Commercial real estate brokerage is a relationship business, and relationships are built on trust and rapport.
When it comes to prospects and clients, the trust comes from knowing your stuff, showing your stuff, and ultimately doing your job well.
The rapport comes from that little something extra. How do you go above and beyond for clients? If you’ve been in the industry for a few years, then chances are a big percentage of your deals are from repeat business or referrals. And while brokers should never really stop prospecting, you need to put in time and effort to impress your clients and maintain those relationships so the next time they need a broker, they call you.
Here are a few ways you can build a strong rapport and be the broker your clients will never forget.
1. Be enthusiastic and genuinely excited about the work.This one seems straightforward enough, but it’s worth noting. Prospects aren’t just looking to buy your services to transact a deal. They’re looking to buy you.
Deals in commercial real estate can take years—wouldn’t it be nice to somewhat enjoy the company of the people you’re working with? People like people who are positive and enthusiastic. It’s infectious! If you like what you do and like helping people, be sure to have fun with it and show it.
2. Send holiday cards with a handwritten note.This one is an oldie but goodie. Set yourself apart by sending a holiday card with a short handwritten note to your clients. It’s an easy way to connect with them and say, “Hey, it’s great being your broker.” Even phrasing it that way makes a difference because it reinforces the fact that the relationship is already in place.
You should be keeping in touch with clients throughout the year. Sending a card this time of year is a no-brainer. There’s no need to offer or pitch anything (and indeed, that’s the last thing you should do here). Just send warm wishes and build rapport.
3. Pop a bottle with them. Or even better, saber a bottle.We heard of this move from a veteran broker who’s great at creating unique experiences to leave an impression on clients. Try this one out on the next deal you close. Whether it’s a sale or a lease, when the deal is done, set up a meeting with the client at the property. Bring a small table, a few snacks, and a bottle of champagne to enjoy together.
That’s not all though. Go above and beyond by sabering the bottle of champagne instead of just popping it. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds! You just need a sharp knife and a little pizzazz.
4. Send your client and his or her spouse out to a nice dinner—in a classic car.We also heard about this one from a broker. The idea is to arrange a special outing for your client and partner once the deal is closed. And sure, it’s one thing to foot the bill at a fancy restaurant with a nice bottle of wine. Some brokers might even order a limo. But to really set yourself apart, try hiring a driver for a more unique ride. The original story we heard features a Rolls Royce, but you can have your pick of interesting options via rental services like Turo.
You’ll be out a few hundred bucks at the end of the night, but you can bet that client won’t forget you. And when they have another deal, they’ll be giving you a call.
5. Get a professional photo taken for your client and team.This is a thoughtful gesture that’s special because it provides something essential, but also something that’s expensive and easy to keep putting off. And it can be fun! Go the extra mile for your clients by hiring a professional photographer at their new site. They can get headshots and/or pictures of their team and space for their website.
As a bonus, you can create a postcard with the new photographs and offer to send it to their network as a moving notice. Then, with that mailing list, you get new people to prospect.