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A little Mexican Coke can go a long way.
Just ask Houston Realtor Dee Dee Guggenheim Howes, an agent with Compass who shared her secret to choosing the perfect closing gifts for clients during an Inman Connect Now session Tuesday.
During the digital-only session, Howes, a 25-year real estate veteran who last year sold six of the most expensive homes in Houston and more than 21 multimillion-dollar homes, told moderator Katie Kossev that she’s able to stand out from the competition through “good, solid hard work.”
The key, she continued, is good customer service. During the peak of the pandemic, Howes didn’t turn away business. She told Inman she put on her gloves, her mask, followed protocol, and got to work. Providing top-notch service all the way through the closing is one of the key’s to her success, she told Kossev.
“If I don’t, they have a thousand other people that they can call,” she explained.
After every closing, Howes writes her clients the following sentence: “I want to thank you for your business because I know you had a lot of choices.”
Closing gifts are a great way for agents to nurture relationships with their clients, Howes said. Champagne bottles are fine gifts, but when it comes to her business, she likes to get creative so people remember her name.
Howes has one buyer who had voiced concern about how to clean the hardwood floors and marble cabinets in their new build. When the buyer shows up to the home, they’re going to be gifted with all the products necessary to clean them.
Howes also uses social media for gift ideas. One time, she explained, a buyer posted about how upset they were that certain beverages — Mexican Coke and Topo Chico — were out of stock near them.
When the house closed, she filled the fridge with the drinks.
In addition to online searching, Howes uses features in the home to come up with gift ideas. For example, if the home has a pool and the family has kids, she will put together a beach basket with towels and pool floats.
“If you drink the champagne, it’s gone,” she said. “If you eat the cookies, they’re gone. But that towel and that unicorn float, they are going to remember me.”