Use Moving Day to Cement Client Loyalty

Extend your customer service beyond the sale. Try these four methods for helping sellers achieve a stress-free move, and you’ll breed lifelong fans who will send you referrals.
Man cramming house into moving truck

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Moving day is a pivotal point in the client-agent relationship when you can instill customer loyalty. Your clients may seek guidance on organizing their belongings, packing more efficiently, and finding a trustworthy mover. If you’re prepared to provide straightforward advice and money-saving assistance, you could breed a lifelong fan who will send referrals your way. Here are ways you can help.

Be deliberate with service recommendations. Provide a list of reputable storage and moving services to your clients before moving day. It will save them the time and trouble to research such companies, and you’ll demonstrate your knowledge and connections in the industry. “We have to be the source of the source of whatever they need,” says Jerry Newman, MRP, a sales associate with Brown Realty in San Antonio. “Whenever I make a recommendation, I always give two or three names of companies my past clients have used.” It’s important to give clients a choice of vendors, Newman advises, or your recommendation could backfire. “If you only give clients one name and they don’t have a good experience, it won’t help you get referrals.”

Promote staging as a way to prepare for a move. One of the primary purposes of staging a home is to declutter and remove items to make it more appealing on the market. But it also serves as advance work toward moving. Brittany Patterson Hill, vice president of The Patterson Group at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in Alexandria, Va., says 90 percent of her sellers need staging assistance anyway. So in the normal course of her work as a listing agent, she’s also helping clients pare down for their move. Once sellers sign a listing contract, Hill’s team provides them with boxes and bubble wrap to encourage packing and decluttering. Then the team sends in a professional stager or organizer for an objective assessment, and Hill uses the recommendations to compile a to-do list for her clients. The team will order a storage pod, dispatch a handyman, recommend cleaning crews or lawn service companies—whatever is required to make the home as move-in ready as possible. Hill also partners with Olympia Moving & Storage, a nationwide company, which will send in a team to pack up and store furnishings until moving day.

Help coordinate a “hybrid” move. Options are available for clients to rent a storage pod or moving truck and hire only the assistance they need, cutting costs significantly. For example, they can pack and transport belongings themselves and only hire professionals to load and unload. Michael Knowles, a sales associate with Keller Williams Memorial in Houston, recently coordinated such a move for a budget-conscious elderly seller whose physical limitations made it difficult for him to pack his furnishings. “He had just been laid off and couldn’t afford to hire a professional moving company,” Knowles says. So he suggested the seller rent a portable storage pod for his driveway. The storage company recommended HireAHelper to compare prices and contract with moving services. The seller was able to selectively book help for chores he couldn’t handle himself. “He only had to pay for help as he needed it, so his move was much more affordable,” Knowles says. Though he couldn’t recall the amount his seller paid, such a hybrid approach can easily save clients hundreds of dollars, depending on the volume of items to be moved. “Helping with a move like his is one more way I provide value to my clients. It goes with how I define ‘full-service.’”

Offer a turnkey solution. If you have the resources, provide sellers with free packing materials and a moving truck branded with your company logo. Conner Roohan, associate broker at Roohan Realty in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., says this service eliminates the stress and expense of hiring a moving company for his clients. “Anyone who buys or sells a house [with us] has use of our box truck for free,” he says, adding that the vehicle was used by clients for about 200 days out of the year in 2017. Roohan also provides free packing tape, boxes, and bags. Like the truck, all materials are prominently branded with the company’s green and white colors and logo. “The moving truck is one of the most proactive marketing tools we have—a mobile billboard for our company,” adds Barry Potoker, marketing director for Roohan Realty. “It saves clients time and money. We get amazing feedback about how much they appreciate that help.” Roohan cites it as a highly visible demonstration of the company’s commitment to service. “There are other reasons we get the listing, but the moving truck is one more thing in our pocket that we can show will benefit our clients. It really sets us apart from all the other real estate companies in the area.”