It doesn’t matter what industry you work in or what suburb you live in, everyone likes to receive a ‘thank you’.
The trouble is, in today’s fast-paced society, saying ‘thank you’ can be easily forgotten. But US psychologist Sara Algoe, from the University of North Carolina, says those two little words can have a big impact.
Rather than just being good manners, saying thank you, whether it’s to someone holding a cafe door open for you or a client who engages you to sell their home, helps build and maintain social relationships.
This is found in Professor Algoe’s find-remind-and-bind theory of gratitude which posits that saying ‘thank you’ can initiate new relationships (find), orient people to existing relationships (remind) and promote the maintenance and investment in longer term relationships (bind).
When it comes to real estate, many agents attribute their success to relationship-building, so it stands to reason that thanking your clients should be on your agenda.
We’ve put together three ways you can reach out to thank your clients for their business this festive season.
Write a ‘thank you’ note
This one seems so simple, but a handwritten letter or card, not a typed mass email, can really make your clients feel special. Why? Because everything is so digital these days.
A handwritten letter, especially if it contains a message about your unique dealings with your client, shows that you care and have put effort into the task.
An added benefit is that when it arrives among a bundle of bills, it will stand out and get opened.
If you really want to make an impact, you could drop the note off at your client’s home or business with a little gift. But whatever you do, this is not the time to ask for more business or deliver a branded mug with a bunch of pens that quickly break.
Send a ‘thank you’ video
US real estate agent Jimmy Burgess is big on this one and he’s even recorded a demo of the kind of short, sharp, selfie-style ‘thank you’ videos he sends to his clients each Thanksgiving on his YouTube channel.
We may not celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, but that doesn’t mean you can’t follow his lead and give thanks this festive season, or any day of the year.
“I’ve been doing this for years, if you do this, you’re going to be amazed at some of the responses you get,” Jimmy says.
“And you’re going to be amazed at how it sets the table for you to be able to go into next year with the opportunity to grow your business like crazy.”
Jimmy, the Chief Growth Officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida, says to make a list of the clients that helped you the most this year. They need not be your ‘biggest’ client, but could be your favourite, the client that referred you the most business, or the client that really helped you out of a pickle.
Then you simply point the camera on your phone at yourself and record a simple, heartfelt message such as:
“Good morning, I hope you’re having a great Thanksgiving (Christmas), I’m actually getting ready to cook this turkey and I was sitting here thinking about the people that I’m most thankful for, and immediately you came to mind,” Jimmy says in his YouTube clip.
“I just wanted to say that I hope you have a great Thanksgiving (Christmas). Thanks for entrusting me this past year. And I hope you and your family have your best Thanksgiving ever.
“Take care, and I’ll talk to you soon.”
Jimmy says he sends about 10 of these videos every year and each time he does he’s amazed by the responses he gets.
“I get texts back from people where they’re showing me their family,” he says.
“They’re showing me their new grandbaby. They’re showing me their baby, their new child, they’re just sharing their life with me.
“Now what we’ve done is we’re in the relationship business.”
Hold a client appreciation event
If you’re looking to go ‘big time’ with how you say ‘thank you’ to your clients then why not throw them a dinner party.
It could be an intimate gathering at your home where you cook, a dinner at a nice restaurant or even a more lavish event with giveaways where you’ve purchased some gifts from other local businesses (think restaurant vouchers, or entry to local family entertainment options).
Or, you could do as Dubbo’s SJ Shooter Real Estate did in April this year and hire the local drive-through and host a family movie night for every client, vendors, buyers, landlords, tenants and their families.
More than 800 people registered for the free event at the Westview Drive-in, with a meal, popcorn and screening of a Disney movie all included.
“We really did want a way to say thank you to our clients,” SJ Shooter Real Estate Director Laura Shooter told Elite Agent at the time.
“This was like being able to have 800 people over for dinner and it was a very joyful experience.”
Laura says the primary focus of the event was to show gratitude but she couldn’t deny the business value it created too.
“People are bringing their kids out, and their kids are talking about it and they’ll have photos on their phones of their night at the drive-in. They’ll remember that it was a gift to them from us.
“I just think the value that we can get out of it, you can’t really put a number on it.”