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This article was last updated Dec. 6, 2022.

December typically is a quiet month for the real estate industry. If you want to start your 2023 off with a bang, take advantage of December to be front and center with your clients and your sphere. Making the right moves now can result in plenty of business for months to come. 

First and foremost, the most important thing you can do is to thank every single client who has transacted with you during this extraordinarily difficult year. One of the best ways to do this is to send a customized card or gift. Here are a few ideas.

1. Send a customized card

Ever since Greg McDaniel received his first SendOut card with his picture on the front of it, he’s been a huge fan. His all-time favorite SendOutCard was based on a Facebook post he did about the boat he hoped to buy. His friend sent the picture of the cockpit he had posted on Facebook and on the inside, a picture of the boat itself.

Since that time, McDaniel has used this approach with his clients — personalize a custom card with something your clients highly value. Check their Facebook and Instagram pages for ideas. He continues to be amazed by how many of his clients keep his card and post it on the mantle or some other prominent place in their home. Here are some alternatives to SendOutCards. 

2. Personalize a gift

Give them something to talk about, whether it’s their favorite brand of golf balls with their name on them, a personal chef to cook a special meal, or McDaniel’s favorite, an evening with a mixologist. The more unique your gift is, the more buzz it will generate. 

The next three strategies allow you to easily lead generate while also supporting local businesses this holiday season. (You can use this strategy throughout the year.) 

3. Highlight a local business daily

Begin this process by going to your local chamber of commerce to identify the businesses you would like to promote. McDaniel recommends focusing on businesses that are actively giving back to your community. You could also highlight businesses that have great holiday decorations. 

The second step is to interview the business owners. Make your video all about them and their business. Ask for any marketing photos they may have. Post the video and the photos on your Facebook business page, Instagram, YouTube or wherever else they have a social media presence. Send the links to the business owner so they can post them as well.

McDaniel recommends spending an extra $10 to boost the videos on Facebook and gain even more exposure. Also, remember to tag people you know who may benefit from the services or products the business provides. 

4. Create ‘Groupon care packages’

Go to Groupon, and search for local businesses owners who offer a discount. Groupon charges them a fee to use their services and takes 50 percent of what the business receives. What you’re going to do is to ask if they will provide that same discount to your clients — except you won’t charge them anything. McDaniel says he never gets a “no” on this request.

Aggregate all the discount coupons you receive, and provide them in a printed discount book — or better yet, a digital coupon book that can easily be shared with others. This is a great way to create raving fans in your local business community. 

5. Post reviews

As part of your business campaign, be sure to post a testimonial on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Yelp for the local businesses you highlight. 

Given that it’s the holidays, below are a few unique, holiday-themed ideas that are easy to implement. 

6. Share great neighborhood decorations

Put together a digital neighborhood tour of the best or the most unique holiday decorations. Reach out to everyone in your contact database, and ask them to send pictures of their favorites to you. You can also go the NextDoor and post the request there. 

As the photos come in, tag each person who sent them. Combine the photos into a slideshow or video that you promote across social media platforms. Be sure to share the link with anyone who contributed a photo. 

7. Host a family holiday movie night at your local movie theater

Dig into your database and invite referral partners and clients. Provide their favorite movie snacks and encourage everyone to get decked out for the holiday. Meet at least 30 minutes before starting the movie to have everyone chat and get to know one another. It’s a great way to bring people together and create community and a sense of neighborliness.

A slightly different alternative would be to stream a Christmas classic to the seniors in your community or in neighborhood long-term care facilities. 

8. Sponsor live holiday music

The planned development community where I live has been conducting monthly live music events in our local park and on one of the greenbelts where the condos in the subdivision are located. Homeowners can enjoy the music from their patios or balconies, while others bring lawn chairs to the event.

A slightly different approach would be to sponsor a Santa “caravan” along with live caroling. This could be done as a drive through various local areas with stops where there’s a high concentration of residents, such as a condominium building or extended care facility.

9. Organize a dinner or other fun event 

Our subdivision recently put together a Dickens Christmas dinner and encouraged everyone to attend in costume. The holiday idea I liked the best this year, however, was the “tiny pie” Thanksgiving event. Sponsored by a local gourmet bakery, each homeowner could pick up their pie at the Club House.

Since we have quite a few residents who live alone, this is a great way to provide them with a Thanksgiving treat they would never make for themselves. It’s also the kind of event a Realtor could easily sponsor.

10. The ‘yappy’ costume contest

This is something you could sponsor any time during the year. Invite pet owners to dress up their pets in their best holiday garb, send the pictures to you, and then post them to your Facebook or Instagram page. Ask your followers to vote for their favorites. 

Follow up with a “Yappy Holiday” party where everyone gets together with their pets in their costumes plus their favorite holiday drinks and treats. Announce the voting favorites, and provide the winners with a gift basket of pet treats. 

11. Volunteer your time and money at a local food bank

During the holidays, the demand at local food banks often skyrockets. Several years ago, one agent decided he wasn’t getting a very good return on what he was paying for internet leads. He decided to contribute that money to a local food bank instead, and to volunteer there one day a week. His business increased by 15 percent during the next six months. 

12. Clean your closet, and recycle old electronics

There’s a well-worn saying: “You attract who you are.” When you give to others, it always comes back to you. More importantly, when you donate all the clothing, shoes and electronic devices you’re not using to others who truly need them, you’re making room for new business. I’ve watched this principle work for over two decades — test it out in your business. 

Instead of taking this December off, why not put it to good use by helping others in your community? Moreover, don’t be surprised when a lot of new business pops up from unexpected sources in 2023.   

Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with more than 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.

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