaurants, dance clubs, farmers’ markets and more help pave the way for foodies and others who enjoy the social scene.

The pay-back

Making efforts to help clients post-closing could help cultivate customers for life and increase referrals, according to an article in RealtorMag.com.

Agents should do seven-day and 30-day follow-ups with clients after closings, according to the RealtorMag story “7 Things Agents Should Do After a Closing.”

Other tips: remember special dates, including holidays and birthdays, and consider showing up with a bottle of wine, pizza, a gift or simply a smile and helping hand on move-in day.

It’s important that real estate agents remain the go-to real estate resource, offering information or referrals about everything from decorating and gardening, to what to consider when buying a new roof.

The bottom line, according to Entrepreneur, is to respond to clients even when they’re not doing business with you, and make it genuine, without sales as a motive.

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