I was recently asked this question about gifting. Agents often have a great idea, but then when they tell a few people, that initial great idea can get muddied in the spirit of others helping. If you know an idea is a good one, trust your instinct unless you are concerned that it crosses a line. Then get a second opinion from your managing broker.
Q: “Denise, I love dogs. I mean I REALLY love dogs. I already donate a portion of my commission to our local humane society and am part of several local animal advocacy groups. I haven’t really marketed that side of myself, although everyone knows how I feel about their furry friends. I am ready to start including some of that story in my bio, estationery, online profiles and more this year and really celebrating that side of me! My real question is about my idea of adding a dog birthday campaign for my past clients. I would track my past clients’ dog birthdays and then drop off a bag of goodies or toys (dog dependent of course) during their birthday week. Do you think this is a lame idea? I have mentioned this to a few people in my office and they look confused.”
A: This is a fantastic idea! Dog people are going to go crazy over it. Non-dog people aren’t going to get it and that is okay. In fact, I once advised a large development builder to really amp up the dog-centric services, even building a marketing campaign around them. That development sold like hotcakes. They even included a personalized dog bed for each new canine resident (something you might consider for a closing gift!). Yes! Do it! I would love to see some photos or video of you giving the gifts to the dogs to see how they react. That would make my day!
Now, I do want to give you a word of warning about this campaign. You will need to determine a way to be vigilant about tracking dog passages. Not everyone posts on Facebook when they lose a friend and the last thing you want to do is to show up at their door with a bag of treats for a dog who has recently passed. Here is what I would do to avoid that situation: Call first and let the owner know you are coming over in the next few days with a birthday treat for Scruffy. The owner would inform you then about Scruffy’s passing. This allows you to offer your condolences and let the owner know you are going to make a donation to the Humane Society (or the dog charity of your choosing) in Scruffy’s honor. Then, also send a heartfelt condolence card to the owner.
Let me be clear – this last paragraph isn’t about marketing and you should not include a business card in the condolence card. It is about celebrating the life of a loved one – something that people generally find difficult and don’t know what to say or do. This gives you a system to follow.
Good work and I look forward to those photos!