The 5-Step Recipe for a Perfect Pie Day
*See our note below on rewarding referrals.
“Cut my pie into four pieces, I don’t think I could eat eight.”– Yogi Berra
I recently caught up with Laura Gillott. Laura’s team is based in Lebanon, Oregon, a town of about 17,000. Nevertheless, her team sold 552 homes for $196M in volume this past year. For 30 years, Laura has been serving her corner of the Willamette Valley and a huge part of her team’s success comes from client events. They host about two per month, anchored around the biannual Pie Days for Thanksgiving and Independence Day. This year she gave out over 1,000 pies and received 65 referrals!
She was kind enough to share her recipe for Pie Day success. Trust me, you’ll want a slice of this!
Step One – Take Pie Reservations
Whether you’re hosting for Thanksgiving, Independence Day, or another occasion (Pi Day, anyone?), you’ll want to fire up the process for your event a month ahead of time. Start by letting your past clients know that they need to reserve a pie.
Laura emails and calls her past client list of about 2,800. Your goals are to get everyone to choose their pie, extract some referrals from the RSVP process, and block their calendar for pick-up day.
They use this Google form for tracking. While many teams offer a choice of pie, Laura keeps it simple. She offers pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and apple pie for the Fourth of July. If you want to offer choices, make that a part of your RSVP. (I know I’m partial to pecan pie this time of year.)
Notice, they offer a can of whipped cream for anyone who can “Whip up a referral!” This is something to highlight in every communication if you want the best ROI. *One of our readers pointed out that they wouldn’t feel comfortable giving out even a can of whipped cream for a referral because of RESPA. Before you start rewarding referrals with anything of monetary value, please check with your broker to make sure you’re complying with RESPA guidelines.
Step Two – Secure the Pies
Once you have a handle on how many pies you’ll need, work with a local bakery to secure your pies well in advance. Laura tries to keep the costs around $6 a pie. She was able to get pumpkin pies from Costco at that cost, but had to work with a local bakery for apple pies.
Even if you’re unable to keep costs this low, don’t get discouraged. Keep your budget in mind and see if you can negotiate with vendors where possible.
Step Three – Dole Out the Pies
Host your Pie Day two to three days before the holiday. Make sure your team is ready to staff the event, so all of your guests can be greeted personally. The goal of Pie Day is to have conversations that can lead to referrals or other opportunities for your business to deliver value. So whether you set up at your home, the office, or another location, create an atmosphere where people want to hang around. Print your RSVP list and make sure you track your pickups.
Laura advises to expect about 10% to forget to pick up their pie and another 10% to show up for a pie they failed to reserve. (Caution: the 10% showing up for a pie without a RSVP may be a product of how many years Laura’s been doing this.)
Pro tip: Have some extra whipped cream on hand, so you can ask everyone to “whip up a referral” at pick-up!
Step Four – Clear the Table
After arranging late pick-ups and drop-offs, you’ll probably have a few dozen pies on your hands. While our teenage son is a strong proponent for storing them in the deep freeze for year-round midnight snacks, you can also donate them to an area soup kitchen.
Step Five – Follow Up to Get Your Just Desserts
After the event is over and the crumbs are clear, it’s time for the most important part of your lead generation: Follow up.
At the end of her Thanksgiving 2022 Pie Day, Laura had the following opportunities for follow up:
- 65 referrals,
- 31 clients had current real estate needs,
- 66 clients requested home valuations, and
- 35 expressed interest in classes around buying, selling, investing, or a career in real estate!
You can see why Laura’s unofficial motto is “In pie we crust!” As far as client events, Pie Day will never dessert you!
One question to ponder in your thinking time: How can I leverage client events to supercharge my referrals in 2023?
Make an Impact!
Co-author of The One Thing & The Millionaire Real Estate Agent
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