Gifts or Events?

Gifts or Events?

5 incredible events and 3 memorable gift ideas for expressing your client appreciation this year.

Don't let 2022 slip by without recognizing your clients in a big way. Although the pandemic is still affecting us, our celebrations had to be tamped down over the last couple of years. So, dust off that past client database and let's do some big planning between now and the end of the year!

Gifts? Events? What Do I Do?

If you have never done any gifting or live appreciation event before, now is a great time to dive in. There are really only a few things to consider:

  • What would be meaningful to you?
  • What would be meaningful to your clients?
  • How can you work in an element of live connection?
  • How much time do you have?
  • What is your budget?

Start making a list and jotting down some ideas over the next few days and in the meantime, let’s dive a little deeper into these points. Please note, I am also a proponent of creating a personal annual property report, but today is not the day for data. Today is a day for fun and celebrating!

What would be meaningful to you?

Do you love Thanksgiving? Do you have favorite holiday cookie recipes, handed down through the generations? Do you spend time each January planning and looking forward to the year ahead? Do you identify with a culture that has an interesting tradition you would like to share? Or do you just want to celebrate with your clients and have a great time? Start with what says year-end celebration to you and then think about how you can parlay that into a business client celebration.

What would be meaningful to your clients?

Although there may be religious or specific holiday-focused events that may make some clients uncomfortable or may even exclude some clients, generally-speaking, if it is meaningful to you, it will be meaningful to your clients.

Working in an element of live connection?

At the very least, meeting face-to-face to drop off a gift is key to making this worthwhile. After all, having a moment or two of conversation will re-engage that bond that may have been lost over the last few years.

How much time do you have?

There are only 77 days until Thanksgiving and 108 days until Christmas. You don’t have a lot of time to prepare, so be realistic about it. If you think you are going to have enough time to have an artist custom-create a watercolor house rendering for each of your clients (yes, that is a thing! Check this out: ), that might be pushing it. But if you want to plan an event for 100 people in the beginning of December, you have time to plan and get the word out if you start now. Well, finish reading this article first, but then get on it!

What is your budget?

It is very important to establish a budget right off the bat because it is easy for things to get expensive. Start with the most expensive components for the event and gifts – usually the venue, food, and the gifts themselves. Everything else – the invitations, linens, packing material - these usually have less-expensive counterparts that can be substituted.

5 Examples of Great End-of-Year Giving and Appreciation Events

  1. Harvest Celebration and Pie Giveaway
    This is great to do right before Thanksgiving. Invite your clients to come by your office or an event facility for some cider or even a harvest meal or snack and send them on their way with a pie.
  2. Breakfast with Santa
    This is hands-down my favorite event. I always held this event the first Saturday morning in December at a local golf course. I hired a Santa and a photographer who took photos of the kids. The kitchen churned out pancakes (pancakes are very inexpensive) while I schmoozed with my guests and passed out gifts to the kids. I had a coloring station and the kids had a blast!
  3. Cookie Exchange
    I have had a number of clients who have held cookie exchanges with small groups of clients. Either the agent supplied the cookies or clients brought some of their own homemade concoctions, the host or a helper sorts the cookies so everyone gets a variety, and everyone walks away with a few dozen holiday cookies.
  4. Wreath-Making
    Some garden centers pivot during the quieter holiday season and hold wreath-making events, allowing guests to add eucalyptus, bay, special evergreens, dogwood, corkscrew willow, pinecones, and other local greenery to evergreen or grapevine wreaths. This is a fun hands-on event that takes a couple of hours and the creativity is amazing!
  5. Pizza Event
    I admit, I have always wanted to throw this event. This might require renting a restaurant like a pizza establishment during lunch, but each person gets to roll out or throw their own dough, then add the toppings as they see fit. This is a lot of fun with people roasting each other’s’ choices (pineapple? Really?) and critiquing their technique. Then, the pizzas go in the oven (managed by restaurant staff) and come out in a queue.

Want to avoid a crowd? Here are three fun gift ideas instead:

  1. Gingerbread House Kit
    Drop these off with your clients and keep the fun going with an invitation to post a photo of the finished product on your social media page. Will there be a prize for the most-creative? The most realistic? How about the most gum drops used? Have fun!
  2. Branded Gifts
    A chocolate bar with your logo? A private-label bottle of wine? A snazzy stainless steel water bottle or travel mug? Yes! All of those are good and memorable gifts. The key is not to go cheap and give something that is tasteless or is going to fall apart.
  3. Charitable Gifts
    A gift to their-specified charity in their name can be an inspiring idea. Are your clients passionate about helping animals in need? Foster kids? Do they give to the local food bank? You can name a dozen or so charities that cover a wide range of needs in your community and allow your clients to choose the charity that they would you to donate to. Alternatively, you can just make a list and donate away!

Start getting into the holiday spirit and get excited about connecting with your clients this year! Your future pipeline will thank you and you can end the year feeling great about the connections you have made.

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By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.