Previous clients are the key to long-term success in the mortgage business. A client appreciation party is a way to show your past clients that you are their mortgage advisor now and in the future. It is the best way to meet your clients once the loan is closed and thank them once again for their business. Ongoing contact after your loan closes through emails, mails, and phone calls are helpful tools for staying in touch. You can keep them informed about new programs, cash-out options, or savings possibilities, but thank you parties are one of the few ways you can get to know them face-to-face. The following tips for parties will help you build customer loyalty, additional referrals, and increased transactions.
1. Guest List: Start by inviting all the clients for whom you have closed a mortgage in the last 2 years. If your company sends customer satisfaction surveys to its past customers, be sure to review them when you create your invitation list. If you’ve had extremely unhappy customers, don’t invite them to the event. Add regular clients and real estate agents, insurance agents, builders, contractors, and attorneys who are good referral partners. Always invite your staff members, including: processors, closers, position closers, receptionists, sales managers, and anyone who may have had contact with some of your past clients.
2. Budget: Contact your sales manager or main office and ask them for a quote for your customer appreciation party. Try partnering with a title company, credit repair company, contractors, or insurance agent as a sponsor to increase the party budget.
3. Pick a Venue – Depending on your budget, you may be able to reserve a party center, rent a pavilion in a park, or choose to have a barbecue in your parking lot. Just remember, customer appreciation parties should be a party, not a sales event.
4. Party details – Set the price and decide the time and day of your event. Would business hours or a weekend attract more attendees? Choose your food, drinks and entertainment. Do you want to hire a disc jockey or hire a band? Do you want to have a bounce house for the kids or a money maker booth for the adults?
5. Promotional Items: Do you want to offer all guests a prize for attending? Perhaps, you can have a grand prize and ask event sponsors to provide gift cards. You can encourage your previous clients to attend the party by promoting the prizes offered at the event, such as: televisions or vacations. Inexpensive gifts like: hats, t-shirts, coffee mugs, and party favors are fine, but make sure you have some expensive gifts as well to attract more pre-party customers.
6. Invitations – Email invitations to all guests and follow up with email invitations 3 weeks before the party. Ask anyone who will be attending RSVP, so you have an idea of how much to buy for the party. A week before, follow up with phone calls to previous customers who have not responded.
Be sure to spend time at the party mingling with your guests. If questions arise about the mortgage, write down their information and let them know that you will contact them after the event. Use the party time to build relationships and don’t just sell. Hosting a well-planned and organized customer appreciation party will result in higher retention from past customers, higher satisfaction with referral partners, improved images, and more consistent referrals.