Birthday parties. Halloween parties. New Year’s Eve parties. We all like a good party don’t we? It’s a great way to relax and reconnect with friends especially when there’s a theme involved. So since we all love a great party why not incorporate a party into your real estate marketing?
Hosting a client party is a fun way to reconnect with your clients, introduce them to new people in their community and build loyalty among your sphere of influence. Think about clients that you have sold houses to that are new to the community. Wouldn’t it be great to host a party and introduce them to new people in the area? It sure would help their transition into their new community.
A party is great for others, but what does it have to do with business and more specifically benefiting your real estate business? First, it can give your clients an opportunity to get to know you on a more personal level in a relaxed atmosphere. This helps build friendships, which builds loyalty, which builds repeat and referral business. Second, clients will see that you aren’t all about the quick sale. That you are interested in building that relationship and while yes, you like to sell them real estate, you also are here for them after the sale. Third, by building that relationship in steps one and two, you are then seen as a Real Estate Advisor which is completely different than just a Real Estate Agent. You are their trusted advisor when it comes to all things real estate. When they have a real estate question, when their friends have a real estate question, you are the one they call. All because you have worked hard to establish that relationship and that trust with them.
Now for the party itself you must plan ahead, the devil is definitely in the details here. When planning to host a client event it is imperative to be meticulous about the details.
Things you will need to consider include:
- Your Budget
Your budget will help set the rules for the rest of the party plans. If you are just starting out don’t look to throw the biggest bash of the year. You can have an excellent event without breaking the bank. By setting a realistic budget you will have more fun planning and an even better time at the party because you know that it won’t financially break you to throw the gig.When budgeting you will want to consider event place costs, costs per person, costs for food and beverages and costs for anything you want to hand out at the event.
- Who to Invite
More than likely the number of people you invite is going to be your biggest expense which is why it is important to figure out the guest list right away. If you have the budget to invite everyone in your database go for it! I would just work under the assumption that everyone on your list is going to show up that way you don’t panic as you start to get more people RSVP yes than no.If your budget is limited, start out with a small gathering. Maybe you have sold several houses in a 3 specific neighborhoods in your community. Invite all of those clients in that geographical area to the event. Or maybe you have sold several houses to people with small kids; invite all of them to a small gathering. It doesn’t have to be a massive invite list for the party to be fun and effective. Invite with your budget in mind so you don’t go overboard and break the bank.
- When to Hold the Event
When hosting an event you need to consider two things: holidays and time of day. For example, I would advise not throwing a holiday party in the month of December. Do not add one more thing to peoples’ plates that they have to figure out how to make time for during what is already a busy holiday season. If you do, you will either end up with stressed out attendees or no-shows. What if instead you hosted an event in January or February to beat the winter blues? By then life has calmed down for people and you are more likely to get a much better turn out.
Another thing to consider is the time of day. You don’t want to host a happy hour event for parents with small kids and likewise inviting a bunch of single people to a Saturday morning brunch might not be the most ideal time. Think about your audience and what their schedules look like before planning an event. When you do that you are more likely to have a better turn out to your event.
- Any Extras
When hosting an event you will need to determine up front what you want to pay for as far as food, beverages and admission prices. But what about “walk-away” items? Are you going to send them home with a can koozie with your logo or a fridge magnet with your contact information? Client events are a great time to leave them with parting gifts that are useful, tasteful and have your contact info emblazoned on them. It’s a great way to say, “Hey thanks for coming, but remember I do an awesome job selling real estate too!”
There are a ton of ideas that you can use for parties. You will want to first determine if you want to host a large or small event. This will help determine what kind of party you want to throw.
Here are some ideas:
- Small dinner party at your home
- Happy Hour event with 1 cocktail and appetizers included
- Rent out a movie theater for movie night or movie afternoon
- Rent a small room at a popular restaurant
- Take everyone to a baseball game—think minor league teams too!
- Pumpkin carving party
- Early Halloween party with canned food donations
- Summer BBQ at your office, home or local park
- Bowling Alley party
- Create a family fun fair with face painting, games, etc.
- Host a blood drive
- Host a block party for a neighborhood that you work or live in
- Host a game night
Many of these ideas can be done with both small and larger groups. Again, consider your budget and then plan the best event based on your numbers!
Invite, Invite, Invite —> Remind
When inviting people to an event you have to invite them several times before getting a good response. It can feel like begging or nagging, but we are all very busy people. It is easy to think “Oh this party looks fun, I will RSVP later” and then by the time later rolls around, the invite is off the radar.
The best way to invite people is to set up an automated system for invites using email addresses. Services like Evite or GreenVelope allow you to set up a beautiful invitation and email it out to your guests. Your guests can then RSVP to the website which is helpful for getting a total for the number of people coming to the event. Even better, both of these systems will remind your guests of the party if they haven’t RSVP’d and ask them to RSVP. Both systems will also send out reminders about the event in the days leading up to it which helps to maximize the number of people that show up.
Don’t have emails? I would recommend sending out a formal invitation followed up by 2-3 postcards reminding people about the party. Then I would also take the time to call everyone on your invite list to find out if they are coming. This way is much more labor intensive, but if you send out just one invitation, your turn out won’t be great.
The Day of the Event
First thing I would advise you to do is take a deep breath! Then relax and have fun! If you have done careful planning by budgeting, finding the right event, inviting the right people at the right time for them and then invited people like it was your job, you have put all the elements together for a successful party!
Arrive early at the event to make sure everything is set up correctly and then while you are there “work” the event. Now this does not mean walk around trying to find buyers and sellers. Work the event by introducing people to each other so they feel comfortable. This will help people to have a great time and really rave about your party!
Ask for Feedback
Finally, a week after the party, take some time and email or call people that attended. Find out what they liked or didn’t like about your event. Was it too crowded? Was the food cold? Or on the contrary did they have a great time and make new friends? Jot down the feedback to use for the next event and also use for testimonials for future events. Testimonials can show new invitees that people like your parties and that they are worth the time to attend. Plus it never hurts to have a pat on the back for a job well done or a better yet, a party well thrown!
When done right and planned with the invitees in mind, a client party can be a fantastic opportunity to connect with clients and show them you are more than just about buying and selling real estate!
Have you thrown successful client events? Please share with us in the comments below what has or hasn’t worked at your events!