You’ve done the networking, met the people, and they’re in your client relationship manager (CRM), so now what? You’re probably wondering how to build client relationships: What strategies to use, what tools are available, and what client relationship success looks like. A strong client relationship means providing excellent service, which builds trust and loyalty. From your first outreach to being the best man at your client’s wedding, I’ll help you establish and build lasting, meaningful client relationships. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Definition: Client relationship building consciously enhances the client experience to secure brand loyalty.
  • Pros and cons: Long-term client relationships build businesses through reputation, referrals, and repeat business. The only con is that it takes time and thoughtfulness to do it well. 
  • Agent perspective: The tips on this list are probably things that agents already do, but building client relationships means taking them up a notch and doing them strategically and with purpose. 

Why Building Client Relationships Is Important

In real estate, the relationships between the professional and the client are crucial to growing a successful business. Developing and maintaining client relationships helps agents:

  • Fill their sales funnel 
  • Convert leads to clients 
  • Ensure former clients become repeat clients
  • Make sure clients refer you to others

Other than doing actual real estate (and paying taxes), client relationship management is the most important part of your job. The big question is how to do it well. You might know how to network, and you are pretty good at getting leads and nurturing them, but how do you build client relationships that are lasting and unshakable? It takes time, it takes strategy, and, above all, it takes a genuine desire to serve your clients with respect and care. 

How to Build Client Relationships: Our Top Five Tips

These five crucial tips will help you drive your business forward as you focus on building (and maintaining) client relationships. 

1. Get to Know Your Client

a real estate agent asks his clients plenty of questions while building client relationships

This is the first step and perhaps the most essential one. How can you build client relationships if you don’t really know your client? It’s crucial to understand your client’s needs, challenges, preferences, and personalities so that you can exceed their expectations. Here are some questions to ask yourself about your clients that will go a long way in helping you build a solid foundation for your professional relationship. 

  • What is your client’s preferred method of communication?
  • How frequently does your client want to hear from you?
  • What is their style (formal or more informal)?
  • What are their real estate needs?
  • Are their expectations aligned with their finances?
  • How can you best guide them?
  • Do they have other considerations (pets, kids, aging parents)?
  • What are their long- and short-term goals?
  • What are your clients’ values? 
  • How can you build trust with your clients? 

Getting to know your buyers and sellers is the first step in serving them as a real estate agent and establishing a long-term client relationship.  

2. Provide Unparalleled Customer Service

a real estate agent provides excellent customer service as part of building client relationships

You can’t control the market, the inventory, or the interest rates. You can’t ensure your client’s mortgage approval matches their dreams. You certainly can’t control their emotions or frustrations. Really, the only thing you can control is … you. You can provide excellent customer service no matter what the circumstances might be. 

Good customer service is: 

  • Doing what you say you’ll do 
  • Answering calls 
  • Responding to texts and emails promptly
  • Offering helpful information and advice 
  • Handholding 
  • Listening 
  • Being empathetic
  • Being honest
  • Anticipating needs
  • Understanding challenges
  • Offering solutions

The difference between good customer service and the best customer service of any other agent in the area is how you make your clients feel. Do they feel like the most important part of your business? Do they feel listened to and understood? Do they feel respected? If your clients feel this way, you’re well ahead of your competition in creating lasting client relationships. 

3. Keep Communication Lines Open

a real estate agent keeps lines of communication open while building client relationships

I know an agent who calls every contact on her phone once a quarter. She’ll go on a long walk and check in with former clients, old friends, and cool and warm leads, which is an excellent strategy for building client relationships. Being in touch is a chance to open the door to business and keep tabs on what’s happening in people’s lives. You never know when a casual chat leads to a conversation about a possible job change or a baby on the way, which might mean a new real estate need. 

Here are my top tips for successful communication in client relationship building:

  • Create a cadence for your contacts that makes sense: It might not be the same for everyone—some might need more touchpoints than others. But with all the sophisticated CRMs, it should be easy to set custom automations for your many contacts. 
  • Make communication personal: Use their name and personalize your outreach for each contact. Is there anything worse than getting an email that says, “Dear {first name, last name}, I was just thinking about you!”?
  • Keep communications clean and clear: Be sure you’re editing and looking for typos, as any communication you send out reflects you and your brand. Not sure what to say or don’t have the time to write? Try out ChatGPT or other artificial intelligence (AI) writing tools. Be sure to take out any fluff and remain professional and warm. 

4. Be Present on Social Media

a real estate agent stays active on social media, building client relationships

I would argue that social media is as important as being present in person. Plus, it’s a way to make yourself available, connected to clients, and show off your professional bona fides—all in one place. It can also give you a chance to post about your personal life so that clients think of you as a friend, not just a professional. But, while you post photos of listings, congratulate new owners on closing day and offer tips for living in your farm area, don’t forget to interact with your audience.

Most agents focus on creating content for social media, which is undoubtedly important. But when you focus on how to build client relationships, you need to engage with your contacts. That means:

  • Liking and commenting on their posts. 
  • Updating your CRM to reflect their big announcements, e.g., new babies, new jobs, vacations. These are all great things to ask about when you reach out. 
  • Offering testimonials on LinkedIn. 
  • Reviews of their businesses. 
  • Even engage with them in a Facebook group about your town’s history. 

It’s all about creating that sense of community, trust, and loyalty. 

5. Build Trust With Expertise

a real estate agent builds trust by showing her expertise, building client relationships

When you’re thinking about how to build relationships with clients, the word trust should be at the top of your mind. The best way to build trust is to show that you’re the expert. You know your market, community, and clients, so you’re the best one who can guide them through real estate’s tough ins and outs and make their dreams come true. Honesty and expertise are the keys to establishing that you are the expert. 

Ways to demonstrate your expertise and build trust when building client relationships: 

  • Send relevant property searches
  • Offer market reports
  • Prepare comparative market analyses (CMAs)
  • Educate yourself on every property
  • Prepare your clients for the selling/buying process
  • Provide referrals
  • Be able to speak about the neighborhood
  • Stay up to date on zoning and development plans
  • Line up necessary appointments
  • Send print mail that offers value and shows you as a local expert (e.g., local high school basketball schedule or a holiday recipe)
  • Remain honest and work with integrity at all times

Essential Tools for Relationship Marketing

The good news is that client relationship marketing and management is highly cost-effective. It costs my agent friend nothing to call all her contacts except time and a phone plan. However, an excellent CRM is the most valuable tool in the agent’s arsenal. A stellar CRM is one that you’ll use, as they say. 

We’ve rounded up our top CRMs and our favorite free CRMs (click these links to check them out for yourself!). We value CRMs that make communications easy to personalize, make it possible to keep detailed notes on your contacts, and even allow you to interact with clients on social media through the platform.

Liondesk, our top CRM pick, is an excellent tool when building client relationships
LionDesk, our top CRM pick (Source: LionDesk)

Bringing It All Together

When you’re thinking about how to build relationships with clients, I bet you already do many of the things required. But these tips will help you elevate your networking and nurturing game to build meaningful client relationships that will last a lifetime. Creating a real estate business ensures clients like, trust, and value you. A big part of that client relationship is your clients knowing that you like, trust, and value them right back.