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christmas decorations

The holidays are a great excuse to host an awesome party. And who better to invite than your clients?
Client appreciation parties are a great way to network, showcase your successes and continue to nurture relationships that can bring you referrals down the road. Send out festive, paper invitations via snail mail to the clients you’ve closed deals with this year, those you are currently working with, and anyone you hope to work with in the near future. Remember, the point of this event is to impress your clients and encourage them to refer you to their friends and relatives, so keep it classy!

Although you can always go more casual with this type of event, it’s always a good idea to make your client appreciation party semi-formal. Host your party at a nice, local and popular bar or restaurant. Decorate to make it feel festive, but don’t break the bank or get overwhelmed doing so. Spend an hour tops getting the space in the holiday spirit—that is if the restaurant/bar hasn’t already done so. Also make sure to have a guest book at the door, asking for names, mailing addresses and comments. This way, even if you already have their addresses, you can ensure you have the correct ones when you send your guests thank you cards post-party.

Make sure there are finger foods and complimentary cocktails during the two or three hours for which your party is scheduled. You can have the restaurant/bar provide the food, or bring some delectables yourself. Make bite-size caramel apples by taking a melon baller to an apple, then dipping in caramel. You can also put juice, soda, lemonade and water into mason jars to give your drinks a personal touch. Also, since it’s a holiday party, have some seasonal goodies in your spread. Offer mugs of hot chocolate or peppermint mochas with chocolate-dipped spoons.

Another great idea is to take photos of your guests during the party. Make sure to have a designated friend as a photographer, or hire a professional one, and go around the room taking pictures of everyone with his/her date or of you and the attendee. These will make great inserts for the thank you notes you’ll send out a few days after the party. They’ll also be great to post on photo-based social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Have small party favors for clients to take on their way out. These should be home and holiday related and can include candy canes, a picture frame and key chain, or something similar. This will be a great way to stay on clients’ minds whenever they see your gift around their homes.

If you’re offering valet service at your party, leave water bottles with your name and brand on them (easily done with shipping or labeling stickers) in your clients’ cars. This is a great, unexpected final touch!

Overall, have fun. You want your clients to see you in a positive light, so the more social butterfly and less party manager, the better. Remember to get around and chat with everyone; you never know from where the next referral may come!

Have any other client appreciation party ideas? Please leave them in the comments box below!

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