Past customers are the key to long-term success in the mortgage business. A customer appreciation party is one way to show your past customers that you are their mortgage consultant now and in the future. It is the best way to meet your customers after the loan has closed and once again thank them for their business. Continual contact after their loan closes using emails, mailings, and phone calls are useful tools to stay in-touch. You can keep them informed of new programs, cash-out options, or savings possibilities, but appreciation parties are one of the few ways that will allow you to meet them face-to-face. The following party suggestions will help you create customer loyalty, additional referrals, and increased transactions.
1. Guest List – Start by inviting all the customers you have closed a mortgage for in the past 2 years. If your company mails customer satisfaction surveys to your past customers, make sure you review them when creating your invitation list. If you have had any extremely unhappy customers, do not invite them to the event. Add repeat customers and realtors, insurance agents, builders, contractors, and attorneys that are good referral partners. Always invite the members of your staff including: processors, closers, post closers, receptionists, sales managers, and anyone who may have had contact with some of your past customers.
2. Budget – Contact your sales manager or main office and ask them for a budget for your customer appreciation party. Try to collaborate with a title company, credit repair company, contractors, or insurance agent as a sponsor to increase the budget for the party.
3. Pick a Venue – Depending on your budget, you may be able to book a party center, rent a pavilion at a park, or chose to have a barbeque in your parking lot. Just remember, customer appreciation parties should be a party, not a sales event.
4. Party Details – Price out and decide on the time and day or your event. Would business hours or a weekend entice more attendees? Choose your food, drinks, and entertainment. Do you want to hire a disk jockey or hire a band? Do you want to have a bounce house for the kids or money machine booth for the adults?
5. Promotional Items – Do you want to offer all guests a door prize for attending? Maybe, you can have a grand prize and ask the sponsors of the event to provide gift cards. You can encourage your past customers to attend the party by promoting prizes offered at the event, such as: televisions or vacations. Inexpensive gifts such as: hats, t-shirts, coffee mugs, and promotional items at the party are fine, but make sure you also have some expensive gifts to attract more past-customers to your party.
6. Invitations – Mail invitations to all guests and follow-up with email invitations 3 weeks prior to the party. Ask anyone who will be attending to RSVP, so you have an idea on how much to buy for the party. One week before, follow-up with phone calls to any past customers that haven't responded.
Make sure you spend the time at the party mingling with your guests. If mortgage questions come up take down their information and let them know you will follow-up with them after the event. Use the time at the party to build relationships and stay away from just selling. Throwing a well-planned and organized customer appreciation party will result in increased past customer retention, greater satisfaction with referral partners, enhanced imaging, and increased-consistent referrals.