13 January 2020 | 8 Comments
A few months ago, my girlfriend and I bought a condo. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone through the home-buying process, but fortunately we had an attentive, helpful realtor (Paul at Allen Brake).
Ever since we moved in, Paul has stayed in touch with us in non-intrusive ways: He sent us personalized notes when we moved in and at Christmas, he checked in by text when he was traveling abroad (this was a reference to a chat we had during the home touring process), and he even delivered a pumpkin pie the week of Thanksgiving.
While I was never bothered by any of this, early on I wondered why he was doing it (other than just being a nice guy). That is, Paul already sold us the condo–he accomplished the primary objective. A pie isn’t going to get us to buy a second condo a few months after the first.
But then I realized at least part of the goal: Paul is helping us remember him (and remember that we like him) so that he’s our realtor for the rest of our lives, not just for the first sale. He’s building the foundation for long-term loyalty. And not just for us, but potentially for our friends when they’re looking for a home.
While I think this is effective for high-priced items (homes, cars, etc), and particularly effective when the relationship is personalized, I think there is also a version of it that works en masse for Kickstarter creators and preorder customers. Whenever Stonemaier Games runs a short preorder campaign and starts fulfilling orders, I send a update to all customers informing them of the status of fulfillment in their region.
Also, I try to “onboard” those customers by providing links to videos about learning the game, inviting them to join the community on the corresponding Facebook group, and giving them instructions on what to do if their game doesn’t arrive exactly as they envisioned it (i.e., damaged box, misdelivery, missing components).
While it would be nice to do what Paul does and check back in with those customers from time to time, that would equate to me subscribing them to something they didn’t opt into, which I can’t do (ethically or legally). So instead I invite them to sign up for our monthly enewsletter in case they want to hear more in the future.
Overall, Paul’s approach is better. Pie is always better. But it’s reminded me about the importance of staying in touch with my customers. Yes, the sale is complete, but the potential of a long-term relationship could prove far more rewarding for everyone involved.
Have you had a similarly positive experience with a realtor or salesman of any kind? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments (and your thoughts about how this can be implemented at scale).
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