One of the biggest challenges presented by the COVID pandemic has been finding ways to stay connected while social distancing. For many real estate professionals, the end of the year is a time for hosting big events, organizing pop-by visits, and getting together for coffee or a meal. Since that still isn’t possible for most of us this year, it’s essential to create new ways of showing your most valued clients and your professional network how much you care.
If you’re looking for ways to reach out to your sphere, we’ve got a variety of safe, smart options. Choose one of the following to add a little cheer to your holiday celebrations this year or at any time you want to show your appreciation.
If you want to reach out in a way that’s affordable yet thoughtful and personal, you can’t do better than a handwritten note. Instead of sending a generic holiday greeting this year, send along a more personal correspondence, perhaps on festive stationery. Be sure to include a personal memory and a hopeful wish for the New Year. In order to make it even more special, enclose a photo from their home tour or closing day or from an event you attended together back in the pre-COVID days.
As long as they are properly prepared under clean conditions and with clean hands, pop-by gifts are still a great option for end-of-the-year thank-you’s. Instead of an in-home or office visit, you can leave the gift on their porch or at the front door, then stand back and have a socially distanced chat. Be sure to call or text ahead of time to make sure they’ll be there when you arrive so that they can receive their gift promptly.
If you want to make your gift a little more personal this year, in order to make up for the reduced face-time you’ll have with your client, consider a homemade gift. This may be a loaf of bread you’ve mastered during quarantine, a handcrafted ornament or decorative item, or some coasters you’ve created in your woodshop. Giving something from the heart, made with your own hands, is a memorable way to let someone know how important they are to you.
One of the things that COVID has done for many people is to make them more aware of their own health and wellness. Consider a gift that leans into this trend by creating a basket filled with aromatherapy candles, essential oils, herbal teas, and other items to promote relaxation and restoration. This is an especially thoughtful gift for those hardworking colleagues who need a reminder to slow down and take care of themselves this holiday season.
Many clients are more interested in their pets than themselves and would welcome a gift that is pet-related. Consider a basket of treats and toys from your local pet store or even a gift certificate from the local pet spa or mobile groomer. Don’t forget to take into account the size and type of pet when choosing your gift, so that it’s appropriate and truly personal.
Be part of your client’s first holiday season in their new home with a gift of food for the holiday feast. Give a gift certificate to a local specialty store or send along your favorite dessert from an online vendor. If you’re an excellent cook yourself, consider baking a pie, cake, or cookies to add to the dessert table and safely deliver your holiday treat to your client.
This year, perhaps more than ever before, many of us have become aware of the great needs in our community and across the country. Consider making a charitable donation on behalf of your favorite clients and co-workers. Popular COVID-era charities have been those that focus on issues of hunger and poverty, like Feeding America, and those focused on the needs of frontline health care workers, like the COVID-19 Frontline Health Worker Fund managed by IntraHealth International.
Don’t forget that much of your engagement comes from your friends and followers on social media. It’s important to acknowledge them since they are probably your most consistent way of reaching out year-round. Consider giving a shout-out to your clients this year or to colleagues and affiliates who have been particularly helpful during the past few months. If you have clients who are local business owners, they’ll especially appreciate a shout-out to their business profiles.
Host a Drive-in Movie
If you miss the days of big events, you’ll be glad to hear they’re not over. In many cases, they’ve just moved outside. If you want to make a big splash with your sphere, you can host a drive-in movie event, either in a nearby field or, if you’re lucky enough to have one nearby, at one of the hundreds of drive-in movie theatres currently enjoying a resurgence of popularity. Need help? Many event planners have grown adept at putting together these large-scale outdoor events over the past few months.
One fun way to show appreciation to your virtual community is by sharing a cup of coffee with your followers on social media. The Starbucks app makes this particularly easy when you share a screenshot of a gift card from the app and use the auto-reload feature. Set your budget ahead of time and be sure and let your followers know that it’s first come, first served.
Remember, your end-of-year follow-up doesn’t have to be expensive to be appreciated. Spend some time thinking about the recipient and consider how to make their day a bit brighter. It truly is the thought that counts this year, and making clients feel seen and acknowledged in a time of isolation and hardship is a truly meaningful gift that everyone can give.