- Episode 23 -
I had to laugh at a commercial I saw the other day for Fruit of the Loom underwear (what underwear and real estate have in common will come in just a minute). The ad showed the “right people to give underwear to” during the holiday season and the “wrong people to give underwear to” – comical yes, but a dilemma that happens to more than one of us during the holiday season.
When is it right to give a gift to my customers at the holidays, and better yet, how much am I allowed to spend on that gift?
If your accountant is like mine, they limit the gifts to $25 per person in order to be able to claim them on your taxes each year. You also have to check with the regulations of your licensing state on gift giving to clients and what is permitted and to what limit. Once you have both of these in check – what is the appropriate gift to give someone?
I am a calendar person – I love calendars.
In fact, I have four of them on the wall right now each with its own specific purpose. And even in this day and age of technology, I still rely on my paper date book for appointments and not my smartphone’s calendar.
So when I started in real estate, the all too famous magnet calendar became a staple of my yearend cheer so much so that each year I have customers who, come October, start asking me if I am going to be sending them one in December. In fact, one of the nicest compliments is always going into a client’s home and seeing yourself on their refrigerator right next to little Annie’s water color painting.
I also love holiday cards.
Being that I’m in South Florida, they always have a warm, tropical twist to them. Local clients can relate to their own backyard and out of towners are reminded that they should be looking to get away from the winter and come to Florida.
I handwrite personal greetings and address each of the cards, and it’s always nice to hear back from those after they are received to catch up on things that have happened over the year. A few of my clients have even gotten into their own annual tradition of sending me pictures of the homes I helped them buy, decorated to the hilt thanking me again for helping them get a “home for the holidays”.
This year I have tried something new to go along with the calendars and cards; I bought mini poinsettia plants that I have been delivering in person to my past and present clients. This was part of the “pop by” goal that came out of a training I did with Brian Buffini earlier in the year. Greeting them in person and chatting for a bit has already gotten me a few referrals for 2015.
For some others in my database, such as preferred vendors or the local hairdresser or florist who always asks me about the market, I included in my holiday cards a $5 gift card for coffee saying “let’s grab a cup in 2015 and catch up.”
The appointments calendar is filling up fast.
The holidays are a great time to reconnect with those who perhaps you lost touch with over the last 12 months, or for those who you want to stay in front of for the next twelve.
Whether it be a festive pie, a client appreciate party, or just a phone call to wish them a happy new year, get in touch with your clients of “holidays past, present and future” and spread some cheer.
It sure beats a pair of underwear.
Kay Conageski is a professional Realtor® with The Keyes Company based in Plantation, Florida. Check out her RESAAS profile ›