How to Throw a Successful Client Appreciation Party

If you’re in the real estate industry and you’re not doing client appreciation parties, you’re missing out on a GOLDEN opportunity to generate repeat and referral business. Connect with your clients and generate new business by throwing a killer client appreciation party – here’s how!

For an example from one of our clients, check out what Ali Abree did below:

How to Throw a Successful Client Appreciation Party

If you’re in the real estate industry, and you’re not doing client appreciation parties, you are missing out on a golden opportunity to generate repeat and referral business and to connect with your clients.

I don’t want to show you how to throw a client appreciation party – I want to show you how to throw a killer one that’s wildly successful, because that’s where you’re going to see the benefit, and that’s where you’re going to say, “Travis, I want to do more of these!

This is one of the key things we have all of our clients do and I have never had a single client have a client appreciation party that failed or had a single client that, once they did a client appreciation party, said “you know what, that was so bad, I never want to do it again” or that they didn’t like it. Every single time they’re like, “I want to start planning the next one!” or “I want to do 4 or 5 of these per year.

And I know what you’re thinking right about now, because everybody has the SAME EXACT fear. “Yeah, but what happens if nobody shows up?!”

You’re going to have all this alcohol, all this food, all this stuff that you’ve prepared, and 3 people are going to show up. It’s going to be this sad little pity party where all you’re going to do is just drink all the alcohol you bought, because let’s be honest, nobody else is, right? 

This is everybody’s biggest fear is that you’re going to invite all these people and nobody’s going to show up and you’re going to feel like, “Gosh, nobody loves me. Nobody likes me.

I’ve never had this happen EVER to a SINGLE client and I want to show you how we’ve avoided this.

In fact, when I did my first live event, you know what I was worried about? What happens if nobody shows up?! Well, we didn’t have that problem. People showed up and our events get bigger and better every single year. So, yes, some people aren’t going to show up, but others will, and I’m going to show you how to make it wildly successful.

10 Steps to a Successful Client Appreciation Party

If you do these things, I promise you this:

No only will people show up, they’re going to have an incredible time, an incredible experience, AND you’re going to want to do these ALL the time. You’re going to want to do at least 2, ideally 3-4, client appreciation parties every single year. If you do this process over and over and over again, you’re only going to get better and only going to have more impact on your business which will lead to more repeat-referral clients.

Plan and Promote

For a lot of you, you’re like “time? what is that?” You need to plan this out AT LEAST 2 months in advance. I would recommend at least 3 months in advance, but at minimum, 2 months in advance, because you want to have time to promote this. If you promote it, people are going to show up, but if you try to pull something off in 2 weeks, people already have stuff planned. They already have stuff booked, and if you don’t give yourself time to plan and promote, less people are going to show up than they would if you gave yourself the time to do that.

Send Invites

Once you have the time, now you need to make calls, send save-the-dates, send emails, or send video invites. It could be as simple as sending a thing out that says, “hey! save the date. We’ll send you more information, but block this date out on your calendar. We’re throwing a bash! There will be food, fun, and festivities, so make sure you’ve got it blocked on your calendar.

Just remember: the more you reach out, the better the experience is going to be, and the more people are going to show up.

Real quick: let’s talk worst case scenario – what happens if you do all of this and nobody shows up? Did you lose? No, because what were you doing? You were making contact with your past clients, your sphere of influence, and you were building that relationship. They won’t know if nobody shows up. Remember, if they don’t show up, they don’t know who’s not there. So if nobody shows up and all you did was make a hundred calls to connect with your database, what are they going to feel? They’re going to feel gratitude, like “Wow! That was really nice that Travis was doing that. I can’t make it, but man, that’s awesome! Maybe I’ll make it to the next one.

You’re still building your relationship, staying top of mind, and connecting with your database, your past clients, and your sphere of influence. There’s no loss in the situation. Even if only 25% of the people show up, you’ve still won, because you connected with what? 100% of the people in your database. Most people wonder “well, what do I say when I call my database? What do I say when I’m reaching out to my sphere or my past clients?” This is a really easy thing to do – invite them to a party. It’s a simple way to connect.

Keep it Intimate

If you’re worried about the number of people that show up because you only have 150 people in your database, keep it to an intimate dinner of 25 people. Do you think you can get 25 people of your 150 people in the database to show up for an intimate dinner? Of course you can! If you keep it intentionally intimate, what you’re doing is you’re making sure that it’s going to feel full, and if only 20 people show up, it’s still going to feel intentional. It’s still going to feel like this is what it was supposed to be.If only 10 people show up to the dinner, all you have to say is, “this was supposed to be an intimate dinner for really the top referring clients and the top clients of this last year, and I’m so grateful that you guys could make it because you 10 are the 10 most important clients that I had last year.” It’s all about how you market it.

Plan It Around Another Event

This is what most of our clients will choose to do for their first event. They do it around Halloween and they do a pumpkin patch type of thing. They say, “There’s going to be a lot of people at the pumpkin patch, right? There’s already stuff going on like corn mazes, hayrides and face painting, so what if instead of planning it around ourselves, we do it at the pumpkin patch? We’re going to give away pumpkins to the first 50 people that show up and we’re going to have face painting, bouncy castles and hayrides, and we’re going to pay for all of that for everybody that shows up.

Also, there’s going to be other people at that pumpkin patch at the same time that are not your clients. So number 1, you’re getting exposure to people that aren’t your clients. And number 2, when your clients show up, they’re going to have NO IDEA that all those other people at the pumpkin patch aren’t there to see you. There’s just going to think, “Oh my gosh, look at all the clients that Travis has! This is amazing!!

You could do it around Santa photo days, baseball games, or other sporting events, because they have NO IDEA how many other people are there to see you and how many other people are there to see whatever else is going on. It’s a great way of creating the appearance of a fuller event.

Tell People to Invite Their Friends

This is SO critical. It’s a great way to blow up the number of people that are going to be there and to increase the number of referrals you get. Don’t just invite your past clients. Don’t just invite your sphere of influence. Say “Hey, do me a favor. Bring people! You’re welcome to bring whoever you want. All I ask you to do is just RSVP so we know what sort of numbers to expect.” When you do this, you’re increasing the reach that you start to have, and you know who people tend to bring? Their friends who are thinking of buying or selling a house. It’s so funny. They all do this. They’re going to come up to you and say “psst! Travis! Don’t tell them I told you, but the reason I brought Mary and Joe is they’re thinking of selling their house this spring, and I wanted them to meet you, so don’t tell them I told you, but I’ll make the introduction!

The people that you’re getting exposed to are people that are homeowners oftentimes, or that are thinking of buying, or that are thinking of listing their house. So the more they bring their friends, the more comfortable they’re going to feel, the more likely they are to show up, and the bigger your reach starts to expand.

Let’s be honest, just straight up calling people and asking for a referral is kind of awkward, right? There’s great ways of doing it, we’ve given you scripts to do that, but this is a really great way of doing it. If your clients bring friends, and their friends bring friends, or they bring friends, you didn’t even have to ask for a straight-up referral. It’s a GREAT, great way of getting the numbers up AND getting repeat and referral business from it.

Make it Audience and Clientele Appropriate

Look, if you work with a lot of families, don’t do something that’s “adults only”. Just think about all the people that now have to worry about childcare. Or if you do a big family event, but you serve primarily young or older people that don’t have families or kids, don’t do the pumpkin patch because they’re like, “Yeah, I’m, you know, 35, I don’t have kids. Sounds kind of boring. I’m not really into the hayrides and corn maze thing.Make sure that it’s audience and clientele appropriate.

Hire a Videographer AND a Photographer

This is super important. Could you hire a videographer that is also a photographer, yes, but DO NOT hire JUST a photographer. The key thing here is the videographer. Make sure that they’re capturing everything because you’re going to blast the crap out of this on social media.

You’re also going to want to capture client testimonials, because now they’re there, you’re throwing them a party, and it’s a great time to get video testimonials from a client! If you’re doing this stuff and they’re having a great time and they’re going to be so happy. The videographer is going to show up and go “Hey! How did you start working with Travis? Tell me about that experience.” They’re going to give you the most glowing client testimonial you will ever get and now you have all these video testimonials.

Now what are you going to do? You’re going to post and share the pictures and the videos on social media. This is how you start getting more and more play out of that, and you’re going to tag everybody that’s there. You’re going to say, “Hey, thanks for coming, John & Mary! Here’s the picture of you guys and your family. Here’s the video that you guys recorded – thank you so much!

Create a Client Testimonial Video

Now put all of this together in a client testimonial video.Yes, you’re going to share these on social media, but now you’re going to create a very specific video that is just client testimonials. When are you going to use this? Before a listing appointment, anytime somebody reaches out to you, or when a new lead comes in. You can say, “Hey! I’m going to be reaching out to you. Here’s what it’s like to work with me. Here’s what other people have said.”

You can say all day long, “Look, my clients love me. They think I’m great, blah blah blah.” Everybody’s going to go, yeah, of course you say that, cause nobody’s going to say they’re kind of shady. But if somebody’s on video saying, “Hey, Travis is AMAZING. You know, he’s incredible to work with. He really took care of us through the entire process” do you think that’s going to go a long way in making a powerful impact on any lead that you’re trying to convert into a client? 100%.

And do you think most of your competitors have this? Absolutely not! It’s worth the investment. Make the investment. Have a videographer there and get those testimonial videos. Have them invite their friends. Get people having a great time, and I promise you, you will do client parties multiple times per year. You’ll have success with it. You’re going to love it. Clients are going to love it. You’re going to get repeat business. You’re going to get referrals from it. And you’re going to call me or you’re going to email me and you’re going to thank me. You’re going to say, “Travis, THANK YOU so much for making me do this, because it’s changed my business.

Now, I’m curious, in the comments below, let me know:

Do you do client appreciation parties?

What kind of parties do you do? Do you do something around an existing event? Do you do intimate ones, big blowouts? Do you do it around a holiday?

I bet there’s a lot of different ideas that you guys have that you’ve seen work and that you can share with each other so you can get other ideas. Share it in the comments below.

If you like this video, do me a favor, make sure you share it on social media, make sure you like the video, and make sure you subscribe for more of these, because we’re releasing these all the time. And I’m here to serve you and to help you.

In the meantime, you guys, do not settle for anything less than you deserve. If you believe in yourself HALF as much as I believe in you, you’ve got an amazing business, amazing life ahead of you, and I’m so honored and grateful to be a part of it.

Thank you and I’ll see you in the next video!

About the Author

  • Jeanne C. Olson

    One of my best client events – I invited 6 couples to dinner and told them I would pick them up. What they didn’t know was that I was picking all of them up in a limo. They got to know one another as we drove for an hour to a nice restaurant right next to a casino. After dinner I gave each couple 100 – $1 bills and we went over to the casino for the rest of the evening. I did this 22 years ago; and they still talk about it.

    • This is a great idea, Jeanne! Client events don’t have to be big blowout events to be successful. Sometimes intimate events work better if they’re done well.

  • Thanks for this, Travis. This hit me at the right moment (I almost never watch videos online) and there were some great takeaways. Thank you!

    • You’re welcome, Renee! Glad it hit at the right time. Out of curiosity, why don’t you usually watch videos online? I really want to know.

      • Happy to provide insight, but that’s a longer response than would be appropriate for here 🙂

  • Michelle Posey

    Thanks for the video! Yes, I have done client appreciation party. My best one yet was at a restaurant, private room (Brazilian steakhouse) lunch time (on a Sunday-better pricing!) Had my top 50 quality clients there, including my manager/broker. Gave them a bottle of wine to take home with my wine labels that I made which was a picture of the front of their house, date purchased and their name, along with my favorite Holiday songs on a CD. They were all so appreciative and blown away. Pretty cool to hear them telling each other how they met me and how much they love me! Now every time one of them go to that restaurant, they send me a pic or a text.. You are SO right about videographer!! I gave a speech and thanked each one for their support and ongoing referrals. Another was a low key, come and go happy hour. Much less informal and cheaper! But still meaningful. I did a fall festival for my community this past October which was awesome! I would love some other ideas for client appreciation parties as well as questions to provide videographer for testimonials.

    • What great ideas, Michelle! I noticed you saw Keith’s post below. He’s great at this stuff.

  • Keith Roy

    Here is a video that we did on our last client appreciation party just last weekend. Its VERY Canadian. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-GN-9ZxBFE&feature=youtu.be

    • Michelle Posey

      Awesome Keith! Thanks for sharing. Did you have a videographer do this whole thing? I like the graphics too. Nicely done
      And I like that you included people that are in your network (stager, inspector)!

    • Thanks for sharing, Keith! This is a great video. And yes…very Canadian! But that’s why we love ya.

  • Martha Hernandez

    Does anyone who has hosted a client appreciation party have a sample invitation they could share ? I am planning one in December and am planning on having a balloon artist for the children, a video person and am going to base it on a chocolate party with appetizers in a local restaurant that I go to and have actually given several of my clients gift cards for and ALL loved the place.

  • Cheri Wellman

    I saw your video just in time! On Christmas day 2016 I sent out “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Save the Date” for a Client Appreciation party at the end of January. I sent the emails to about 14 favorite couples/past clients. A few already RSVP’d that they look forward to it. I am having it at my home in the evening, and was also thinking of inviting a few favorite service providers so they could network. Love the idea of a photographer and videographer for client testimonials. Most folks won’t know each other….what are some good ice breaker ideas I could use?