While the weather doesn’t seem to think so, the holiday season is upon us once more.
Odds are, your childhood memories of this time of year involve a bit more snow and chillier temperatures than the 2015 version. In fact, your youthful holiday wish lists probably differed a bit from your current ones as well.
If you’re no longer in the market for model trains, a fun new doll, or the latest video game, perhaps some tools of the trade are exactly what you’d like to find under some wrapping paper and bows.
“Going into this time of the year, a really cool thing for agents to walk around in are Swims boots,” Ari J. LeFauve, managing director of Town Residential’s SoHo and Gramercy divisions told Brokers Weekly. “They’re full on waterproof boots but they look like dress shoes.”
LeFauve’s first selection is a practical one which erases the need for brokers to sacrifice quality dress footwear because of bad weather. It also allows them to look professional even when they’re being sensible.
But LeFauve admits that when it comes to making a lasting impression, practicality is not the only virtue worth pursuing.
LeFauve says that a customized iPad case is also on his wish list, in particular a leather, engraved case with his initials monogramed onto it. Along those lines, he’d also be interested in a monogramed portfolio folder, or a customized business card holder.
While these gifts might not be as fun as the latest gadget, they can help a broker give off a more established and professional air.
“It just shows that there’s oversight and care and attention to detail,” said LeFauve.
“Clients are inclined to see that there is attention to detail when they’re working with you.”
Shifting back towards winter-ready fashion, LaFauve also suggested that brokers who are asked what they’d like to receive from friends and family take an opportunity to reinforce their wardrobe.
“Pants and suits that have an additional layer of a warm fleece liner in them are very useful this time of year,” he said.
He also suggests bulking up on pocket squares and tortoise shell glasses.
One of the other customized items that LeFauve suggested was a tape measure to use during showings and when scoping out a new property.
Robert Gross, real estate broker at Douglas Elliman, once had a client do him one better. Gross told Brokers Weekly that he was representing the potential buyer of a property around the holidays recently. When the seller’s rep got the square footage of the home wrong, it threw a delay in the proceedings.
As a friendly gesture, Gross’s client purchased him a laser measuring tool.
Fellow Douglas Elliman salespeople, Nadia Bartolucci and Rachel Altschuler, who make up a team that focuses on Manhattan and Brooklyn, joked that what they’d really like to find in their metaphorical stockings is “more referrals.”
But both also agree with LeFauve and feel that bulking up on warm but sharp looking clothing is always a wise idea this time of year.
“We’re out in the elements so I’d say a Canada Goose jacket,” said Altschuler.
“Booties are great. I love booties because they help respect the seller,” said Bartolucci who said that she can never have enough handy this time of year. She likes to slip them on when visiting a client’s home.
Both women also said that stocking up the pantry is another great way to show that special broker in your life you care.
“For me, it would be anything food-related because we never get to eat. We literally miss breakfast and lunch all of the time,” said Altschuler, who says that the team’s busy schedule means planning meals can be hard.
“Something that Rachel and I do is we like to get clients gifts for the home (that they purchase),” Batrolucci said. “Some brokers will get cases of wines or food platters. What we really like to do is get them something that they will remember.”
The team picks up the gifts at a small shop in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, which is owned by Altschuler’s husband. It’s called Cook and Craft.
“Once we’ve been working for a buyer for a few months, we start to understand what they know, what they love. We go to the store and get a gift that’s thoughtful,” said Bartolucci.
“It’s usually something they’ve never heard of and it’s usually a home-run. They’re talking about it constantly at dinner parties because of how unique and thoughtful it is.ˮ
While this time of the year is absolutely for enjoying leisure time with family and friends, it’s always smart to keep your profession in mind.
In a city where sales go to the most prepared broker, having as many tools at your disposal will help you be on top of the game.
So when it comes time to cash in those gift cards or make a wish list, perhaps reflect on what will help you wow your clientele.