The copier has finally cooled down. You’ve put salve on your paper cuts and your clients have applied the icy hot to their aching wrists. The bank checks have cleared and the escrow is signed, sealed and delivered.
Now, it’s time to party.
The concept of celebrating a closing is nothing new – homebuyers and sellers have been treating themselves to dinners and vacations for years to mark a major transaction. Likewise, we agents – for whom it may be a less momentous occasion but quite possibly a more stressful one – aren’t known for our timidity around a happy hour bar or patio. Order that second* cocktail and call an Uber. You’ve earned it.
But what if, to celebrate the BIGgest of big closings, you opted to celebrate with your clients? It’s not so far-fetched. Obviously you won’t be going out with them if they’ve been a pain throughout the process, or if it was a less-than-ideal outcome, but sometimes you just click with folks, right? There’s nothing wrong with making some plans and celebrating your mutual success and profit together. It could stick in their minds and ensure future listings and certainly positive word of mouth.
Here are a few ideas for making this a memorable – and sustainable – strategy.
*may or may not actually be the second
Dinner never fails
There’s nothing simpler than an invitation to dinner. No cooking, no planning, no cleanup. Just pick the right place, depending on the clients. Some will appreciate a table at one of the nicest restaurants in town; others would probably rather try the new gastropub or comfort food spot. You should have a read on that by the time closing rolls around – if not you can’t go wrong with a middle- to top-of-the-line Italian joint or steakhouse, something with a good reputation and a fairly deep menu.
Now, obviously you’re picking up the tab, at least for dinner if not cocktails. In a one-off situation this won’t be too big of a deal (especially once that check clears) but if you’re taking clients out on the reg, consider talking to the owner of your favorite restaurant or restaurants and working out a deal on some discounted gift cards or menu prices. They’ll appreciate the regular business — especially if it’s an upper-class clientele, or a family new to town – and you’ll save a bit of dough.
Another question: Do you invite YOUR significant other if the clients are a couple, or even a family? That depends on your significant other. No one likes discomfort (especially spouses), but if feels like fit, go ahead. It may make sense to leave the kids at home, unless everyone is an avowed fan of Chuck E. Cheese.
And obviously, if the client is a single person, especially one of the opposite sex, tread lightly – a simple gift may go over much better than an invitation for dinner or drinks.
Take ’em out to the ballgame
An outing may be less stressful than dinner, and more suitable for families with kids. If you have a minor league baseball or hockey team, or a particularly popular local college hoops squad, it may make sense to invest in a season ticket package and put it to work thanking (or wooing) clients. Bonus points: It’s more relaxed, there’s a built-in topic of conversation in the game that’s going on, and each individual can drink and eat as he or she sees fit.
Utilize Economies of Scale
If you’re a prolific seller of mid-priced homes, consider a monthly event where you bring all of your clients together, perhaps at your home, perhaps at a local restaurant, for a catered cocktail hour and conversation. The onus will be off of you provide entertainment; they’ll just all stand around talking about how amazing you are. You’ll avoid the potential discomfort and scheduling hassle of actually going out to a one-on-one dinner, and the clients may feel freer to decline your invitation. Your restaurant pal will still love you (and probably give you a discount). And you, your staff or significant other are only on the hook one night a month.
For an extra touch, consider putting together a slideshow of each home bought or sold, and have a housewarming gift ready to hand out to each client.
You get positive vibes for connecting new residents to people they’ve never met, and creating new friendships… and it’s all because of you!
- Make a big deal of the key handover. The key’s the thing, right? Consider spicing up the handover of the things that will literally open the door to their new lives by slipping it into a gift, engraving it with their initials, or making it part of some sort of (non-cheesy, please) ceremony.
- At the very least give a gift. Bottles of wine or Bourbon. Gift certificates to restaurants or home stores. A night at a local boutique hotel or bed and breakfast. All are good ideas for closing gifts. You should do this at the very least.
- Enroll the clients in a _______ of the Month Club. Cousin Eddie liked jelly, but your clients may appreciate a 12-month reminder of the effort you put in for them. There are flower-of-the-month clubs, wine-of-the-month clubs, recipe-of-the-month clubs and even sock-of-the-month clubs for the single man who has everything. Most are just a few dollars a month. Just find something that suits the clients’ personalities, and make sure they know it’s from you!