In an increasingly digital world full of thumbs up, double taps and face-swapping filters people are feeling less and less like they belong.

While it is regularly cited as THE most primitive need we as humans crave, it’s also the one we’re losing touch with. Literally.

Recent research from the American Journal of Preventive Health found, “people who visited social media platforms most frequently, 58 visits per week or more, had more than three times the odds of perceived social isolation than those who visited fewer than nine times per week.”

In other words, your clients are craving interaction and a feeling of belonging whether you realize it or not.

Virtual hugs and high fives can only get you so far in the race to build your business. At some point you must slowly step away from the keyboard and make time for good old fashioned belly to belly relationship building.

Don’t believe me? Check the latest growth statistics for flat-fee real estate companies. Consumers are okay with you not being personable with them, they’re just NOT okay with paying more than 1% for it. If you want to consider yourself a full service broker with a full service commission payout, you must do what others won’t.

That means calling them on their birthday. Facebook messaging them you hope they enjoy their Anniversary getaway. And – most importantly – create opportunities for them to get face time with you in real life.

We are at crossroads in the real estate industry. Market centers are becoming cloud based. Apps can open doors for showings. Contracts can be completed via text. And consumers can buy a home sight unseen as easy as they can order takeout.

But guess what technology CAN’T do? It can’t share in a well deserved champagne toast after navigating a nightmarish option period. It can’t organize a bake sale to raise money for the local childrens’ shelter. It also can’t gather a group of local business owners to chat about the next Farmers Market entertainment while sipping a hearty stout brewed with pride at the local brewery.

And I’m sure you’re thinking, but of course my clients will remember me? Of course they’ll recommend me to their friends and family? Well, yes and no. Yes, they will say they will. No, they probably won’t actually use you again. According to the National Association of Realtors, 67% of homeowners say they would absolutely use the same Realtor again. The reality is that only 23% do. If you want to beat those dismal 23% odds, you must find ways to keep the relationship going after the sale.

Client Appreciation events are the last stronghold Realtors have against the technology onslaught that chips away at client loyalty. The smart Realtors who will survive this new chapter in the real estate industry are the ones who chose to do what technology can’t.

Celebrating and honoring your clients isn’t the only thing you can do better than an algorithm, but it is quite possibly the easiest.

Whether your have 0 clients or 100, a $50 or $5,000 budget, big city resources or a handful of mom and pop stores at your disposal – you can host an event that gets people talking, sharing and most importantly TOGETHER.

With the holidays around the corner, now is the perfect time to seize the opportunity. You can organize a winter craft market promoting local artisans, a Winter Wonderland family event with Santa photos or host a Great Thanksgiving Pie Giveaway.

Big or small, get out there and show your clients just how much you appreciate them. You owe it to your clients and yourself to keep the real in real estate.

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