Client Appreciation Events that WOW, but Won't Wither your Bank Account
Yes, it’s important that we pinch pennies and cut costs, but the one budget bucket that we simply cannot afford to dump is the one reserved for wowing our customers.
Client appreciation events are not a new concept, especially in the Real Estate arena where many well known Real Estate gurus, like Brian Buffini, have promoted the concept of holding a CAP (Client Appreciation Party) as a surefire way of building trust, cultivating relationships, providing an experience for our valued clients and, of course, securing future referrals and repeat business!
However, in my experience, I have witnessed only a very small percentage of Mortgage Professionals who have included client appreciation events into their “Customer WOW Service” plan for the year. There also seems to be an assumption that a good client appreciation party will cost thousands of dollars to pull off. So, in an effort to strip away the $$ hurdle once and for all, I’d like to share 5 CAP ideas that have been successful for my own coaching clients with varying budgets:
Santa “Pause” Picture Day
A client of mine from the Colorado Springs area, met a local photographer through one of her many networking events who was looking for ways to build up her own customer database. My client suggested that they host a picture day at her office where her clients could come in with their families in October and get their Christmas pictures done. The photographer agreed to bring in Santa and to give each of my client’s customers a FREE 8×10 portrait and in return, asked that she be allowed to gather their information for her own database growth. Cookies, hot cider and candy canes were provided by my client. And for those who were too afraid to sit in Santa’s lap or felt too old to sit in Santa’s lap (what a shame), a nicely decorated Christmas tree served as a secondary backdrop choice.
Family Day at the Movies
A client in Wisconsin invited his database of 300 to a private showing of Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull at his local movie house. Yes-Popcorn was included. He sent out email invites and his assistant followed up with an RSVP phone call. 75 clients, including their family members, attended. My client took pictures of those folks who attended and a collage-style thank you card was sent out afterwards. The movie theater agreed to project his company logo and a welcome message on the screen behind him, while he took the opportunity before the trailers began, to stand and express his heart felt thanks to everyone.
The Great Thanksgiving Pie Give-away
Another client in Colorado Springs chose to host a “Pie Pick-up Day” at her office right before Thanksgiving to give thanks to her top clients. She researched who had the most affordable pies in her area and found that Safeway at $5.00 each fit her budget. She emailed an invite out to her top 200 clients, asking them to RSVP for pies. She offered pumpkin, apple and pecan. 125 clients showed up to her office throughout the day. She had hot chocolate, coffee and cookies waiting for them in her reception area as well.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
A client, who happens to be a big baseball fan in Pennsylvania, rallies his top thirty, A+ clients and referral partners for a day behind home plate to watch their minor league baseball team, the Iron Pigs. All you can eat-burgers, hot dogs and cookies are served until the 7th inning. They even have their own bartender. He used Evite for the invitations and then followed up with personal calls to RSVP these lucky 30. My client was even given the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at his last event!
Taste of Country Fall Family Appreciation Day
Another client from Wisconsin has been hosting his special CAP event for four years and his turn-out has grown substantially each year. This past October, 800 email invites were sent and 250 past clients attended. This CAP is held at a large pumpkin patch and includes hayrides, a corn maze, pumpkins, face painting and a straw jumping pit, which are all free for his clients. During the day, pictures are taken of his clients and their families with a digital camera. These pictures are put onto magnets and send out with a note of gratitude and thanks for their attendance.
What do these five clients have in common besides creativity, a love for their clients and the ability to execute?…They have a deep understanding of how opportunities are created and how loyalty is established. The fact is that nothing can replace YOU, your physical being and unique personality. Loyalty and connection are not derived from postcards, email blasts, or any other “thing” for that matter. Those items are great for “buying brain cells” as Tim Braheem used to put it, but they are not going to be the reason WHY people continue to do business with you or why they refer their friends and family members to you.
We continue to do business with people we know and like and the only way we can get to know and like you, is if you are popping into our lives every now and again via a live interaction. This live interaction could be a combination of phone calls, videos, workshops, seminars, mastermind groups, client appreciation parties or a simple invite to tag along or carpool to a local educational or social event.
But heck, don’t take my word for it. Try conducting an experiment of your own. Track the referrals you receive from a postcard or email drip campaign starting today. Then host a client appreciation event sometime before the end of the year and track the referrals you pick up from this single event. I believe the proof will be in the pudding…or the popcorn…or the pumpkin pies…or whatever.
Sharing Creates Opportunities
If you have hosted a successful CAP, I’d love to hear the details, including the budget. Please share them here with us at Top of Mind.
In anticipation of your willingness to share, I’d like to share a very helpful checklist and guide to orchestrating your own successful Client Appreciation Party. Hosting an Exceptional Client Appreciation Party