OK, if someone has a system for keeping track of all the little loose receipts, please tell me.
Since I’m not in the suburbs, I don’t drive clients around (there was the time I drove my married friends to house-hunt in Brooklyn, but lost some of my cool points by asking the husband to parallel park for me). I do, however, ferry clients around by taxi, which generates receipts smaller than post-its. I’m good, I stick the little bits in my wallet, and then four taxis later pull out a five and find that the ground is covered in white confetti. I am trying to set up envelopes by client, but I am just not naturally that organized.
I feed my clients too, at least the rich ones, and didn’t realize that was all that unusual until I mentioned it to my sister. “I’ve bought eight houses,” she said, “and never …”
Well, that doesn’t make sense to me. Sitting down with someone over a glass of wine and a plate of pasta, or coffee and cake, seems at least as good an expenditure of my marketing dollars as buying advertising. I mean, do you want name recognition or do you want the referral? I want the referral.
And it seems like I’m getting it: the out-of-town clients who just cruised in for the weekend, I had my credit card out and they’re sending me their friends. Works for me, although my accountant is going to have a cow when I hand him a shoebox full of little white envelopes with client receipts on it. Maybe a spreadsheet? Quicken? Anybody?
The big question I have (since I’m very social and love going out with clients; not seeing coworkers every day is the one thing I miss about corporate life) is, how much entertaining is too much? See, Christmas is coming up, and I’m trying to figure out what presents to send out as a business, but I don’t want to be the pushy gift lady. Embossed restaurant guides are big here, and I love them, so I think maybe those: do people really want coffee cups with a business name on them?
The other problem is that I have very expensive taste, and everything I think is rockin’ costs $$$. My clients who just gave me the referral are coming back into town, and I thought, hey, I’ll pick up the Broadway tickets they want as my treat, until the nice people at the box office broke it to me that Broadway tickets aren’t $111 each, which is list, but actually $250 each, so $750 for three people. I got a ticket broker to come down to $225 per, and there is something truly cool about using a ticket broker, then I can always refer my clients to him and look like the most networked person on earth, but $675?? You can buy a lot of wine and embossed restaurant guides for that. (Plus, the credit hog in me thinks they’ll only think I spent $333.)
So I tend to try for things that are funny or sentimental. I had a rental client who had told me a funny story about a kitchen mishap, so I bought her kitchen gadgets; my seller who had left her beloved downtown neighborhood, a gift certificate for her local food shop so she could binge whenever she went back. My renters will have a fireplace for the first time in their lives, so I think maybe some sort of LL Bean precut wood-in-carrier thing, plus a fireplace kid’s gate. We used to pop popcorn over the fire when I was a kid, so maybe I’ll throw in one of those old-fashioned fireplace popcorn poppers. Wait, now I want a fireplace. It’s such a nice symbol of home, so warm and cozy. And it would be such a great place to burnthose receipts in.