If you’re looking to build brand recognition and a robust referral network, client events are a simple (but – as all worthy things – not easy) way to do so, while contributing to the sense of community of the area which you serve. Whether you are just starting out in real estate or have a well-oiled machine of a team, there is no reason to be intimidated by the thought of client events.
“Your clients want to hear from you. Don’t be that agent who does a transaction and never keeps in touch with their client again,” says Lana Rodriguez, a Colorado Springs rainmaker who started her own client event journey by hand-delivering pumpkin pies to her sphere in 2014. “If you want to start, start small. Go door-to-door and deliver that pie. Because, guess what? Your competition is not doing that.”
Since her door-to-door delivery days, Rodriguez has sharpened her client-event planning skills to match her business’s evolution: a business that is on track for 300 transactions and breaking over $100M in volume for its first time, all done strictly via referral. In 2022, start planting the seeds for your own evolution with event tips from Rodriguez and fellow top agent Janice Overbeck – an industry veteran with a packed client events schedule, while staying on track to sell more than 315 units for 2021.
Step 1: Choose Your Calendar Approach
“When I’m creating the event calendar for the year, I make sure to catch all the major holidays so families can come and celebrate the occasion with us,” Rodriguez says. In thinking through her upcoming year, she maps out its entirety at the very beginning of the year. She tries to book all venues 90 to 120 days in advance, and 30 days before an event is scheduled to happen, the team starts focusing heavily on it. If planning the entire year at the beginning seems overwhelming, you may value a different approach. On her end, Overbeck, whose team puts on more than 50 events per year, sets calendar reminders four months ahead of each event in order to start advertising it on social media.
As each event approaches, Rodriguez shares a five-step plan to make sure everyone who is invited is well aware of it. Her team touches each client by:
- Creating and sending them a Facebook invite
- Posting the invitation within a private Facebook group the team has already created
- Sending over a hard mailer
- Sending a video invitation (ideally from the venue) through an email blast
- Giving one additional personal touch, like a call or text
14 Client Event Ideas for Your 2022 Calendar
Rodriguez and Overbeck have both reached mega agent status, bringing in hundreds of people per event and even being in possession of their own mega agent offices, perfect for hosting (Overbeck’s office is located on a major road and features a massive electric billboard; Rodriguez’s team is in the last stretch of developing an office space in the heart of Downtown Colorado Springs). However, the following idea bank can be adapted for your own circumstances and resources. Here are some events to consider adding to your arsenal in 2022:
- Luncheons of appreciation: Show some support and appreciation to the special subgroups among your sphere. Overbeck’s team hosts first responder and military luncheons.
- Movie night: Rent out a movie theater and bring your sphere together to watch a highly anticipated film. Or, rent out a space to set up a projector and play a classic instead.
- Private tour: Whether there is a new attraction opening in town or there are a couple of established spots, rent them out for a couple of hours (or a full day) and tell your sphere to stop by. Rodriguez did this with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs.
- Pet vaccination clinic: Your sphere and their furry friends will appreciate this practical pop-up vaccination clinic. Partner up with a local veterinarian and add multiple dates to your calendar. Proceeds from Overbeck’s pet vaccination events go to saving homeless pets.
- Gift drop-offs: Smaller holidays, like Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day, are a great excuse to reconnect with your sphere by dropping off a gift at their home.
- Game night: Whether hosting with the entire family in mind, or keeping it open just to the adults, everyone loves a good game night.
- Sponsor others’ events: Within her community, Overbeck sponsors events with her local senior center, church, and even kids’ sports team. That ensures her name is everywhere, but also forwards her mission of playing a big role within her community. “We like to say that we’re a community center that just happens to be in the business of selling real estate,” she says.
- Easter brunch: Use one of the most beloved holidays as an opportunity to rent out a ballroom, invite your clients to dress up, and whip up some brunch favorites. Don’t forget to have a few activities lined up for the kids – perhaps face painting, or a scavenger hunt.
- Summer bash: Bring everyone together with the promise of a dance party with a local DJ, and food and activities. You can partner with a local food truck, and bring out classics such as cornhole.
- Painting night: Host a painting night (or weekend afternoon) event for your clients. Mother’s Day is a perfect time to naturally integrate the event into their calendars.
- Provide complimentary treats: Partner up with a local ice cream or coffee shop and get your clients complimentary treats! Rodriguez set up partnerships so that her clients could walk in, check themselves into the business on Facebook, and receive treats. This leaves her with plenty of user-generated content from the event, and the business with newfound exposure.
- Fall favorites: Whether it is renting out a pumpkin patch and inviting your sphere, or hosting a trick-or-treat event for Halloween, fall is an ideal time to connect with your sphere over the coziest activities.
- A quick winter touch: Deliver gingerbread houses to your sphere’s homes and host a social media gingerbread contest.
- Santa-centric events: Don’t forget to bring Santa into your events strategy. Whether you choose to combine Thanksgiving and Santa into one event (read more about Rodriguez’ ‘Pies and Smiles with Santa’ event here), or simply bring Santa in for a photo session, printing and emailing the photos to your sphere free of charge a la Overbeck, you are guaranteed to have a successful turnout on your hands.
Related reading: Five Steps to Putting Together the Perfect Thanksgiving Client Event
Ultimately, the most important part of succeeding with client events is staying authentic. “Trying to put on a good event for people because you want people to have fun is important,” shares Overbeck. “I think if you go into it trying to grow your business, it can come off as inauthentic.”
“Hosting these events fills my love meter for myself and my team,” says Rodriguez. “I believe there’s something really special about breaking bread with people. And, if you provide these experiences to your clients, you will differentiate yourself from the competition.”