By Sara Rodell, founder of Loop and Tie
Successful real estate agents know the importance of gift giving better than almost anyone else. In the United States, the average house price is $188,900 and with so much money changing hands, it’s important to show respect and appreciation for your clients and colleagues. Gifts are the perfect way to do this.
Relationships in real estate count for a lot. There are approximately two million real estate agents registered in the USA, according to Realtor.org. Each one spends his or her days working under pressure to interview clients, visit properties, close deals, and smooth over difficult contractual processes -- all so customers don’t have to worry. Gifts show thoughtfulness, motivate co-workers, and encourage trust and loyalty between agent and client.
Here, we unpack the benefits, difficulties and positive long term effects of gift giving, and also some strategies you can employ to help build your own career as a real estate agent.
Once the dust has settled and everyone has moved in, it’s easy to forget to thank the people involved in the process. A card or letter is great, but a gift that they’ll keep and appreciate over time is ideal. If you have neglected to send a gift to a client this year, why not rectify the oversight?
Giving a gift has a positive effect both on the giver and receiver, and engenders a feeling of gratitude, which is a key element in loyalty management. According to a study, The Role of Customer Gratitude in Relationship Marketing, “gratitude increases a customer’s trust in the seller...strengthening the quality of the relationship and positively affecting seller outcomes.”
With a gift, your goal is not only to thank your clients for contracting your services, but to build a professional bond that will last and make them think of you, especially when they are set on selling up and moving again.
Allen Gump, executive VP of Colliers International and CCIM and SIOR member, says, “When you consider the size of some of our commercial transactions, it's crazy not to spend some money on a simple thank you gift. It doesn't have to be extravagant, but it should appear thoughtful.”
Gump is right, of course, and selecting the right gift can be difficult. There is no one-size-fits-all present for your customers or colleagues. A bottle of wine might be perfect for one person, but taboo for another. Likewise, no one wants to run the gauntlet of selecting food and confection, as allergies and intolerances are impossible to predict, and you certainly don’t want to run the risk of offending someone. With 39 percent of shoppers considering themselves “picky” according to a poll conducted on 7,466 Black Friday shoppers, selecting a gift not an easy decision.
However, this does not mean that the selection process has to be arduous or anxiety-inducing. According to a study by Belk & Coon, cited in Psychology Today, “Gifts that represent the giver or symbolize the relationship are ripe for communicating commitment, though gifts need not be inherently personal to signal devotion and attachment.”
As a REALTOR®, an ideal gift connects to you and your business somehow. A hypoallergenic house plant, or a tasteful or functional product for the home will go a long way in the right direction. A thoughtful note explaining how well it will go in the office space or kitchen will show that you care about your clients, not just about the sale commission.
Gump added that to him, gifting has to be “simple, quick and painless, otherwise it won't get done.” Giving gifts should not make your life a nightmare.
The Long Term Benefits
Not only is a gift a brief, heartwarming moment that builds a bond with a client, it also comes with some very specific business rewards.
Brand building is key in any industry, but as a REALTOR®, reputation is paramount. Gifts break down barriers and show you as being a generous, trustworthy and personable, not to mention memorable. In a study carried out during a trade show, 62.6 percent received a promotional product, and 71.6 percent remembered the company that had given it to them.
Clients are more likely to talk about you with their friends and colleagues if they like you and are pleased with your service. A gift that they water every day, or use in the kitchen, or even hang on the wall can become a talking point and bolster your number of referrals. Inclusion of gifts in a service can increase referrals by 500 percent, according to one case study.
It’s not just clients who deserve your attention. The Workforce Mood Tracker Survey showed that 86 percent of employees say that being recognized motivates them in their job, and gifts are the perfect way to do this. Buying gifts for colleagues over the holidays or just to say thank you can serve to motivate them and boost your professional relationship, which can do wonders for your reputation and certainly help your career along.
If you haven’t thought about showing your gratitude towards your clients, co-workers and business partners, this time is now! See increased reciprocation, referrals and customer loyalty, as well as an improved working relationship and a more motivating professional environment. So do something nice for the people around you and see just how big the rewards can be.