Nourish to Flourish
One of the things that I learned early on in my real estate career is that you must nourish the relationships with your clients in order to build a thriving, consistent and successful business. So how exactly do you do that? We talk a lot here about calls, notes, pop boys (I’m a big fan of the Brian Buffini systems) and client events. One of our favorite client events is the “Reverse Pop By”. Have you ever held one of these?
Our annual Thanksgiving Pie Reverse Pop By event was yesterday. This is hands down one of the easiest, least expensive, best attended and most effective of our events!
So today, I am going to take ALL of the guess work out of having one of these events and give you the precise road map and timing for how to do this yourself. Here’s how we do it and how you can do it to …
-Start (right now!) by picking your date for next year (our 2019 event dates are already on our calendar!). We always pick the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Do not over think this … sure, not everyone will be able to make it because they travel for Thanksgiving or are busy, but many will! We gave out well over 200 pies yesterday! Even if your clients can’t make it, they will be delighted that you thought of them.
-Decide where to hold your event. We use our office, I’ve heard of other agents using a restaurant or their home. My team rents a small satellite office space from our brokerage that we share with another team (who we also invited to participate in the event with us). Our space is not big, but it works. You don’t need a large space! Some clients will stay and chat, but most will talk for just a minute or two and be on their way. Worst case scenario if you don’t have a space you can use, or your space is not in a location that is convenient for the majority of your clients you can always deliver the pies to your clients, several of my agents do this each year.
-Choose the hours for your event. We do 12-7 pm to offer a wide variety of time for all of our clients, and we were busy pretty much the entire time! At 12:20 pm we had a line out the door, and when I left at 7 pm there were still people there! This is a long day, and not all of my agents are able to be there the entire time (typically earlier in the day), which is fine because we have support staff on hand until 5 pm to greet our guests and hand out the pies. Our rule is that you must be present after 5 pm if your clients haven’t arrived to greet them. Figure out times that work for you. We then have someone come in after the event to clean up.
-Select a sponsor for your refreshments. This year we partnered with our preferred moving company. They happily agreed to help. We asked for a few hundred dollars for refreshments and we put out trays with veggies, cookies, chips … and of course we usually offer some pie as well! We also have wine and water bottles on hand. We also purchase themed paper products and table cloths for our food table. This is set up in our reception area to offer to guests when they arrive. Not all partake, but it is nice to offer and some do.
-Figure out where you will get your pies from. We have used local bakeries, but the last couple years we have ordered our pies from Costco. Their pies are inexpensive, huge and delicious! Knowing who you will use will drive your RSVP date. For Costco, we only need to give a couple days notice, and our local store always has plenty on hand so if we accidentally run short (which we sometimes do) it is easy to run over and grab a couple more. You can request that your pies not have the price label on them (this is what we do).
-About a month or so before your event create and send your invitations. We have custom invitations made by our Marketing Director which some mail and some email. You can do a Facebook event if you are friends with your clients on Facebook, you can send an evite, create an invite yourself using Canva or hire someone to create one for you. We give our clients the choice of a pumpkin or apple pie. About a week before your event start following up with your clients who haven’t RSVP’d.
-Decide if you will decorate your pies and how. We have cute labels printed that say Happy Thanksgiving to put on our pies that can also be used to attach a business card. Some of our agents will write handwritten notes to include with their pies, and some bring in ribbon to wrap around them.
-Remind your clients. The day before or day of your event reach out to those who RSVPd to remind them. Inevitably you will have people who forget, confuse the date or who can’t make it last minute. This happens to us every year. You can then decide if you want to deliver the pie to them, or donate the leftovers (we have done both). I also recommend ordering at least a couple extra pies. Every year we have had a few clients that we invite just show up without responding or RSVPing. You will likely end up with a few leftover pies at the end of the event … you can use them to give to neighbors, pop by other clients, donate to local shelters or fire stations, give to other businesses near your office, etc.
-The day of your event set up your refreshment table, pick up your pies, and have fun! It is always great to see clients that you may not have seen in a while. I have some clients that I invite who come to this event every year, I have others I haven’t seen in years who come … one of my clients that came yesterday I helped 10+ years ago! I haven’t seen him in person in that long, but he has sent me multiple referrals since that time, and it was great to see him in person yesterday. I recommend keeping a list of who you are expecting to come by so as the event goes on you know who you are missing and may need to follow up with.
-Close the loop. After a client stops by to get their pie I immediately write them a handwritten note saying how great it was to see them, thanking them for stopping by, and wishing them a happy holiday season. It is a nice way to close out the event. Drop these in the mailbox on your way out the door.
We love this event so much! From a cost perspective, you are only looking at the cost of the pie (around $10 each), and a few hundred for food and decorations which you could have covered by a sponsor. You don’t need to reserve this event for just Thanksgiving! Last year we did one for Valentine’s Day and one for Mother’s Day. It’s a great way to nourish your relationships with your clients and having them come to you is a bonus!