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Getting Repeat Business from Your Commercial Real Estate Clients

By Jim Gillespie | May 27, 2009

As commercial real estate brokers we’re in an interesting position with regard to getting ongoing, repeat business from our clients. Unlike attorneys and CPAs who constantly interact with their clients throughout the year, our business as commercial real estate brokers is transactional in nature. Which means that once we close a transaction with someone, it could be years before they need to close another transaction again. And our problem becomes, “How do I create the feeling of having a constant, ongoing relationship with my clients, so they know they’ll be working with me again on their next transaction?”

There are several different ways you can accomplish this. First, you can call them on the telephone several times throughout the year to check in with them and see how they’re doing. While this may sound simple, many commercial brokers don’t call their clients for several years after they’ve closed a transaction with them, thinking that it would be a waste of their time. And their reasoning is basically “Since I moved them into a building that will work for them for many years to come, there’s no need to call them again for sometime.” But the problem here is that your competitors will be calling your clients while you’re not doing it, and building a relationship with them in anticipation of representing them on their next transaction.

Socializing with your clients, taking them to lunch, events, and giving them gifts can be a great way for you to continue building your relationship and positioning yourself to work on their next transaction with them, but many commercial brokers really don’t want to do these things.

In addition, mailing to your commercial real estate clients two or more times a month can be a great way to keep them thinking of you throughout the year also, but it’s rare to find a commercial real estate broker who does this kind of mailing.

While I highly recommend doing all that I’ve mentioned here, there’s one additional action you can take that’s simple and easy to do, and it can help to create the feeling that you have an ongoing relationship with your clients throughout the year:

Send them a “thank you” note 2-4 times every year that says, “Thank you for working with me and having me be your commercial real estate broker. I really enjoy working with you, and I look forward to closing our next transaction together.”

Sending a note like this one 2-4 times a year is polite and thoughtful, and it helps to position you as the broker they’ll work with again on their next transaction. And at the same time, the note will have an even better impact when you’re constantly in communication with them throughout the year, too.

Ideally I recommend sending these notes along with implementing the other ideas that I’ve mentioned above, but simply sending these notes while contacting your clients by telephone throughout the year, will have a much bigger impact on them than not sending these notes.

People love doing business with others who they feel are gracious, and who thank them for the business they’ve already given them. So when you send your clients notes like these you’ll not only be communicating the sincere thanks that you’re feeling towards them, you’ll be positioning yourself to have them want to work with you again the next time.

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