Holiday Cards? Again? Try This Instead...
It’s that time of year again. Lights are popping up on houses. Trees are soon to be decorated. Malls are becoming hot and crowded. And people are getting ready to send out holiday cards.
We send out holiday cards as individuals, but as real estate agents, I believe there is something better we should be doing.
Funny thing, most agents like sending out holiday cards. They really do. They feel like they’re creating a warm connection with their clients by doing so.
While there’s nothing wrong with a warm connection, don’t forget that you are a real estate expert first and foremost. You are not their neighbor, classmate, or co-worker. Do you really want to be put into the same category?
Let me answer for you: No, you don’t. In their minds, you want to be in a special category. You want to be known as “real estate expert”. You want every action you take to reinforce this belief. Sending holiday cards is NOT the way to do this.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against holiday cards. They’re very nice. They remind people that you’re thinking of them. Don’t stop sending them to your friends and family.
BUT… I would like you to consider sending something else. Even if you send it with your holiday card, it can make an impact.
So what is it?
It’s an Annual Review. This is a report you specifically create for your clients. It details the history of the market in the past year, as well as current conditions. It provides a year-end overview of where your clients stand in terms of their investments.
“Oh, Denise, people aren’t really interested in this kind of stuff at holiday time.”
Not true. They are indeed. People are ALWAYS interested in how much money they have—especially at holiday time when their credit card bills are going up. An Annual Review is a report that shows them the value of their money via their investment in their home.
Yes, it’s work. Yes, you have to compile some data and do some research. Yes, it’s time consuming.
But it cements you—as should ALL your marketing materials—as the local expert on real estate. Your clients should not just see you as an acquaintance. They should always see you as a rich source of information. What better way to reinforce this reputation than by always providing them with news whenever you contact them?
So what’s in an Annual Review? It consists of three parts:
1. A snapshot of what’s happened in the real estate market during the past year.
Review where we were one year ago. Compare that market data to today. Construct a narrative to show your clients what fluctuations occurred—but more importantly WHY they occurred.
Then, narrow it down to their neighborhood. If their area didn’t follow the trends, then explain why. Factor in everything you know from your community expertise.
Make your Annual Review look good. Pie charts, graphs, and statistics—while not always understandable to the average person—add a powerful element of expertise to your work.
Strong visuals show that you really know what you’re talking about. You’re not just an empty suit. You have the numbers to back up everything you say.
3. Personal observations.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Tell stories about some of the incidents that shaped your year. Illustrate certain points by bringing them to life. There’s no better way to get a point across than by describing it in action.
Express your opinion. Open up. From experience, you have formed certain ideas about what’s coming. You know how to spot trends. Share this information with your clients.
It’s kind of like you’re their own personal private eye, providing them with inside information. People love inside information—especially when it relates to their investments.
Annual Reviews work. A great example is a client of mine who used to send out a holiday newsletter. He put in a lot of effort to make it look really nice. I suggested to him that he add an Annual Review to it.
Two years ago, he tried it.
“Denise”, he told me, “I never had so much response to my holiday newsletter as this year. People are calling up to ask questions about the Annual Review.”
Nobody will ever call you to ask a question about your holiday card. But when you send an Annual Review, they may want to talk about what you sent them. This is a great opportunity to find out where they are right now in their lives.
Perhaps they’ve been thinking about making a move, but haven’t called you yet. Your Annual Review might be the catalyst that gets them thinking about taking action in the new year.
So, this year, instead of the same old same old, send an Annual Review. Your clients will thank you—and continue to see you as not just another agent, but as their personal real estate expert.
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI
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