Scones, food trucks and agent exclusives: new open house imperatives

Make your open house more memorable than a New Year’s Eve extravaganza with these creative ideas.

Choose a theme
Not only does centering your open house around a theme make hosting a blast, it also provides a framework to work within. Showcasing an English Tudor? How about serving some buttery scones with various English teas?

Food on wheels
People love food, so why not feed them? For a serious “wow factor,” hire a food truck to help bring the party to you. You'll have the whole neighborhood buzzing about the newest house on the market.

Go live
Many potential buyers may want to explore moving to the neighborhood but are unable to attend the open house due to previous commitments. Help them out and go live on Facebook to allow those prospects to visit on social media.

Do digital
Ask attendees for their email addresses in addition to handing out your business cards. This turns contacts into guaranteed connections rather than leads that will disappear once they walk out the door.

Team local
Reach out to a nearby coffee shop, bakery or restaurant to cater your open house. By involving a local business, you highlight the value of the community surrounding the home, and the business may allow you to post fliers for the event in their windows. 

Be present in the moment this holiday season

Maybe that house you hope to close before the holidays is still up in the air, and you expect a call any minute. Whatever pulls at you this holiday season, don't let your phone keep you from being present with your friends and family members. Of course, your real estate business is your ongoing priority, but when the important moments that shape your relationships occur, be present.

You may be think, “I can't do that, I'll miss an important call or an important opportunity!” But, there's nothing to fear. These pressures will disappear with the right mindset and a little time management.

This season, ditch your phone occasionally and reap the benefits:

  1. Get ahead in your work. When the holidays hit and you want to focus on your loved ones, knowing you have planned ahead will provide peace of mind.
  2. Be transparent with your clients. Let them know when you will be unavailable. This may help move timelines ahead and prevent emergency phone calls and last-minute scrambles.
  3. Turn your phone off. This might be a terrifying proposition, but you'll be able to truly tune into your family time.
  4. Disable your social media and email notifications for a few hours. This way, you'll remove the temptation to update your status or view an email that might stress you out. Enjoy these special moments as they unfold before you without pressuring yourself to capture and share them.
  5. Discuss your work successes and struggles with supportive family and friends. This will relieve personal and social pressures and help you unwind while creating natural conversation.

Save “tacky” for Christmas sweaters: How to navigate the holiday networking scene tastefully

Between glasses of eggnog and sugar cookies, fancy clothing and champagne, the holiday season offers a wealth of networking opportunities. But, striking the delicate balance between personal and professional during the festivities can be downright overwhelming.

Maybe you err on the side of being discouraged by all of the invites. Perhaps you often find yourself in the midst of tacky self-promotion when you should be joining in the caroling.

Follow these guidelines to tastefully connect with your audience this season, from friends to future clients.

Remember, networking with a self-promotional mindset will get you nowhere. Craft a story for your listener that illustrates how your job solves their problems.

According to Forbes magazine, our best mindset when engaging an audience is to remember that it's not about you. Rather than highlighting your achievements and prowess, share how your work adds value to the community and brings solutions to the table.

If you have several clients who have invited you to their holiday parties, be strategic about which invites to accept. Ideally, you'll make an appearance at each one. If you are stretched too thin, even spending a short amount of time at an event is better than declining the invite all together.

Listen, you might have a good follow-up story you want to share, but don’t interrupt before others are finished telling theirs. You never know what you might learn. On the flip side, be generous with the knowledge that you do have. This establishes your credibility. Exchanging business cards at the close of a conversation is a subtle way to remain in touch without being pushy.

Whether you’re at a client’s party, a networking event or an industry gathering, be clear and concise about your vision and what you do. A rambling, vague overview of your career wastes your time as well as your listener's time.

A savvy networker will be ready to network anywhere at anytime. If you feel your listener is interested in learning more about what you do and are engaging in the topic, don’t be shy. You never know how you could help them or with whom they may put you in touch.

You don’t have to be “on” all the time. From a gift exchange with childhood friends to a holiday dinner with your extended family, remember to cherish the fellowship and focus on being present in the moment.