What Should You Give Your Client this Holiday?
A card? An event? A gift? Your expertise? Denise Lones has expert advice for all of these choices. Create new business opportunities and reconnect with your past clients this season!
I have been getting this question a lot over the last few weeks as agents are trying to determine their plans for the last few weeks of the year.
Why are so many agents waiting until the last minute to plan? This year has difficult on homebuyers, homesellers, agents, lenders, the entire industry. Interest rates and inventory issues have dug in and look like they are going to be sticking around for a while. This has left a lot of agents scratching their heads and uncertain what the future holds - or - too busy scrambling for business to take a moment to re-evaluate and make a plan.
But I am going to let you in on a secret. While some agents have decided to hang it up for the rest of the year, there are many agents that are absolutely killing it right now. The difference between the two? Mindset.
There are two mindset types I see right now:
"I haven't had a deal in months. The momentum is gone! I am never going to sell anything again!"
"I haven't had a deal in months but I took this opportunity to connect with my past clients and provide updated market values for them."
"I just had another homebuyer say they want to wait to buy until interest rates come down."
"I just had another homebuyer say they wanted to wait to buy until interest rates come down, but I educated them on the pros and cons of waiting. Since house prices are still on the rise, waiting to buy may not be the most financially-smart move. They are mulling over their options."
"I am done trying. I am giving up until January."
"I am focusing on continuing to take the action I need, but I am also going to work on polishing some of my systems and processes right now. Business will come as long as I focus on taking meaningful action."
The rest of this article is for the Agent #2 mindset - the ones who are ready to take the action needed to create a strong 2024. Connecting with your database and past clients is the BEST thing you can do between now and year-end.
Psst! If you feel like you are more like Agent #1, I definitely encourage you to do one of the below activities - even if you aren't feeling it now. Your 2024 will thank you!
Holiday cards can be one of the most hands-off ways to connect this holiday season. But if you think you will have impact by sending a generic card with a pre-printed signature inside or send customized cards in bulk, that is NOT the direction I recommend.
Instead, choose a great card with space to write on the inside and get some pens that you enjoy writing with - think gel pens or different colors. Get some stickers or a stamp - some way to leave a little flourish. Then sit down and create about 2-3 custom sentences per card.
Take it a step further: Include a photo of their home decked out for the holidays if you have one. It shows that you are paying attention to their home and connects them back to you.
Events can be a great way to connect with a lot of clients and people over a short window of time. Many of my clients report that an event yields several transactions. There is still time to pull together an event for the holidays, but the clock is ticking!
Events really allow you to look at your community resources and determine the best fit for you. Some of my clients do a pie giveaway that has evolved from simply dropping off or picking up a pie to pie + coffee + concert while others do a pancake Breakfast with Santa or even pet photos with Santa. Some do an event like a wine or whisky tasting while others opt for movie screening or a play.
No matter what the event, you will need to determine a few components:
- How will you invite people?
- How will they register?
- How will you follow up with people who haven't registered?
- How will you connect with people at the event?
- How will you follow up with people after the event?
Of course, you will need to determine the event specifics as well, but don't get so caught up in those details that you forget about the main reason you are having this event - to connect!
Like events, gifts can be a great way to find a custom match for your business and your clients. Some agents gift items such as event tickets, holiday welcome mats, holiday ornaments, frames custom home sketches, baked goods, and even local artistic items. Of course, coffee gift cards also make their way into the mix.
Gifts can easily become unwieldly on the budget, so I encourage you to first determine if the gift-giving itself is worth the expense or if there is another way you could leave a lasting impression if you are concerned about the budget.
For example, if I have 100 past clients and I decide to give them each a box of special holiday cookies from the local bakery at $18 a pop, I would ask myself these questions:
- Is spending $1800 on my clients for cookies part of my business plan?
- Will these gifts leave a lasting impression and help connect me with my clients?
- Or, should I instead put together a local 4- or 8- page report on the local real estate market that includes statistics, sold properties, and a personal message? I can outsource that and between the development and the mailing it might cost me $1100.
We will get more into this in the Expertise section next, but it is important to ask oneself these questions before filling one's shopping cart with thousands of pairs of socks.
However, if you can strike the balance between a memorable gift and one that is friendly to your pocketbook, great!
In my opinion, there is no greater gift than that of your expertise. This isn't something that can be bought in a store or found online. Your expertise includes your time - all of your experiences up to this point, your transactions, and problems solved.
The challenge with giving a gift of your expertise is usually the time it will take to put it together. It may not cost that much to develop and put on a class or put together a newsletter or a report, but especially if you don't have the skillset to create a newsletter then you will need to pay someone else to do it. If you want to send out a custom property report to a client, it may take 45 minutes to an hour per report to do the research and create it (and then the time to send it out).
However, in my experience, if you can find the time or the budget to give your expertise, this is where the greatest reward for your effort can be found.
If I had 100 people in my database and past clients and wanted to add to my pipeline for 2024, here is how I would approach my plan for the next 60 days:
- Create a personalized property report for my clients. I would focus on either completing 10 per week for the next 10 weeks OR I would just plow through them and get them done depending on my personality.
- I would reach out to those clients and offer to set up a meeting with them to go over the report. This could be a meeting over coffee or even on Zoom as your client prefers.
- Got people who are unable to meet? Go ahead and mail (yes - snail mail in a large envelope) their reports and indicate you are available if they have questions. The follow up with a phone call or email a few weeks after sending.
Will this take time? Absolutely, but it is the highest-impact thing you can do for not much money. For each of these action items, time or money is the way you will have to pay to play.
If you are reflecting on 2023 and realizing that you connected very little with your database and past clients and want to change that moving forward in 2024, our LeadMagnet program may be just the thing your business needs to cultivate that highly-coveted past client and referral business. Give the gift of your expertise all year long!
Take a look at the info here and if you are intrigued, schedule a consultation with us.