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Getting creative with events has always been one of my secret superpowers. In fact, ever since I can remember I’ve been the go-to person in my circles to plan out engaging activities for everything from church get-togethers, MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) breakfasts, PTA events, book clubs, high school club sporting events, school groups, neighborhood gatherings and, of course, real estate events.
So when the opportunity came around to write about fall-themed client appreciation events, I jumped at the chance to get creative and share some fun ideas with you all.
First things first: If you’re part of a big team you might find staffing client events to be fairly simple and therefore you can likely go big and wide with your SOI outreach on a fairly consistent basis. Having a robust team to chip in during hosted events can oftentimes be the team’s superpower.
However, if you are a solo agent or a small team, you probably love the idea of hosting lots of client appreciation events, but you likely feel limited by what you can actually pull off with little to no hands on deck. Well, guess what friends? I have a solution for you.
How many of you have considered combining community service as a prospecting strategy with providing VIP service to your established and valued clientele?
Check this out. Consider going to your local high school and leaving a sign-up list with the activities office director for juniors or seniors who are looking to get additional volunteer hours for their community service graduation cord. Share with the director your list of dates for upcoming community events you’ll be hosting and offer to help students gain additional volunteer hours.
This will be a great way to build relationships at the high school within your farm, all the while gaining some additional hands on deck for your client events, and also helping local students to receive accolades for their community service efforts come graduation day. (By the way, you should totally volunteer to sponsor their graduation as well, but that’s another article for another day.)
Some ideas to consider this fall for your VIP clients or SOI outreach events:
1. A leaf-raking event
Make tee-shirts that say, “We Never Leaf Our Clientele Needs Behind” (Add your team/brokerage name and logo as well). Have your teen volunteers wear the tees as you host a leaves and branches raking event, where you’ll bag and pick up the leaves for your VIP clientele.
All you need to do is rent a U-Haul and buy some rakes and garbage bags. It’s particularly handy to do an event like this after a big windstorm. Your clients with large yards or elderly clientele will be especially grateful for the service. Plan on storing the leaves, pinecones and branches for a couple of additional fall events listed down below.
2. A scarecrow-making event
Perhaps you saved the leaves and branches your volunteers raked up during your yard clean-up event. Now you can host a fun scarecrow-making event for families within your farm. Invite families to invite their neighbors and come out to make their very own personalized scarecrows, perfect for fun Thanksgiving porch or yard decor.
To prepare for this event just head over to your local thrift store and look for the 50 percent off tag color of the day. Buy oversized pants, shirts and hats to use for your DIY scarecrow wardrobe. Stop by a local farm or feed store to pick up some hay bales both to use for chairs during the setup and to add to the scarecrow finishing touches.
You can even head to the dollar store to pick up pantyhose to stuff for making the scarecrow heads and permanent markers to draw on the smiley faces. You can use pumpkins for the scarecrow heads, as well. Get creative.
3. The colors of fall tour
Rent a van or limo with windows and map out a scenic drive through some of the most picturesque fall landscapes in the area. Stock the van with yummy fall snacks and beverages and be sure to make several stops for photo ops.
Create a hashtag for your event and encourage your guests to post their photos during the stops while using the hashtag to be entered into a drawing to win a huge fall gift basket at the end of the tour.
4. Fall crafting night
Invite clients to bring their BFFs and come out to make a Thanksgiving centerpiece for their Turkey Day dinner table, or to create a fall wreath for their front door.
You can use some of the leaves, pinecones and branches you saved from the clean-up event and then compliment your supplies with pumpkins, wreath centers, gourds, ribbon, glitter, markers, cardstock, scissors, hot glue guns and baskets. Let your VIPs get creative as they create their masterpieces.
Maybe even have a contest for “Most Creative,” “Best In Class,” “Best DIY Disaster” and offer the winners gift cards to local grocery stores as the awards.
5. Host your own biergarten
Head over to Trader Joe’s or World Market and stock up on interesting beers, sausages and cheeses. Rent a Lederhosen costume and hire a local German band. Have costume contests, dance contests, sing-a-longs and maybe collect a random assortment of German steins from thrift stores for your VIPS to drink from and take home with them after the event.
6. Sponsor a tailgating event
This might sound basic, but what if you put a non-traditional twist on this timeless fall classic? Instead of hosting a college or pro tailgating event where everyone gets liquored up before the big game, host a junior high, high school or club sports family tailgating event. Provide healthy snacks, sports drinks, protein bars and, of course, lots of water.
Use your team banner to mark your spot in the parking lot and set up tables with posterboard and markers for family members and friends to make spirit boards for their competing athletes. Let them know that the kids and their families can stop by your VIP tailgating spot throughout the tournament to get complimentary drinks and snacks, some fresh air or to decompress and socialize with other families in the area in between matches.
As a former club sports parent, I would have loved if a local Realtor did that for us during long weekend events.
7. DIY pie bar
Buy or make a bunch of mini-pie crusts and set up a pie-making station that includes ingredients such as vanilla and chocolate pudding, canned pumpkin, canned cherries, canned apples, cream cheese, graham cracker crumbs, strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream.
Let your guests make creative mini pies and compliment with a self-service beverage bar that includes hot cocoa, teas, coffees, ciders and, of course, wine. Have contests for the most creative concoctions and don’t forget to create a hashtag for your event and have attendees take pics and post to be entered to win a gift basket in a drawing held at the end of the event.
8. Flannel family fun
Hire a photographer and invite families to put on their favorite flannels, or maybe even buy matchy-matchy flannels for the whole family and then come out to a local park that’s fall color picturesque for fall family photos. Have snacks and drinks, as well as a full-length mirror, brushes, hairsprays, baby wipes and translucent powder and makeup brushes at your “touch-up station” for VIPs to use prior to their photoshoot.
Post-event, provide digital copies as well as either a framed hard copy of the portrait or maybe even one that’s turned into a Smile Tile or card as a thank-you gift for attending your event.
One of my favorite ways to make forever moments from photos is to turn them into something that sits on my mantle or on my wall. I’m sure your future and existing clients will feel the same way.
Author Stacey Soleil is the Head of Community & Industry Relations for www.followupboss.com as well as Inman contributing writer, national speaker, RRC Adjunct Instructor & WomanUP! Wavemaker.