The Best Gifts for Your Agents

With the holidays quickly approaching, glean some ideas on how to show gratitude to your agents and staff for a job well done.

November 23, 2016

Real estate agencies across the country offer all sorts of incentives and rewards for their agents; some are sales-related and others are just to say thanks. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are examples of what other brokers do.

(May 2017 Update: Members’ Gift Galleria, mentioned below, is no longer available through the REALTOR Benefits® Program. For questions, please call NAR’s REALTOR Benefits® Help Line at 800-627-5233.)

Family Feud Fun     

Susan Clark, vice president of residential sales at P.J. Morgan Real Estate in Omaha, Neb., says her company integrates agents from the residential, commercial, and property management arms of the business. They have 13 core values, and they build events around those each month.

For instance, one of those values is: “Think like a Business, Act Like a Family.” What better way to express that than a night of “Family Feud”? Managers and staff sent around questions ahead of time to gather everyone’s answers and set up a potluck, where everyone brings their favorite family recipe. Plus, participants set up a baby photo challenge to guess who’s who.

Another core value is “Enrich the Community We Love and Live In.” Clark says they recently hosted a chili cook-off, and the winner chose the charity that the brokerage will sponsor throughout the year both financially and through volunteer hours.

The company also gives out “Morgan Money” (which mimics Monopoly money) throughout the month for things that agents and staff are doing well. They earn the money for attending meetings, participating in community events, and volunteering to do something above and beyond the norm. The agents can spend it on PJ Morgan promotional items such as hats and jackets for themselves, or they can buy items to give to clients, like mugs and koozies.

Clark says her company also uses its blog to showcase individual agents’ thoughts once a week. It gives them the opportunity to have fun or to educate readers about some aspect of real estate. One agent wrote about staging a home for the fall; another talked about how important it is to have a good real estate agent while going through a divorce.

For this year’s holiday party, P.J. Morgan Real Estate will be changing up its routine sit-down dinner event. Instead, agents can invite a certain number of people in their sphere, including clients. They’ll offer cocktails, heavy hors d’ouevres, and lots of mingling.

“We are just trying to make sure that our agents feel a bond, commitment, and loyalty from us,” Clark says.

Educational and Fun Outings

Terry Records has moved many times across the country to all sorts of interesting places. She has worked for a variety of real estate companies, including some large ones with hundreds of agents that recognized top sellers with wining, dining, and fancy retreats.

“That was really fun, but everything has changed in the last 15 years. Commissions are skimpier, and some companies aren’t making as much money,” says Records, broker-owner of Records Results Real Estate in Cape Coral, Fla. But she tries to show her six agents gratitude by planning different outings – many with an historical or educational focus. For instance, the area where they live has many water canals, so Records rented a pontoon boat and took her agents on a tour to see properties from a different angle.

Records says she values learning and loves to offer seminars on everything from marketing techniques to business planning for agents and clients alike. She rents conference room space and conducts up to 70 seminars a year. She created a Meetup group called the Cape Coral Fort Myers Real Estate Education, which now has more than 600 members. It has become a way for agents to direct their clients to a resource that offers extra information about certain subjects. “Every day, someone new joins the group. My seminars are how I usually get my business,” she says.

But Records also likes to mix things up for her agents. Recently, Records and her husband took everyone out to dinner for Halloween and then on a spooky hike.

Customized Online Shopping

If broker-owners and managers want to offer a new incentive to agents or reward employees and staff for a job well done, NAR is offering something new: the Members’ Gift Galleria. It’s a private, customized online shopping destination for NAR members, with choices that offer big discounts and free shipping on orders over $100. All you have to do is create an account, and your staff or their family members can also shop the site.

To use as an incentive for agents or as a reward or special gift, you can purchase points that will then be gifted to that person’s account. “Once they create the account, it’s a full-blown shopping site with product categories and brands,” says Amanda Warren, marketing director at membermarketplace, which powers the galleria.

In terms of brands, the shopping site offers big names, from Samsung to Microsoft and Fitbit, covering luxury items to technology and home décor. There are laptops, watches, cameras, cell phones, home security, blenders, cookware, tools, and more. Register at membersgiftgalleria.com.
 


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Lee Nelson

Lee Nelson is a freelance journalist from the Chicago area. She has written for Yahoo! Homes, TravelNursing.org, MyMortgageInsider.com, and ChicagoStyle Weddings Magazine. She also writes a bi-monthly blog on Unigo.com. Contact Lee at leenelson77@yahoo.com.

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