More than perhaps any other industry, real estate is built on relationships. Because so much of what you do and talk about with clients is personal — from accessibility needs to financial history and more — the ability to relate deeply to clients and colleagues is essential.
It may make sense intuitively that the one-on-one relationship between an individual agent and a client would be based on relationships, but you may not realize that some of the biggest companies in the world lean into customer relationships as well. From loyalty programs to referral incentives to "member" perks, building relationships is big business.
Based on a recent Hubspot report, here are eight companies that thrive on relationship-building — and how you can duplicate their methods.
What they do: Reimburse customers up to $100 who pay for TSA PreCheck with their Capital One credit card.
What it means: Capital One builds loyalty by removing one of life's little inconveniences — long lines at the TSA — and making it easier and more convenient to travel.
How you can apply this strategy to real estate: Look at the pain points in a transaction and solve them for your client. Remote closing, for instance, may cost a little extra but offers huge convenience. Pick up the (small) tab, and let your clients know you care about their time.
What they do: One of Delta's most successful marketing channels is its SkyMiles reward program.
What it means: Delta partners with credit card companies to offer "points," thus encouraging SkyMiles members to choose Delta over other airlines. They even provide free access to Delta Sky Club lounges for many members.
How you can apply this strategy to real estate: Create your own loyalty program and differentiate your service by offering perks for repeat customers and members of your sphere. Provide an annual CRM, client appreciation events, and discounted services for repeat clients and referrals.
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation
What they do: Send current borrowers birthday greetings and ongoing value-added content.
What it means: Mortgage customers always know who to turn to for lending products and feel that they are valued and respected.
How you can apply this strategy to real estate: Make sure your CRM is updated with birthdays, anniversaries, and other important life events. Consistently communicate on these occasions and year-round with value-added, relevant information via email newsletter, blog post, video, or podcast episode.
What they do: Rihanna's makeup and clothing brand differentiated itself instantly in the crowded cosmetics and fashion landscape through a commitment to inclusivity — skin color, size, and representation in marketing and fashion shows.
What it means: Fenty is wildly popular because it's for everyone. By allowing everyone to see themselves in their marketing, the brand has greatly expanded its reach beyond traditional limits.
How you can apply this strategy to real estate: Take a look at your marketing. Is it limited in terms of the type of client you work with or the type of property you represent? While developing a niche can be a great strategy, it shouldn't be based on factors that could suggest bias or fair housing violations.
What they do: GE creates content across a variety of genres and topics. They sponsor everything from sci-fi podcasts to history-related YouTube channels.
What it means: GE's content reflects its legacy brand history and its spirit of innovation while reaching a variety of customers with wide-ranging and engaging content.
How you can apply this strategy to real estate: Don't limit yourself to one content channel or one topic. Repurpose written content in video and graphic formats. Consider creating content around a variety of real estate-related topics, including markets, design, finance, and hyperlocal neighborhood news.
What they do: Build engagement on digital channels through risk-taking content like their "Pizza Turnaround," where they shared negative reviews and highlighted their new and improved recipes.
What it means: Transparency and authenticity build trust and engagement with your audience, as well as loyalty.
How you can apply this strategy to real estate: If you gather reviews and testimonials for your business (and you should), respond to them and engage with them — even if they're negative. When you respond positively and constructively to reviews, you show that you're willing to take on feedback and that you're not afraid to share the ups and downs of your business.
What they do: Panera has repeatedly expressed customer-first commitments, notably by announcing that they would make 100% of their food 100% clean, then following through on that commitment by removing artificial flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives from their products.
What it means: Panera's customers feel that the company is committed to doing the right thing for their health and wellness, building trust and brand loyalty.
How you can apply this strategy to real estate: Commit to doing what's right for your leads and clients in whatever way makes sense for you and your brand. Offer financial and transaction education so that they're making more informed decisions. Implement policies and processes to make your business greener. Create a community give-back program that illustrates your commitment to local charities or causes.
What they do: Offer a lifetime warranty on their cell phone covers, laptop skins, and other device protection products.
What it means: Customers can buy with confidence and stay engaged for the long term since a lifetime warranty means no-risk peace of mind.
How you can apply this strategy to real estate: Stay engaged with clients consistently, long after the closing. Make yourself a valuable resource for referrals to local service providers and a trusted source of information about the market. Cultivate a relationship that makes you their real estate agent for life.
You may not think you have much in common with a multi-million-dollar international conglomerate, but best practices can apply across many different businesses. What does your favorite company do that makes them your absolute go-to? Find a way to apply their strategy to your business and build that same loyalty for your sphere.