Referrals are an intrinsic part of any customer loyalty rewards program. Without growth, a brand will stagnate. Referrals are also a sign of success as they prove your customers not only like working with you, but they want to promote you to others.
However, unlike some industries, referrals are the most important part of real estate rewards programs. This is because the nature of real estate means that the minority of your clients are going to make repeat purchases.
But how do you stay in a customer’s mind enough for them to make a referral? Without repeat purchase, how do you stay in a client’s mind? Social&Loyal are here to answer these questions and more.
Not Creating a Reason to Stay in Touch
Some businesses create email newsletters which are compulsive viewing. Think of t-shirt websites like threadless.com. Every week new designs are brought out and customers are notified of regular deals for something you’re going to want more than one of. The same cannot be said for real estate reward programs.
This is why you need to find ways to maintain your relationship. Purchasing a property, whether a business or residential location, can be extremely taxing. Making sure it is the right place for your company or family requires a lot of consideration and even the best real estate agents will find their clients having moments of stress.
If you send an email newsletter which doesn’t engage with the client before, during and after the purchase, they are going to be annoyed and much less likely to make a referral. This is why you should have communication which appeals to clients even after they have made their purchase. One of these elements is pure nosiness.
Having a newsletter which showcases properties, has great pictures of interesting places and reveals something about the people who live and work in them can mean they are reading something appealing to more than just practical necessity. You could have a ‘Property of the Month’ section or create features on how the real estate game is changing.
This is a way whereby you provide clients with something interesting, thus keeping you in mind without alienating them. You may even showcase a property which leads them to think it would be somewhere suitable for a friend or colleague and therein lies your referral.
Not Creating Memorable Rewards
People are generally busy and often at their busiest after purchasing a property. They have to move, renovate and get used to the new space and location. It can mean they might put you on the back burner of their mind relatively quickly after closing escrow.
With a successful real estate customer loyalty program, you need to find a way to stay part of this new process.
You can arrange a courtesy check up a week after they move in to ensure everything is going smooth or if they have any questions. This not only provides the opportunity for the customer to pick your brain, it really shows you care. Showing you care is the kind of engagement any brand’s loyalty program wants to aspire to.
However, often actions speak louder than words. Using a rewards program which keeps you in the client’s mind is one way to encourage a referral.
If you provide a gift certificate or a useful house warming prize, then you are going to be playing the association game with the customer. Every time they see this reward, they are going to be reminded of how great a company you are.
Only Using One-Off Rewards
Building your loyalty program doesn’t stop there. While many real estate deals are one-off purchases, you can use a points system to earn rewards in other ways. You can join up with an appliance store to offer discounts on products (this could be a great win-win for both businesses if a deal is brokered in the right spirit).
This way of creating useful rewards is why you need the right customer loyalty software. You need to build up client profiles and find what they are looking for. This can be done through use of an app or simply ensuring your agents are comprehensive in recording their data.
You can also encourage referrals by giving a gift for every referral made. While you may have to shell out a little capital for this referral, think how much you will earn on commission and it pays for itself over and over again.
Forgetting it is the 21st Century
Real estate reward programs need to function as well, if not better than many other businesses. You may have already created your customer loyalty profiles, but you need to find a way to keep in touch without the continual point of purchase information you will get from repeat purchases.
If you have managed to work in conjunction with other businesses to mutually promote customer loyalty, then you can create an app for this information to be recorded. Every time they buy some new plaster or a fancy blender, they can get some points on their loyalty program which unlocks further rewards.
These rewards should also be experiential. While clients may have purchased their own property, they may still want to look at other properties for future reference or our of sheer interest. Have social events which allow you to promote referrals. Existing customers can earn rewards for simply bringing along interested parties. If these guests become a customer, then the referral is made and the original client can receive another reward. Equally, having a decent spread and creating an event people want to attend can be the reward in itself.
You can use social media to keep existing customers in mind and increase the possibility of referrals. If you used your loyalty software to create a successful real estate rewards program, the you will likely have synched it with your social media presence.
If it has been agreed upon in your terms and conditions of data usage, you can congratulate customers for the sale on Twitter or Facebook. You can also provide rewards for them doing the same to their followers, but this may not be cost effective in the real estate market.
Lastly, speaking of terms and conditions, it is important you acknowledge the referral. This is because, depending on your location, you can run afoul of the law if you do not. Fortunately, real estate referral programs can do this automatically. Agents getting compensation can abuse the system and make money for themselves underhandedly. A good loyalty program in real estate will keep everything above board, incorporate local terms and conditions into their agreements and ensure all requirements are met. Not having loyalty software to ensure you are covered could be the biggest mistake you make if fines are involved.