This story was last updated Nov. 17, 2022

Even if you don’t live in an area where the leaves change colors, fall can still be a special time of year filled with loved ones, gratitude and of course, pie.

If there’s one thing that hits home even in sunny California just like everywhere else in the country during the holiday season — it’s pie.

Whatever holidays you celebrate, you probably have your own food traditions. You may choose different items at different times and change up the menu according to your mood.

But when it comes to Thanksgiving — a holiday that almost all of us celebrate — pie truly reigns supreme. Whether you are a pumpkin, sweet potato, apple or pecan pie family, your Thanksgiving table would feel incomplete without your pie of choice.

More and more, I’m seeing real estate brokerages and individual agents leaning into this association, doing pop-bys with pies or holding open houses at their offices where folks in their sphere of influence can come in and grab a pie to add to their dessert table.

Giving a pie at Thanksgiving and telling somebody that you’re thankful for them in person is so much more effective than the standard-issue pop by — giving somebody a bag of popcorn and saying, “I’m popping by to say hi,” for example.

Las Vegas agent Windy Humphreys-Goss recently posted a pie pick-up invitation on Facebook to anyone who has ever worked with her team. Even for those who don’t take her up on the offer, it’s an impressive — and memorable — display of appreciation.

Is pie the answer to a productive year? Could it really all come down to pie?

Making a pie giveaway work for you

While December holiday greetings and giveaways can get lost in the shuffle, a Thanksgiving pie is a welcome and useful addition to the dessert table and can help you stand out from the crowd.

If you’re thinking of incorporating pie into your planning for the end of 2021, here are some things to keep in mind.

Where to get the pies

In 2019, Costco sold 6.1 million of their iconic 12-inch pies. At only $6.99 each, that’s a whole lot of deliciousness for not a lot of money, so it’s sure to fit into even the most modest marketing budget. This is where Humphreys-Goss is getting her pies from this year as well.

Alternatively, you may want to lean into your reputation as the neighborhood authority by purchasing pies from a local restaurant, bakery or catering service. Cross-promote on social media with the bakery owner to make your pie purchase go even further.

How to distribute the pies

Here, you have the option to do deliveries or hold an open house where clients can stop in and grab a pie in the days before Thanksgiving.

You may want to do some combination where you deliver pies individually to your most valued clients, to the elderly and to those with mobility challenges.

How to communicate with your SOI

It’s important for you to communicate effectively in order to make this giveaway work, so be sure to reach out via email, messaging app or text well in advance, with reminders closer to the giveaway date.

For the deliveries, make a phone call, and determine a good time to stop by with your gift. Ask whether the recipient would prefer for you to leave the pie on the porch, in case they are social distancing.

What to do with leftovers

Before you begin, you’ll want to identify a local group that’s feeding the hungry this holiday season. Connect with them ahead of time and find out how to bring in your leftover pies or — even better — purchase some extras just for this purpose.

This gives you an opportunity to share with the community and highlight the organization’s good works on your social media platforms.

Some marketing folks look down on pop-bys and giveaways as old-fashioned, and I understand their point. If you’re not following up effectively and marketing to your sphere all year long, all the pies in the world won’t turn your business into a referral-based one.

This type of giveaway is only one part of the equation. The magic, then, is not in the pie itself. It’s in the way you use them to connect with your sphere.

  • Take an extra step and include a handwritten note with your pie or include the thank-you letter that you would normally send out via email.

  • Use the pie giveaway as an opportunity to challenge yourself to reach out to more members of your SOI. If you can’t think of 12 people to whom you would like to give pies, you need to rethink your sphere of influence marketing strategy.

  • Let this holiday season, and this season of giving pies, mark the start of your planning for the coming year. If you’re planning to implement a more consistent direct mail or email marketing strategy, for example, use the pie giveaway as a launchpad.

The best part of a Thanksgiving giveaway is that it gives you an opportunity to express your gratitude for your clients — both past and present. It’s that attitude of gratitude that will connect with your sphere and keep you top-of-mind as the New Year starts and throughout the year.

Troy Palmquist is the founder and broker of DOORA Properties in Southern California. Follow him on Instagram or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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