In 2003 we began holding a client appreciation get-together. Our first one was at an Orchard called Eckert's in nearby Millstatdt, ILL. What a blast! We reserved a bonfire site bought a bunch of hot dogs, coffee, lemonade, and treats. Plus a personalized Halloween Trick or Treat for the kids. Eckert's provided a nice bonfire and roasting sticks so everyone could cook a hot dog. With each guest attendance ticket a cool haunted hay ride was included. there was so much for the families to do, if they got there early enough they could go out and pick pumpkins, they have all kinds of free things for the kids too. Like the Clubhouse, huge slides, trike riding, tractor pulls, just a lot to do. Our first year we had 70 guests. We also received 2 referrals that evening that went to escrow. We received 4 more in the following days of which 3 went into escrow.
In 2004 we had over 100 guests and served almost 200 hot dogs 10 gallons of coffee and 10 gallons of lemonade and hot chocolate. At that event we allowed guests to bring a friend/neighbor. We actually closed 9 transactions from that event.
Our Halloween Hay Ride changed a little in 2005. We moved it closer to our market area and held it in the daytime. We had great weather and plenty for everyone to do. Our attendees dramatically reduced to around 65 and our referrals directly related to the event went down to 4. I'm not sure why we had such a huge difference. Maybe because it was just a regular old hay ride in the daytime, maybe because we didn't have a bonfire, or maybe because we cooked all the dogs earlier in the day, I don't know but I can assure you that we will be scheduling this years event at Eckert's again.
During 2004 we added a Easter Egg Hunt along with pictures of Attendees children with the Easter Bunny We also provided a nice lunch. We divided the egg hunting area into 4 different age groups with a golden egg in each area that won the founder a special gift. Each egg contained a surprise of candy or a gift. We were pleasantly surprised with 90 attendees and an amazing 10 referrals with 7 going into escrow.
In 2005 we added children's crafts to the event. With a total of 12 referrals 9 going to escrow.
Our plans for 2007 include a few more changes including a nice door prize for one of the parents. We may even do a easter Egg Hunting section for them this year with a golden egg.
I'd appreciate hearing about how you're securing referrals from your customer base.
Frank J. Helderle
"WE ALWAYS HAVE TIME FOR YOUR REFERRALS"