MODULE 11: EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS
This is your opportunity to see your highly engaged and referring clients more often in a structured and leveraged setting.
A well planned event in which you maximize all your pre-event promotion and post event contact can result in lots of repeat and referral business even if the event itself is not highly attended.
If holding events is so beneficial, why don’t more agents do it? Some of the reasons we’ve heard from agents are:
- I don’t know what type of event to hold.
- I don’t know how to plan and execute a successful event.
- I don’t know if anyone would come.
- I don’t have time.
- I don’t like to socialize.
EXTRAordinary Events gives you all the tools you need to plan and manage the event as well as promote it like a pro and get referrals as a result.
section 1: goals and objectives
Perhaps the biggest and most often overlooked reason to host a client event is to have a great reason to call your clients to remain top of mind.
For those who attend, you are creating an opportunity to see your clients and organically grow the love and appreciation they already have for you.
It generates opportunities for social media reach both through your own posts and that of your event attendees.
Holding events where your clients are the “stars” endears them to you and when they refer you, which they will, they will be referring a friend who happens to be a professional Realtor. That’s a much stronger referral.
Ask them for something in return:
- Google Places
- Referral (you may even extend the invitation to allow your clients to bring someone to the event they feel you should meet)
- Ask them to complete a “You’re Important to Me” form to continue growing deeper relationships
host a great EVENT
Determine what outcome you desire as a result of holding your event. Is your main objective to just talk to and potentially see your clients if they attend?
How will you gauge whether your event was a success? Will you base it on the number of clients who attend, the number of people they introduce you to, the number you get to talk to while inviting, hosting and calling behind the event, the number of referrals you receive or closings from those referrals by those whom you invited.
One big consideration is how much money you will budget. If your goal is to get two closed referrals from your past clients after the event how much are you willing to invest in holding the event?
A Facebook event page is another tool you can use to increase customer engagement and excitement during your planning period. Watch your event settings to control whether your guests can invite others and whether it is a public or private event. Will you let people see who else is invited and their status, etc. Also, be sure to include a link to your registration page in your event management software to accurately keep track of RSVP’s. You do not want to have to track attendance in two places.
When you send your email invitations, use language to encourage them to take action! We provide you with language you can use at the initial invitation and at each reminder.
Would it be beneficial to select a co-host? This could be another agent, an industry partner such as your title closer or lender partner. This person can take on some of responsibilities and cost of the event if appropriate.
Choose a venue that allows you to control as much of the experience as possible. If you are hosting an outdoor event, having a contingency plan can be helpful. Perhaps there is an alternative indoor location you can utilize at the last minute. Are there options for providing shelter from the elements at the same location in case of inclement weather? Perhaps you can pre-select an alternative event date. If last minute notification of event detail changes may need to be communicated, establish the contact method you will use to communicate that to all your guests and let them know ahead of time what that will be.
Choosing a date can be a challenge. You need to be available, your venue needs to be available, you want to avoid major event conflicts such as holidays, community wide or city events (such as fairs, festivals and major fundraisers), professional sports teams events, local school events and typical organized religion evening or weekend events. Of course there is no way to choose a date that works for everyone. You will still have the opportunity to engage with your clients via phone, text and email even if they are not able to make it. There is still value in extending the invitation and engaging your clients.
Create a good timeline for all tasks such as when you need to reserve the venue, when consumables need to be ordered and picked up (if applicable), when to send invitations, when to follow up and how, etc. We include these details in each event’s planning checklist to make it easy.
Inviting the people whom you feel most connected to and/or who refer you the most often is imperative. We recommend you invite only your top 20% and Year One clients as outlined in Module 2. This helps keep costs down while making sure you are staying in front of the people who refer you most often. This also ensures you will have more time to connect with these same people at the actual event and have a bit more meaningful conversation with each of them. If you do not have enough people in this category you can invite everyone. Keep track of who you invited, who RSVP’d and who attended. This is necessary to execute on post event activities and can help you determine how effective your event was by tracking future referrals and closings.
You may want to consider branding the event in a couple of ways. Signage is one of those and providing a branded give-away item is another.
Be strategic in determining how you will execute your event from sign in to wrap up. Create opportunities to talk with your clients and their guests to continue building relationships with them.
Determine when you will do certain activities and then put good systems in place and stay on track. An event can become overwhelming if you fall behind in the details necessary to hold a successful event.
Scheduling tasks such as contacting venues, getting venue booked, sending invitations and following up via phone or text is important. Again, we provide the framework within each event.
We can’t emphasize tracking enough. We recommend tracking everything in your business. For events you’ll want to track who you invited, who RSVP’d, who attended and who you talked to both before and after the event.
Last but not least is good follow up. Your event does not end when the event is over. Your event can continue paying dividends long after it’s come to an end.
Give yourself some grace. If you have never held events before, just holding an event is going to produce results. If you don’t execute on everything perfectly, it’s okay! You’ll improve with each event and create even more opportunities over time as you host more and more.
what to track
- Who you invited
- Who you called to invite (this will become important for future events – you will want to know how your phone calls are impacting your event attendance and referrals if you call and they don’t attend.
- Who RSVP’d
- Who attended
- How many guests they brought (kids, significant others, etc).
- Contact information if you don’t already have it.
- Referrals you receive while you are promoting the event and those you receive after the event.
- Closings that result from those referrals.
SECTION 2: maximize the impact!
make the event more memorable
You’ll want to do all you can to amp up the impact your event has for your clients which will positively impact your business. Each event is unique and these opportunities will look very differently from event to event. Each EXTRAordinary Event will include ideas to help you accomplish this.
PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE
As previously mentioned you have a lot of opportunities to connect with your clients in a meaningful way simply by holding an event. We share the points in which you should reach out to your clients and provide you with scripts. Your event will be more highly attended, your relationships strengthened and your referrals and closings from those referrals greater if you take advantage of every opportunity to promote your event and contact your clients.
SECTION 3: timeline FOR A WELL ATTENDED EVENT
2-4 MONTHS prior
- Determine your objective and put systems in place to ensure you achieve it.
- Determine how you will know if your event is a success, i.e. attendance, client engagement (phone, email, attendance), referrals, closings
- Find a co-host, if desired and appropriate. This can impact your budget.
- Establish your budget.
- Identify and book your venue. Uncover additional details such as when you can access the venue, what signage is allowed, is it ADA accessible, where is guest parking, is parking free (if not what is the cost to park), what level of cleanup is required (if any), is outside food allowed, what other information can they share with you to help your event be the best it can be. We include things to consider in each event we provide.
- Choose a good event management software and create your event and invitation.
- Include your photo, name, etc. so it is clear this is your event. This will increase attendance.
- Be sure to include important details such as who they are invited to bring (will you limit the number of attendees per client, i.e. immediate family only); what timing looks like (check-in, start, and end time); where to park and whether there is a cost; whether they need to bring anything with them, i.e. for an outdoor event they may want to bring chairs, a blanket or sun protection. Include any other details specific to your venue or event type that you will need to communicate with your guests
- Communicate the date by which they must RSVP.
- Create Facebook event page
- Include a link to your registration page to accurately keep track of RSVP’s.
- Keep the branding consistent with you, your business and your invitation.
- Create timeline for all tasks such as when consumables need to be ordered and picked up (if applicable), when to send invitations, when to follow up and how, etc. These details are included in each event to make creating your checklist easy based on what you want to provide.
- Create and upload your guest list to your event management software.
- Order signage, if desired
- Order give away if desired
1 month prior
- Confirm venue and nail down final details. Be sure all your questions are answered. Going through the event mentally from the time of arrival to the time of departure can really help you uncover potential issues you need to plan for, i.e. if you are hosting a private showing of a movie where do your guests go when they arrive at the theater complex? Do they need a ticket to get in? Can you provide signage to help direct them?
- Check-in with your co-host (if applicable) to discuss final details and who is responsible
- Send your invitation via email. If you have clients who do not have email, you’ll need to call them and send something in the mail.
3 weeks prior
2 weeks prior
- Send second invitation to those who did not RSVP
- Begin calling clients to invite them personally
- Track who you call, listen for pain and pleasure (as referenced in Module 1) and record any information you uncover.
- Keep track of those who may want to come and are just unable to commit yet. Call them 2 days prior to event.
1 week prior
- Send reminder email to those who RSVP’d
- Send third invitation to those who did not RSVP if your event is still not filled.
- Finish calling through your list of invited clients
- Call clients who RSVP’d to let them know you are excited to see them.
- If you are low in numbers for your event you can extend the invitation for them to bring other guests. Just ask that they update their RSVP if they are able to bring anyone else.
- Check your supplies to be sure you have enough for the event.
2 days prior
- Send second reminder email to those who RSVP’d
- Share pertinent information to make event successful
- Timing (check-in, start, and end time)
- Where to park and whether there is a cost
- Specific instructions for where to go
- Specific instructions on what the check-in process will look like
- Whether they need to bring anything with them to enjoy the event to the fullest
- Call any last minute clients who were unable to commit prior to see if they are able to make it (if you still have space)
DAY OF THE EVENT
- Send “Excited to see you today” email to those who RSVP’d
- Include any details you want them to be sure they remember (similar to reminder 2 days ago)
during the event
- Create opportunities to talk with your clients and their guests. After all, this is the reason you are holding the event. Each event will include options to engage with your guests.
- Execute on your objecive
- Track who attended and who they brought with them
- Take photos
after the event
- Post any photos you have from your event and tag clients when possible.
- Record who attended, how many guests they brought and any other information that will help you deepen your relationship in the future. This can be stored in your database management system, whether it be a CRM, spreadsheet or other method (as referenced in Module 1).
- Make notes to yourself for future reference, i.e. what worked well, what will you do differently next time
- Follow up on any requests made at the event, i.e. CMA
- Call or send an email to those who came and thank them for coming.
- Call clients who RSVP’d and did not come to check in, i.e. “I missed you at the event. Is everything okay?”
- Execute on any objectives you had that require follow up, i.e. send an email to any clients who agreed to write an online testimonial. Include a link to your preferred testimonial site: Facebook page, Google Places, Yelp or Zillow account.
- Determine what your first event will be (reference page 6 of our FREE Guide for ideas or utilize EXTRAordinary Events).
- Choose your date and venue then reserve it and put it in your calendar!
- Follow the recommended timelines and strategies to execute your event.