After your sellers have spent weeks preparing to sell a home, or your buyers have been searching for months, you finally get to the finish line: closing. With a flourish of signatures, the job is finally done.
Savvy agents know that even if the transaction is complete, client relationships shouldn’t end at the closing table. If anything, that’s when they should really be solidified!
But how do you bridge the gap from being a ‘one-transaction wonder’ to becoming the go-to real estate resource clients use time and time again?
To shed some expert light on the subject, we spoke with Kathleen Black, CEO and Elite Coach of Kathleen Black Coaching & Consulting (KBCC).
As one of North America’s leading real estate team coaches and trainers, it’s safe to say Kathleen knows a thing or two about how to make the most of client relationships. (No joke, 80% of her clients are national top 1% producers. 🤩)
Kathleen also shares her thoughts on how the agent mindset has shifted over the last few years, and why great systems are key to success.
So without further ado, let’s dive in!
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What we’ll cover:
- How to Make Client Relationships Last
- Shifting from a Salesperson to Consultant Mindset
- Leveraging the Power of Client-Centric Systems
- The Consultant’s Approach to Real Estate Client Communications
- Create a Phenomenal Client Experience, through Closing and Beyond
How to Make Client Relationships Last
Want your relationships with your real estate clients to extend beyond closing?
The key is to focus more on the ‘relationship’ part than the ‘client’ part.
After all, you worked so hard to nurture the relationship and arrive at a transaction, why would you throw it away?
Bottom line: If you want your clients to think of it as an ongoing relationship, you have to treat it like one. And a big part of that is providing complete transparency during the closing process and consistently following up after the transaction is over.
“It’s important to stay in touch with clients post-closing because this will show them that they were more than a transaction to you,” says Kathleen.
But the benefits of nurturing the relationship post-closing go even further.
“This is when your client has the chance to remember their experience with you,” she explains. Not only will this help keep you top-of-mind, but it “will also show them how your client process is still effective, even when they’re past clients.”
By keeping in touch with clients post-closing, you show them you’ve built your business around their needs, not just your own. That also means when someone they care about needs a real estate agent, you’ll be the first person they think of because they know you’re still at the top of your game.
When you take the long view to nurturing your client relationships, past clients can also “become key pieces in your database or CRM to generate an abundance of repeat and referral business,” Kathleen says.
But that does mean you need to have a strong process in place for managing client relationships — whether they’re past, present, or future. “Too many people don’t touch their CRM, and that’s where a lot of people drop the ball,” she says.
Shifting from a Salesperson to Consultant Mindset
While it’s always been important to stay in contact with former clients, “the need to keep in touch with them has changed over the years as the mindset of real estate professionals has changed,” Kathleen explains. “Their mindset has changed from a pushy salesperson to adapt into the consultant’s approach.”
We’re all familiar with the sleazy car salesman trope…but what’s so different about a consultant mindset?
“A consultant seeks to establish a need and educate a client. This allows the client to self-discover their best course of action and come to a logical conclusion.”
In other words, today’s real estate agent needs to be more of a sherpa than a cowboy — to guide clients through the process rather than herd them towards a specific goal.
“We coach our clients to achieve the best possible outcome for them. This sets us apart from the public perception of a ‘pushy salesperson’ who pushes a client towards outcomes in the salesperson’s best interest, as opposed to the client’s,” she says. “Consultants always know their ‘outcome’ is to listen and connect with their client, to create comfort and trust by educating, to present the options to the client, and then get out of their way.”
Sounds great, but does it actually work?
KBCC applies the consultant approach across their entire network. “Every top team or agent we have ever worked with who multiplied their business have all worked with this specific approach in order to get the ultimate results,” she says.
Leveraging the Power of Client-Centric Systems
According to Kathleen, another important change has been the need to replace memory with process.
In the past, the most successful Realtors were often the kind of people with incredible social skills and the memory of an elephant. But as the industry has gone increasingly digital, you can deliver the same highly personal real estate experience for your clients, whether or not you’re naturally programmed to remember every name, face, and personal detail that comes your way.
But systems aren’t just better for individual agents — they’re better for team leaders and brokers too.
“Systems are a win-win scenario for everyone,” Kathleen says. “It allows you to manage the real system without micromanaging every single person on your team.”
Take a lead system, for example. When creating any system, you need to start by narrowing down specifics and plans so that it can help guide you towards your goals.
“For a lead-based system, some of these specifics might include, the number of times you call a lead, and if that’s including follow ups. Have you thought about the guidelines for minimum response times?” Kathleen says.
If it sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. But the key thing is, it’ll save you a lot of work (and disappointment) down the road.
“Creating and implementing a plan for everything that your team does ensures you don’t fall down a rabbit hole that leads to a lot of work with little to no results,” she shares.
Psst! Looking for a client-first transaction coordination system that lets your TCs work the way they want to? Check out our Real Estate Transaction Coordinator Software Buyer’s Guide!
The Consultant’s Approach to Real Estate Client Communications
If you really want to ace the post-closing experience, you’ve got to keep in touch.
Fortunately, Kathleen has put together an awesome follow-up system that her team uses within their sales department.
Spoiler alert: the end result is happy clients and more referrals. 🎉
KBCC’s 4-Step Follow Up Approach
Every agent knows that unlike a text message or email, the pressure to nail your client communications is highest during a phone call.
Whether it’s a post-closing check-in or any other type of follow-up call, the first 30-60 seconds may well be the most important, because they set the tone for everything that happens after. That’s why Kathleen’s four-step follow up approach focuses heavily on the beginning of the call.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1. Reestablish the relationship.
“We want to make sure that we set the stage properly when making a follow-up call. We need to, as quickly as possible, reestablish the relationship we built previously,” Kathleen says. “Immediately remind the client that you have spoken before and specifically when.”
Step 2. Remind the client they asked for a follow-up.
“Then remind the client that they wanted us to call them back to follow up,” she says. This step is incredibly important. “We need to immediately get the client to understand why we are calling and only then will they not treat us like an unwanted telemarketer.”
Step 3. Get to the point.
Once you’ve reestablished the relationship and reminded your client that you’re fulfilling a promise you made to them, Kathleen is all about being straightforward. “Get to the point of the call: their real estate plans.”
Step 4. Focus on their needs.
Of course, talking about a client’s real estate needs can vary widely. But whether you’re talking with a potential client or a past client, “the call needs to be focused on the client and their needs,” Kathleen says.
Believe it or not, starting your client calls this way can have a big impact on your client relationships — and how likely they are to refer you to others in their circle.
“This follow-up system will make your clients feel good about working with you,” Kathleen explains. “It will make them want to share their positive experiences with their community.”
Create a Phenomenal Client Experience, through Closing and Beyond
Some agents are guilty of dropping clients like hotcakes after their check is cashed, but others start letting go even earlier — like as soon as there’s an accepted offer. 😲
Their clients are going through one of life’s biggest (and most stressful) financial milestones. Meanwhile their agent is off chasing new leads.
If you’ve been with us for long, you know that’s not how we roll.
Believe it or not, the transaction is one of the most significant opportunities that real estate agents and teams have to truly knock their clients’ socks off.
Preclose GO! makes it dead simple to create an unforgettable client experience that earns rave reviews and referrals. In addition to helping you communicate with and empower your clients, Preclose also makes the transaction easier for your team to manage, with tools to help boost their productivity and streamline closings like never before.
And once you’ve wowed them through closing, it’s that much easier to keep the relationship going strong into the future. Ready to elevate the closing experience