Think of the last time you went to a baseball game. Even if you didn’t stand and wave your arms like an overgrown child, you secretly wanted one of those air gun-fired T-shirts to magically land in your lap, didn’t you?
And what about the last time you were a groomsman or bridesmaid in a wedding? Did your friend get you a nice souvenir to remember the occasion? (If not, you probably need new friends.)
The point is, everyone loves swag. Sure, the concept of small gifts or takeaways is not unique in the real estate world. In fact, you or your agency probably shells out for logo pens or magnets or plastic cups or something like that. And those are great for trade shows or the like, but if you’re trying to make an impression at an open house or with value clients (or even valued prospective clients) we recommend digging a little bit deeper than the Oriental Trading Company catalog, unless a gross of glitter pens is EXACTLY what you’re after.
Still needs some ideas after reading through ours? The ones in this article from lightersideofrealestate.com
are hilarious, touching and practical. We particularly love the agent who bought a snow blower for a couple who was living in a snowy climate for the first time. We also love the idea of vintage, framed maps of the city or area.
But first, here are a few of our own suggestions for memorable giveaways and gifts that make an impact:
Food Never Fails
In the case of an open house, this is a no-brainer. While you don’t want to leave a mess, a small bite and a basic non-alcoholic drink will make the experience more enjoyable for the folks who walk through. We suggest something savory and non-crumbly, which makes cheese a logical choice. To class it up, buy several different blocks (even the grocery store brand or Kraft are perfectly fine), slice thick and plate. (And yes, pre-packaged cheese cubes are the worst.)
For valued clients, or those who have recently closed, we suggest gift certificates to hot local restaurants. And for the BEST of the best, keep an open account at an excellent local establishment that will work with you, perhaps with a tab limit and perhaps not. Send that restaurant owner enough business and there’ll probably be a discount in it for you down the line. For the clients it’s nice because they get to celebrate their recent purchase or sale ON you, but not WITH you (trust us, they probably don’t want to see you any more than you want to see them at the moment).
At open houses, this might be a little tougher, but it’s good to keep tabs on local trends that might appeal to a large section of the population. Is the local football or baseball team in the playoffs? Spring for some team-logo bottle openers. Is there a hot new bakery or chocolate-maker? Spring for some cookies or chocolate bars for attendees to carry away. They’ll appreciate the effort.
(Obviously your card should go with every item… you’re still marketing yourself and your firm here.)
For individual client gifts, get to know them. A sale of several hundred thousand dollars is enough to warrant tickets to a big upcoming game or concert or a night or two at romantic local getaway. If they have kids, museum or zoo passes would definitely be appreciated. At the very least, personalized books on subjects they enjoy will be well-received and fondly remembered, which is nice the next time they want to list a home.
Come on. Duh.
Know your client’s tastes – even steal a look at their liquor cabinet or wine rack when you’re over to chat – and buy accordingly. And don’t assume more expensive is better – many a millionaire enjoys a simple glass of Jack Daniels at night. Whatever is at the front of their cabinet is probably what they like.
Give to Charity
Here’s something outside the box: If you know your clients well enough to know they have a social passion, make a notable contribution to a nonprofit or charitable fund in their name. Some people truly don’t want or expect anything for themselves, but helping out a cause they care about you can go a long way toward earning their repeat business – and excellent word of mouth.