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Focus on Core Services to Gain Customers for Life

September 12 2012

business peopleIf the ups and downs of the real estate market have taught us anything, it's that we must nurture our client relationships in order to stay afloat during difficult times. As a broker, you should be thinking of retaining customers for life – not just in terms of single transactions. One way to do this is to focus on core services.

Core Services

What do we mean when we're talking about core services? We're talking about looking beyond the sales of residential real estate and focusing on mortgage, insurance, title, home warranty, and commercial real estate.

We're not saying you should stop selling residential properties – although, as we've seen, future generations may be renting more and buying less. Instead, what we want to point out is that it's what you do throughout the transaction and after the transaction is complete that drives business and client retention across all service offerings.

Case Study: Howard Hanna Real Estate

Howard Hanna is an excellent example of a brokerage that has focused on core services to cement their position as an industry leader. They position themselves as a "full service" company, explaining that they can support their clients through every single step of a real estate transaction (from appraisal to closing) in-house.

Some of the services they offer include:

  • Appraisal
  • Closing services
  • Commercial real estate
  • Property management
  • Mortgage
  • Insurance
  • Relocation and corporate development
  • Land development

You can see a full list with further explanation on their website:

We asked Hoby Hanna about how these core services fit into and enhance the Howard Hanna business model. "Although many people may think of us primarily as a brokerage for selling homes or purchasing homes, our business is a comprehensive real estate services company. This has developed over many years. We realized in the recession of the early 1980s that the ability to finance a client was a key component for keeping a real estate business alive. We built the mortgage branch of our business and continued to expand additional real estate services, developing an emphasis on making the real estate process as smooth as possible from beginning to end."

What has this meant for their business? "The services we offer keep customers coming back to our brand and building relationships for life." Need proof of this? Howard Hanna has experienced growth during our current financial crisis. In fact, Hoby explains, "Right now, we're in the midst of four years of consecutive growth across our business. I think the fact that we have 160 million dollars a month available for mortgages has been essential for making this possible."

It's important to note that Howard Hanna Mortgage Services is a wholly independently owned subsidiary of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. They are their own mortgage bank and keep the business entirely in-house. It's essential to distinguish this from joint venture partnerships, which Hoby Hanna contends don't often offer the same benefits.

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