Modernizing the Closing Gift to Maximize Referrals

(This article originally posted on Inman)

An experienced agent knows the impact of referrals and the importance of following through after the sale with an appropriate closing gift. In fact, it’s too important to put on autopilot. The right closing gift will fulfill two purposes: to show your appreciation to the client and celebrate their success, and also to keep your name top-of-mind whenever the topic of real estate arises.

The closing gift can be a smart component of your drip marketing and referral strategy. For this reason, a long-term gift is a great solution. It reminds your clients about you, and the services you can provide, over time. Each time they use the gift, you have again made contact with that client.

While the home warranty is often chosen as a closing gift, and is appreciated by most clients, it falls short when it comes to keeping the agent at top-of-mind. There is a missed opportunity. It could be months or even years before the warranty is used, so there’s plenty of time for the homeowner to forget about the agent.

Giving a closing gift that “keeps on giving” is a smart strategy that many trendsetting agents are utilizing to stay top-of-mind over a longer period. Use this curated list of modern after-the-sale gifts to inspire your next thoughtful —and long lasting— closing gift.

#1: For the Tech Lovers

Does your client absolutely need a thermostat that programs itself, automatically responding to changes in season and “learning” the user’s preferences? Obviously not. Would they love to have one and experience warm feelings about their cool real estate agent when they use it? Um…yes! It’s a practical gift that also has a high cool factor your techy clients will appreciate, and they’ll see it nearly every day.

You could also consider Hello Alfred, a community butler service your clients can access via their smartphone. It enables busy professionals to order household services ranging from grocery shopping and laundry to cleaning and trash removal. File this under “tech-savvy” clients —but really, who wouldn’t love that? And, every time they use the service you’re top-of-mind.

Another great idea for the tech-savvy client? Amazon Echo. This hands-free speaker that you control with your voice can be used for everything from music and information to controlling your household lighting, turning on your TV, or even starting your coffee maker. And since Echo is still a relatively new technology, you can count on your clients showing her off to their friends — “Yeah, that was a gift from my agent!”

#2: For the Traditionalist  

There are plenty of thoughtful options for your clients who might not get too charged up about a “gadget.” Consider the Fruit of the Month Club from Harry and David. It’s the best-known of this type of gift. They’ve been in the business for a long time, and are great at what they do. And obviously they do more than fruit. How about a Dessert of the Month? Or Wine? It’s easy to tailor this gift to suit most any client.

A relative newcomer to the “gift subscription” game, the Bouqs Company specializes in flowers. They offer the option for regular deliveries, set up in advance. So agents can arrange for monthly deliveries that will brighten their client’s day.  Someone with a green thumb might love the idea of a “plant of the month.”

Dinner-to-your-door delivery services like Plated, HelloFresh, and Blue Apron are another option for the traditionalist —with a twist.

#3: For the First-Time Homebuyers

Helping clients to buy their very first home can win you a lasting place in their hearts, but a good closing gift helps nourish that regard. Are they especially thrilled with their gourmet kitchen? They might enjoy some fun cooking classes. These can be ongoing or part of a series. Sur la Table offers a variety of class types and durations at locations across the country, and top local restaurants and bakeries may offer interesting opportunities as well.

To help commemorate this huge milestone in your client’s life, you might also consider commissioning a painting or sketch of their new home by a local artist. This is something they’ll keep with them for a lifetime and will be a thoughtful reminder of how exciting this time was, and the agent who helped them.

First-time homeowners will also have a lot of new —and often foreign— responsibilities. One of those is yard maintenance. Why not work with a local lawn care provider to set up ongoing yard maintenance for the first few months? You can guarantee this is gift will be well-received, and that your clients will think of you every time they smell the fresh cut grass.  

#4: For the Neighborhood Newcomers

For this type of client, a great gift is one that will help them to explore and enjoy their new community. Give them opportunities to discover the things that make their town a great place to live, and make it an ongoing experience that will call the agent to mind on a regular basis.

If the client has young children, think about family activities. Perhaps a membership at the local zoo? Gift certificates for local amusement parks or other attractions?

Tickets to a local sporting event are a sure winner if the client has an interest in sports. If they’re interested in culture, give a membership to the local museum or a great upcoming concert series.  These last options have the added benefit of demonstrating your support for the arts in your community.

#5: For Everyone

A practical, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that gift is welcomed by anyone. There are a lot of details involved in setting up a household, and keeping up with home care and preventative maintenance.  A unique gift to consider is a Glasshouse membership.

The ongoing service assigns each homeowner a house manager whose job it is to stay on top of preventive maintenance through scheduled quarterly visits.  Who wouldn’t appreciate having a professional handle routine maintenance and be available to pitch in when needed? The client’s Glasshouse manager can also help with with move-in tasks such as furniture assembly, hanging pictures, mounting televisions, installing shelves, replacing light fixtures, and more.

This is the type of closing gift that really earns its keep —it’s a win-win for all. And since Glasshouse managers come for quarterly visits, it’s a welcome reminder to homeowners that their agent is helping them protect and care for their home —keeping you top-of-mind— while clients gain comfort knowing their home is being cared for and properly maintained.

Redefining the Modern Closing Gift

With these points in mind, it’s easy to see that personalizing the closing gift —and ensuring it’s a gift that keeps on giving— is not only a good strategy, it’s one that needn’t cost a lot of extra time or money.  

For more ideas on how to provide value after the sale, download our whitepaper —5 Ways to Go Beyond the Home Warranty.