The idea of a closing gift is as synonymous with real estate as reciting century-old phone scripts; and while the aforementioned gifts are nice gestures, they can potentially be sending the wrong message.
All real estate professionals look forward to closing day. It’s the day all the hard work pays off. You and your clients have been calling each other almost every day since you’ve met. You answered all the questions imaginable to reassure your clients that everything was being handled. The signing of the paperwork and phone calls comes to a quick end after becoming best friends in the span of 30-180 days.
The day comes and your client is excited to cross the finish line and close the transaction, grab the keys, and taste the new chapter.
“New house. Who dis?”
How do you, the professional, who has been chosen to handle one of the most monumental events in this person’s life, show appreciation for the trust they have placed in you. Some people never get to own a home, and of those that do, most only do it once. Take that into consideration.
How do you display gratitude for your clients in a way that makes them certain they’ve made the right choice?
Do you show up with a bottle of wine? A box of chocolates? A gift card to Home Depot?
Here are some reasons why a closing gift may be doing more harm to your business than you think:
- Puts a price on the client’s invaluable trust in you.
- Concludes the working relationship.
- Loses the element of surprise.
Putting a Price On the Client’s Trust in You:
This person put what is probably their biggest asset in your hands. They are trusting you with the roof over his or her family’s head. Their future.
You may be a top producer and sell over 100 homes a year, but this is most likely their first. This process is life altering and you should treat it as such.
Saying thank you with a gift card as a closing gift quantifies what the experience working for them meant for you, effectively putting a price on the relationship with your client.
Sit on the opposite side of the table.
You, my client, hired me to handle the sale of your home. The place you lay your head at night, host family and friends, made memories, and started your family. We talked everyday, sometimes after business hours. Discussed contracts, negotiation strategies, shared concerns, and in some cases, became your marriage counselor.
The time has come where all stresses are put to rest so you can start the next chapter in a new home. You, my client, are extremely grateful for the assistance in making this huge achievement as seamless as possible.
Now here we are. I hand you the keys to the new abode and now you’re smiling from ear to ear.
“Thank you so much for your help. My family and I really appreciate this.” you say.
“You’re very welcome. Thank you for trusting me. Here is a bottle of wine.” I reply.
What is running through your mind?
“Did I just hand this agent a pretty five-figure paycheck and received a $100 bottle of wine as a thank you?”
To make things worse, most clients will never hear from their agent again. The agent has closed the real estate transaction with the closing gift and is now actively looking for the next transaction and the cycle continues.
Closing Gifts Conclude the Working Relationship
Handing a closing gift to a client at the time of closing feels a whole lot like a goodbye. So does “….don’t forget I’m never too busy for your referrals.” It sounds like “Thank you, if you know of anyone else that is planning to do the same send them my way.”
If you’ve done more than your job description you won’t have to ask for referrals. Your clients will rave about the experience. Think about that one time you left a movie theater and couldn’t wait to tell your friends about it and urge them to go see the movie, sometimes even offering to see it a second time with them.
Closing a transaction shouldn’t feel like you’re closing the relationship, they should feel like your clients never left your side. They’re getting promoted from client to friend. In real estate, relationships are everything and if you’ve delivered an amazing experience to your client a closing gift won’t be necessary.
Loses the Element of Surprise
The age old adage “Timing is Everything” can never ring more true in this situation.
Here is a scenario:
Your wedding anniversary is coming up and one of your buddies gives you a call two days before the actual date.
“Hey! I just wanted to give you a quick call. I know your anniversary is coming up in a couple of days and wanted to wish you a very happy anniversary!”
Of course you’re going to tell your spouse/partner about your buddy wishing you a happy anniversary. You weren’t expecting this phone call from anyone and it immediately made your day.
Now, fast forward to the day of the anniversary: People are calling you, sending you text messages, Facebook posts, and Instagram messages. How many of those messages and well wishes were relayed to your partner? Willing to bet less than a handful. At this point, you’re inundated with messages and you were kind of expecting the response.
Which one probably made more impact and stuck out in your head?
“This Is On Us.”
Has this ever happened to you?
Now think of a time you and your family are at a restaurant and you already placed your order and are now patiently waiting for the food to arrive.
Without asking, your server shows up to the table and says “thank you so much for your patience, here are some appetizers as a thank you. This is on us.”
Not once did you mention the wait, nor did you order any appetizers.
How hard did that gesture hit in comparison to how hard it would have hit if you ordered the appetizers yourself.
See the difference?
If you want a moment to be profound utilizing the element of surprise is your best bet.
Go Beyond the Expectation:
At the end of a real estate transaction, your client is probably half-expecting a gift at closing. This isn’t making them ungrateful, but imagine how you could heighten an experience if you could surprise and delight them before the close of a transaction? Or after a transaction if you really want to make a splash.
Even better, what if this thoughtfulness of gifts never stopped and you showered your clients throughout the length of a transaction?
Pull out the red carpet for them and we’re not talking about scheduling a lunch date.
If you’re planning on meeting, bring an extra coffee. Show up with something other than chocolates with your brand logo on them.
Handwritten cards go a long way. Write them a quick note let them know you have everything covered.
“Hey Mr.Mrs.Client, thank you so much for putting your trust in me for such a momentous event. Rest assured I am here to make this process as easy and stress free as possible. Should anything arise, please let me know.”
Don’t wait until the transaction closes to treat your clients. Save that for your mediocre competitors.
All in all, a closing gift isn’t a bad thing.
But you DO have better options than summarizing the professional relationship in that one box of chocolates that no one is going to eat, that bottle of wine that will last 3 glasses worth, or that $100 gift card to Home Depot.
You and your clients talked to each other every day like high school best friends, don’t let that relationship run out after the gift card does.