Courtesy of Apple

Customer or client loyalty is one of the aspects of marketing luxury real estate that can be measured with reasonable accuracy. We recently heard a story about an agent who thought she had the loyalty of a particular client.  Then, after spending a considerable amount of time abroad, the client came back into town for the weekend, noticed that a home that he and his wife admired for years came on the market.  They bought it on the spot from the listing agent with whom they also listed their current home for sale.  The terms of this multi-million dollar purchase were all cash with a very short closing. And, the listing had an equally sizable price tag. Ouch! 

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, what does it take to keep your clients loyal?  It may be wise to study the secrets of Apple, the world most valuable technology company. Oddly, the Wall Street Journal uncovered the confidential employee manual for running their retail stores and wrote an “exposé” on the subject.  The funny thing about the manual is that there were actually no real secrets at all.  Anyone can easily observe their “secrets” by visiting the store and experiencing their superb customer service, first hand. 

Do the following aspects of customer service sound like secrets to you? Or is it simply attention to every detail of the customer experience 

  • Passionate employees who love the products
  • Highly trained staff that acquires thorough product knowledge
  • Customer respect--no ridicule of those who do not understand something
  • Buffering the frustration of the tech-challenged with excellent listing skills
  • Solve customer problems vs. push sales
  • Up-selling subscriptions and tech support services
  • Employee tardiness is unacceptable
  • No sales quotas + no commissions = no pressure
  • In-store tech support

According to the Wall Street Journal, sales per square foot in Apple’s 326 retail stores range between $4-6,000.  To put this into perspective, Tiffany & Company sells $3000/sq. ft and Best Buy sells $880/sq. ft. Best Buy’s, who sells multiple product lines, has a profit margin around 1% before taxes.  Apple’s profit margin, selling only its own products, is 26%.

Having an Apple Store nearby where you can have all of your questions answered by a cheerful staff vs. overseas tech support is quite conducive to customer loyalty.  Being able to upload, store and sync all of your photos, documents, music and videos via iCloud, with all of your Apple computers and mobile devises “seals the deal!"

What are your “secrets” to maintain client loyalty in your luxury real estate marketing practice?  Are you paying close attention to every detail of your client experience like Apple does in their stores?

Read Part 2 of this Series

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