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Here on the shores of Nantucket Sound, winter is anything but dreary. Yes, the days become colder and darker, but that just means the homes, shops, and streets of Cape Cod shine warmer and brighter — and so do the spirits of the people who call this place home.
As a real estate agent, this festive atmosphere carries a special significance, because for years it’s been my job to help build this community. So when the holidays come to the village of Osterville, I’m not just appreciating the neighborhoods, but the neighbors themselves. Because they’re my former buyers, I personally know many of the individuals and families who live in these homes.
I’m sure most luxury agents share this sentiment. We work intimately with our clients, from the moment they start viewing and vetting properties to the moment the sale finally closes — and after that, we continue to support them as trusted advisors on all real estate matters. So when the holidays arrive, it’s essential to take time to honor and nurture these relationships. Here are my thoughts on how to do that.
A holiday gift is an agent’s expression of gratitude
Giving holiday gifts to my clients has been part of my real estate practice since the beginning. Of course, it’s good for business — if I show my clients that I remember them, they’ll remember me — but that’s not the purpose of gift-giving. As agents, we’re doing it because we’re thankful they placed their trust in us when purchasing a home.
For this reason, gift-giving isn’t part of the prospecting process. I don’t buy presents for people I’m hoping to work with in the future. Instead, I focus solely on those who I have worked with in the past, or who I’m working with at present.
And, above all, I strive to make sure that the gifts I give are memorable. This demonstrates genuine thoughtfulness and means that your name will be top-of-mind when your former clients are once again considering working with an agent.
Three ideas for selecting gifts that have an impact
Over the years, I’ve cultivated something of a reputation, both among clients and colleagues, as a pretty good gift-giver. I prize locality, practicality, and originality in order to choose authentic and delightful presents. Here are three tips I like to share with other agents.
1. Get involved with — and inspired by — your local businesses
Coming up with ideas is the fun part. I start by choosing from the unique items offered by local businesses here in Osterville. As an agent, it’s crucial to always be building stronger relationships with your community; it helps you sell your area and expands your referral network.
Having lived in the area for more than a decade, I enjoy being an organizer for local events and am also a member of the Steering Committee for the Osterville Business and Professional Association. This has helped my business in so many ways, and I would encourage all agents to be both patrons and champions of their local entrepreneurs.
2. Consider gifting experiences to enjoy, instead of items to keep
As luxury agents, our clients often have plenty of material possessions. Before giving them items that may end up collecting dust, consider a more ephemeral present.
Food is one of my go-to gifts. I might give a client a quart of chocolate chip or ginger snap cookie dough from AMIE Bakery, because who doesn’t love homemade cookies? Or I’ll bring them ingredients from Midnight Our, a business that sells fresh-caught sea scallops straight from its boat at the pier and present them alongside one of my favorite recipes.
3. The most memorable presents are often the most personalized
If you do want to give your clients a keepsake to cherish, make sure it matters. This year, I’ve taken family photos of my clients and ordered customized Wentworth puzzles from London, finely cut and crafted from solid wood. This way, it’s both a treasured memento and an experience — my clients can enjoy an evening with the family, putting their puzzles together.
The holidays aren’t the only time to say thank you
While it’s wonderful to remember clients on the holidays, I think random acts of kindness and thoughtfulness go the farthest. In luxury real estate, we know how to pay attention, anticipate wishes, and provide exactly what our clients need, right when they need it. Those are the skills we’re always honing, whether during the holidays or any other time of the year.
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Ellen Valentgas has resided in Osterville village for over a decade and is in the top 2% of agents on Cape Cod. She mixes her landscape and design background with her passion for homes through her renovation and construction projects throughout the area. Her creative vision and ability to connect homeowners to quality tradespeople are instrumental in guiding her luxury clientele toward personalizing their homes. Whether selling, buying, renting, or renovating, Ellen’s vision, experience, and perspective combine to deliver uniquely crafted successful outcomes to her clients.