Why a Closing Gift Can Hurt Your Real Estate Business.
Closing gifts are a time-honored tradition in Real Estate transactions, and while these gifts are nice gestures, they can potentially send 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 met. You answered all the questions imaginable to reassure your clients that you were taking care of everything. The signing of the paperwork and phone calls comes to a quick end after becoming best friends in the span of 30-180 days.
Closing day comes and your client is excited to cross the finish line and complete the transaction, grab the keys, and begin this new chapter in their life.
After days—and sometimes months—of frequent phone calls and working together, how can you as a REALTOR show appreciation for the high level of trust your clients have placed in you? After all, some people never get to own a home. Of those who do, many only make such a monumental purchase once.
How do you display gratitude for your clients in a way that makes them certain they’ve made the right choice?
Like branded business gifts, closing gifts can sometimes appear impersonal and make your clients feel undervalued or unappreciated. As a REALTOR, this is something you definitely want to avoid.
Putting a Price on the Client’s Trust in You
This person put what is probably their biggest asset in your hands. They trust you with the roof over their family’s head. Their home. Their future.
You may be a top producer and sell over 100 homes a year, but this is most likely their first property purchase. The homebuying process is life-altering.
Giving a closing gift to your client quantifies what working with them meant to you, effectively putting a price on that relationship. If your closing gift is a branded mug or T-shirt, your clients may feel that all the time you spent together means a lot to them and very little to you.
Put yourself in your client’s shoes.
You hired someone to help you sell your home. You have a deep personal investment in your home, filled with memories and important moments. You and your agent talked every single day throughout the process, sometimes after business hours. You shared your concerns and hopes for the future.
Now closing day is here. The stress is over, and you can start the next chapter in your new home. You are incredibly grateful for your REALTOR’s assistance in making this huge transition as seamless as possible.
“Thank you so much for your help! My family and I really appreciate this,” you tell them.
“You’re very welcome,” they reply, handing you a closing gift. “Thank you for trusting me. Here is a bottle of wine.”
How do you feel? What is running through your mind?
To make matters worse, most clients will never hear from their agent again. Many Real Estate agents treat closing day as the end of the relationship, and they move on, always looking for their next sale.
Sure, a Real Estate transaction is just business. But the best businesses treat their clients like friends, not like just another stack of money.
Closing Gifts Conclude the Working Relationship
In Real Estate, relationships are everything. But gifts don’t build relationships—people do.
Think about the professionals you work with repeatedly, like your accountant or financial advisor. You go back to the same person again and again because of the service they provide, not because they give the best corporate branded gifts.
Handing a closing gift to a client feels a whole lot like saying goodbye. So does “Don’t forget I’m never too busy for your referrals!”
If you’ve done more than your job description, you won’t have to ask for referrals. Your clients will rave about their experience with you. Think about when you walked out of a movie theater after seeing a film you loved. You 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 the end of the relationship. Your clients should be promoted from client to friend. And friends are more than happy to recommend their favorite professionals to their loved ones.
Losing the Element of Surprise
You’ve heard the age-old saying, “Timing is everything,” and it rings true in this situation.
Imagine that your wedding anniversary is coming up, and one of your friends gives you a call two days before the actual date to wish you a happy anniversary. You will likely tell your spouse all about the call and how thoughtful it was.
Now, fast forward to the day of your anniversary. All your friends and loved ones are calling you, texting you, and sending well wishes on your social media profiles. How many of these messages will you remember? Probably not many.
The surprising message makes more of an impact and feels more meaningful, even if the sentiment is exactly the same.
If you’ve ever had someone pay for your meal in a restaurant or in a drive-thru lane, you know that being thoughtfully surprised is a memorable experience. You’ll likely tell your friends or coworkers all about the kind gesture.
A closing gift isn’t surprising—it’s expected.
If you want a moment to have an impact, taking advantage of 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 closing gift. You could meet their expectations…or you could heighten the experience by surprising and delighting them before the transaction closes. Or send another gift after closing day if you really want to make an impact.
Even better, what if this thoughtful gift-giving never stopped? What if you showered your clients with surprise gifts throughout the length of a transaction?
Pull out the red carpet for everyone who works with you. If you have an in-person meeting scheduled, bring them a coffee. Surprise them with branded business gifts other than a box of chocolates with your company logo on the packaging.
Handwritten cards go a long way. Write your client a quick note to let them know you have everything covered.
Don’t wait until the transaction closes to treat your clients. Leave that to your mediocre competitors.
All in all, a closing gift isn’t a bad thing.
But you do have better options than summarizing the entire professional relationship in that one generic box of chocolates, that single bottle of wine, or that $100 gift card to Home Depot.
You and your clients talked to each other every day. They trusted you and valued your advice and input on the entire home buying or selling process. Don’t let that relationship run out after the gift card does. Remember that gifts do not make relationships, but they do help communicate on behalf of people. So, surprise your clients with thoughtful touches throughout the process to show them that you are thinking of them and know exactly what surprises will make them smile.