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COVID-19 has thrown quite a monkey wrench into the world of real estate. A once personalized industry filled with client lunches, brokerage conferences, and holiday parties has now been put on hold by social distancing restrictions. As a result, agents are seeking new, innovative ways to connect with their clients through this unusual holiday season.
However, with local limitations, economic uncertainty in the community, and a fear of spreading the virus, many agents are questioning how they should connect. To help them stand out this holiday season, we have compiled a list of five COVID-safe outreach ideas realtors can utilize to stay present!
Before we dive in, we want to highlight how important it is to include a personalized note with every gift! For each idea below, we have included a sample note to make life simpler.
Below you will find gift ideas, sample email templates and handwritten note templates you can use right away, and tips on how to execute your plan.
1.) Give A Gift While Supporting A Local Business
Since the pandemic struck, it has been reported that over 160,000 businesses have shut down in the United States. And now, with scientists predicting another surge of cases on the way, more small businesses face the same bleak future. So, to help promote their brand while supporting their community, agents across the states have developed a new tradition: Giving a gift from a local business.
Melanie Jo Beran, Realtor at J.L. Wyatt Properties in Pearland, Texas, shared that she is sending salsa from a local family-owned business based out of Houston, Texas – Dos Margaritas Salsa. Melanie states, “I send salsa to clients – everybody loves salsa! Plus, I get to support a local business.”
“I send salsa to clients – everybody loves salsa! Plus, I get to support a local business.”
– Melanie Jo Beran, Realtor at J.L. Wyatt Properties
This inventive concept of giving back to the community while giving to your clients can make you stand out – Not only as an agent for thinking of them during the holidays but also as a compassionate member of the community.
Spreading holiday cheer this year through Modern Bakers. My favorite bread in town! Enjoy this with your family this season, and stay safe!
2.) Donate a Toy to Toys for Tots
With high unemployment rates, many families are facing a tight holiday budget, leaving children without seasonal gifts. To help fight this problem, consider donating a toy on behalf of your clients. Everyone loves the feeling of giving back, and displaying your empathetic side can sway potential clients to select you instead of the competition.
Instead of gifts this year, I am purchasing a toy for my clients to donate to Toys for Tots. With the pandemic, we all see the financial difficulties families around us are experiencing. I wanted to make sure that we could help as many children as possible enjoy this season. So, for you, I donated a toy truck – Looks just like yours! Here’s a picture!
Have a great holiday season! I look forward to working with you next year.
3.) Deliver a Dinner or Sweets
While you cannot enjoy a sit-down dinner with your clients, you can bring dinner to their door!
Many agents have found that their transition to a full-time desk job has been difficult, and they are seeking fun ways to get back out into the community without posing a health risk to others. As a result, they are creating dinner care packages for their clients and dropping them off one at a time. This benefits both the agent and the client while keeping everyone safe!
If you don’t have time to personally deliver the dinner, don’t fret – Many local restaurants would be happy to step in. Consider contacting your favorite local restaurant and setting up your gifts through them. This is another way to support local businesses while keeping it personal with your clients.
I know we are missing our annual Holiday dinner this year! So, since we can’t go out together, I thought I would send it to your home.
Here is a basket with all the essentials to make that steak dinner we love at Morton’s!
Hope you enjoy it!
4.) Send a Gift Card For a Local Restaurant or an Experience
If you are on a tight budget or strict timeline, simply send a personalized note and a gift card.
What you write will depend on your current relationship with the client; however, keep your note short and sweet! Always include a hint that you have been listening to your client – It will make them feel extra special this season.
Here are some ideas you can try:
- MasterClass subscription
- National Park annual membership
- Happily – send a date night
- CrateJoy – subscription boxes for everyone
A recent homeowner in Mission Viejo, California, shared a note she received from her real estate agent. They had her house on the market; however, she decided to postpone the sale until after the holidays. She wanted to cherish the season and focus on the family. Her agent wrote the following:
Happy Holidays! Sending you cheers and joy through the end of 2020.
It has been so great to get to work with you this year, and to show my appreciation, I am sending you a gift card to MasterClass – I know you love to cook, and they feature many great chefs! Hopefully, since many of us are stuck inside, this will provide you and your family with a great night of bonding and entertainment!
I look forward to reconnecting in 2021 and helping you move into your next dream home! Have a safe and happy holiday season.
5.) Drop Off A Pop-By Gift
Have fun while delivering uniquely crafted gifts! Consider dropping off a pop-by gift.
Introduced by Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty, pop-by gifts provide realtors the opportunity to turn gift-giving into a game. The idea is to create a gift basket for your clients and drop them off at the door. Once you have left the gift, send your clients a message stating that there is something special for them at their door. This allows your clients to get a special surprise while again staying safe during COVID.
The goal of delivering off pop-by gifts is not to ask for business or referrals but instead, provide a gift to cheer up someone’s day. Executed correctly, pop-by gifts can provide agents access to business via word-of-mouth marketing. In fact, Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty identified that their most valuable business has come from their clients’ social media posts!
Buying gifts, however, can often be the most challenging part! Just what do you get your clients? Well, this will depend on the clients, but here are a few examples offered by Kuper:
• Cozy throw
• Christmas cookies
• Christmas candles
For clients who have helped your business progress throughout the year, you will want to take a more personal approach – Consider sending a basket! The team at Kuper shared numerous ideas, including their most recent Christmas basket…
Packaged nicely, this is a pleasant surprise to any client who opens their door. Remember, though, always include quality brands in your basket. What you buy your clients reflects your personal brand, so ensure you are sending the right message.
Lastly, always include a note! Keep it simple, and never mention business.
Happy fall, y’all. Hope you guys enjoy this. Have a great weekend! Would love to catch up soon.
Execute Your Plan!
To help agents get started, the team at Kuper Academy outlined the basics of pop-by gifts. Their plan provides realtors a general outline on how to execute their gift-giving this year!
Now, let’s take a closer look…
Organize your clients.
Before getting started identifying what to send, you first want to organize your clients. You can manage them by their interests, business level, or any other way you want to categorize your gift-giving.
To make this simple, always use your CRM to organize. With Cloze, you can use tags to manage your contacts by common traits to personalize gift giving. For example, you could organize all of your clients that have dogs with a tag called “dog-lovers” and then add a little something extra for their dogs in a gift basket. You can also apply tags for their favorite sports team or whether or not they have young children. You can add as many tags as you would like, which will make a personalized gift more manageable than ever.
Set your budget and buy your gifts.
As you organize your clients, think about your overall budget and how you’ll divide it. With COVID restrictions, end-of-year client parties are no longer possible, so consider redeploying this budget for a little something extra this year. One approach is to have a base gift or card for your broader sphere and higher-end gifts for your top clients. By organizing your clients based on client traits, you can start with a core gift idea and then layer on top of it to personalize it and add a bit more.
You should also consider sending gifts to those who sent you a referral. With Cloze, you can track all of the referrals you have received throughout the year.
Buy your gifts and prepare to send them. Remember: Keep it authentic!
Once you have set your budget, it is time to start purchasing your gifts. You will want to creatively package them to stand out – Do not just have them shipped from an eCommerce site!
When packaging, it may be tempting to include marketing-type materials with your gift or card, but it is not recommended. To keep your gesture genuinely authentic and not too “salesy,” avoid company-branded items, business cards, and asking for referrals. The purpose of your gift is to show you care, keep yourself top-of-mind, and deepen your relationship—referrals and business will come with time.
Deliver the gifts.
Now that gifts are purchased and beautifully packaged, it is time for delivery. For this step, you can mail them, drop them off personally, or hire a courier to distribute them. However, for significant clients, it is recommended that you deliver the gift personally. You will want to take a minute to say hello; this will help nourish that relationship.
Cloze makes it easy.
- Search for your gifts tag
- Sort by distance
- Open a map for each contact
During delivery, also remember: Timing is essential. Never send a gift on or near the holiday. These times can be stressful, so try to pick a time they are likely to be home without too much going on.
Log your activity into your CRM.
It’s important to log your gift-giving and holiday card activity into your CRM too. This will allow you to track your communications for the next year and provide you with data so you do not send matching gifts year after year.
With Cloze, you can quickly log your activity in one bulk action. The activity is logged in the timeline with a short note, so you’ll know exactly what you gave each client and when you sent it!
Sending holiday cheer is a great way to stay present in your client’s minds throughout the holiday season. However, due to their busy schedules paired with the uncertainty of today’s market, they often forget about the good deed you did once January hits. This is not due to selfishness, but instead just part of normal human behavior.
Therefore, it is imperative that once the new year hits, you follow up with your clients. Check your Cloze account and track your follow-ups. Be the first to connect with them, and discuss trends for the coming year and how they can benefit from the current economic conditions. Remember, your goal is to be their go-to agent, so when they are ready to transact, you will be the first person they call!