Ah, the holidays. Just the mention of it brings up a lot of different emotions and triggers—relaxation, frenetic to-do lists, family togetherness, shopping among crowds, year-end “Let’s wrap this up” energy.
It’s a busy time, but also a perfect time to reconnect with clients old and new, relive the year’s memories, get reinvigorated for the year ahead…a fresh start. Personally, it’s one of my favorite times of the year. I spend a lot of time reflecting on what went right and wrong, what I could do differently in the next year, revisit old goals and set new ones—and, the kids come home from school. No time of year could be better.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for you and your team to connect professionally with past clients and current ones. Yes, everyone else is doing it and maybe you don’t want to be like “everyone”—you’d rather honor your client list at other times of the year. I get that, too, but there’s something about the spirit of giving at this time of year that naturally carries over for great client connecting.
I’ve put together a short list of ideas, from easy to maybe a bit more effort. All are proven, all appreciated. Pick one, put an action list against it this week, and get ready for some great end-of-the-year cheer.
1. Charitable Contribution
This is the simplest idea of all, which benefits not only you, but also the community. Pick up to four charities (I suggest one in each of four categories: children, the arts, pets, homelessness). Send a simple email to your client base (you can also do this in a holiday card, but email is quicker and more economical) inviting them to pick one of the four charities, and, in turn, you’ll make a donation in their name to that charity for the holidays. On my team, we’ve done this using an email blast with an easy Google form embedded for our clients to check off their preferred charity. If your list isn’t large, you can also simply do this by asking your clients to send a quick reply to your email.
One caveat: When choosing your charities, call them ahead of time to make sure that they will be able to send a personal letter to each of your clients stating that a donation was made in their name (this is a bonus touch—the clients will typically receive a letter in January saying that your real estate team made the donation in their honor). How much to donate? That’s up to you, but can be as small as $5 per person.
2. Spur-of-the-Moment Food or Coat Drive
If you need a reason for your sales team to reach out to current and past clients during busy November and December, have them stage a last-minute coat drive. It’s a great reason to make a call, gives you a chance to connect with clients firsthand when they drop off their old coats, and you give back to the community at the same time. Better yet (but a bit more effort), send the team out on a planned day to pick up coats, food or clothing from everyone’s front porches—value-added for your clients and an opportunity to see them for a minute or two in their own homes.
3. Offer Holiday Decorating Services
Team up with your favorite staging company to offer holiday decorating. The stager is probably not as busy this time of year and would love to bring in some year-end business. Offer your clients a discount on the holiday decorating as a way to say thank you for their business with you this year. It’s the perfect gift for this year’s homebuyers or an even better way to connect with those buyers from 3-6 years ago who may be thinking about their next move. Along the same line, a discount coupon to a local tree lot is another great giveaway that you can send in the mail or via email.
4. Host a Breakfast With Santa
This idea is tons of fun and a great way for your whole team to get involved, though notably with a bit more effort. Plan ahead for this event—you’ll need a good “Santa,” a photographer (could be you), some snacks, a location with a photo backdrop and invitations (email is fine, too). Add one more layer and invite vendors who sell gift-y things to host a table at the event. They’ll be happy to pay $25-$35 to participate (covering your costs) in order to get in front of your client base. Your agents can spend a morning connecting with clients, talking real estate for the year ahead.
5. Holiday Survival Kit Pop-By
Your team may have less closings to manage in December, so it’s a great time to do an unexpected “holiday survival kit” drop-by to your client base. A quick search on Pinterest brings up many simple ideas for crafty teams. I love the “In case of emergency, pop cork” burlap wine bags available on Etsy. Add a Christmas tag with a photo of your team and you are set for a great year-end reminder of your business.
6. Christmas Photo Ornaments
Walgreens, Shutterfly, Snapfish and many other photo craft online retailers offer photo ornaments that are simple, fun to create and inexpensive. This is a great way to remember your first-time homebuyers or past buyers with a photo of their new home and the year it came into their lives.
Don’t forget to showcase your plan on social media. There are many ways to bring attention to the great work you’re doing for your clients and community while wishing everyone a happy holiday season on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Sarah Bernard, senior coach for Workman Success Systems, came to real estate from a career in corporate marketing and property management. Licensed in 2014, Bernard sold $6 million in properties with 12 transactions in her first year and was Rookie of the Year. Five years later, she has grown a team that includes three buyer agents and support staff. She is committed to learning and improving her team management every day. For more information, please visit www.WorkmanSuccessSystems.com.