As summer spins into fall, buyers start to get distracted by a flurry of back-to-school activities and deterred by cooler temps and petering curb appeal. How can you keep the crowds coming despite the changing season? The key to keeping up your commission advance (and pleasing your clients in the process) is switching up your marketing.

Host a Fall Festival

Remember those fall festivals of your youth? Potential buyers do too. Think bobbing for apples, pumpkin carving contests, a classic cake walk, face painting, pumpkin bowling and so on. Your venue can be your office, in which case you can put up pics and specs of all the homes you have in your portfolio, or an actual home for sale if the yard is big enough to accommodate the traffic and festive setup.

Use Recipes to Reconnect (It Might Even Lead to a Listing Advance)

Need some fresh fodder for your newsletter? Ditch traditional leaflets and mail out recipe cards instead. You can think thematically and offer delicious dishes for Halloween or Thanksgiving or connect with families by disclosing your grandma’s secret to pecan pie. Add your logo to the corner of the recipe card or use a postcard and add a message on the back. Either way, clients will think of you as they whip up those foolproof biscuits or Southern-style mashed potatoes.

Turn Your Next Open House into a Food or Clothing Drive

Chilly weather and the impending holidays cast a spotlight on the less unfortunate in our communities. No one should be without a warm winter coat or food for Thanksgiving, and there’s a great way you can support your neighbors while still staying on top of your real estate duties. When you advertise your next open house, add a line to the flyer that encourages canned food or clothing donations. Coordinate your effort with the local food pantry or shelter, make a list of what they really need, and detail that in a Facebook event. You’ll make a difference and maybe even make a sale at the same time.

Bring Oktoberfest Stateside and Juice Your Commission Advance

No, you don’t have to wear lederhosen; setting up a grill and treating buyers to a spread of sausages, sauerkraut and soft pretzels will deliver plenty of charm. Worried about the lack of beer? Hot apple cider, sparkling apple spritzers or even root beer (all served in signature Oktoberfest-style mugs, of course) will suit the theme and satisfy thirst just fine. Associating your brand/business with fun can be a major differentiator in a noisy market.

Use Social Media to Sponsor a Fall Contest

Encouraging interaction from your social media followers is a phenomenal way to boost both engagement and visibility. Take advantage of the season by tying in iconic autumn imagery and traditions with social contests. One solid idea (it works especially well on Instagram): Invite people to post pictures of fall leaves, backyard cookouts, block parties, the first day of school, Sunday football gatherings, apple picking, their kid’s Halloween costumes and everything else you can think of. Set up a custom hashtag for everyone to use and reward the winner with a gift card (which, by the way, gives you another opportunity to connect with local small business owners).

Scoring a commission advance requires sales, and to get sales you need to attract buyers. Unless you’re the only real estate agent in your area, you’re going to need a way to stand out, and creative marketing may just give you that edge. This fall, rev up your imagination and see what happens — that hefty listing advance may be closer than you think.