Giving Gifts to Clients
How to Turn First Impressions into Lasting Impressions
Who should listen: Anyone who wants some sound advice for giving gifts to clients, including ideas for making your gifts exceptionally memorable.
Key idea: Best-in-class service suggests giving best-in-class gifts. Your gifts don’t need to be expensive; however, they need to be the best of whatever they are.
Action item: In the coming year, use the “planned randomness” strategy for gift giving.
Holiday gift giving was never meant to be the stress-filled sport that it’s become. The pressure we feel to find the perfect gifts for everyone on our list can make the holidays feel overwhelming—and the dread we experience seems to begin earlier every year. This pressure can feel particularly heavy when you’re searching for gifts for clients.
This week, we’re here to help relieve that pressure, and we start by ditching the idea of needing to please everyone.
As we mention during this week’s Silver Dollar episode, hitting 3 out of 10 baseballs gives a player a .300 average—and teams are willing to pay millions of dollars for a player with that kind of skill. If you only hit it out of the park with 3 out of 10 gifts for your clients, you’re doing great!
Even though perfection is not our goal, we’ve got some thoughts about gift giving that will ensure your gifts are happily received and memorable. We talk about how spending an appropriate amount on gifts, supporting local businesses, avoiding self-promotion, and a few additional ideas. We also share some insights we’ve collected about the gift-giving process that we review below.
It’s our goal that, by the end of the episode, you look at the experience of selecting and giving gifts to clients in a new, less stressful, and more meaningful way.
The secret to memorable gifts for clients
When you give a gift to a client, you’re essentially showing them that you appreciate their trust and willingness to do business with you. If you remember that, then it becomes easier to understand why you want your clients to feel like one in a million rather than one of a million. If you can make someone feel special, you’re far more likely to be remembered by them.
The best gifts for clients delight more than the client
When selecting a gift for your clients, consider giving something that will be enjoyed not just by them but also by their families. Gifts that can be enjoyed by spouses, children, and even friends allow you to connect with more than just your primary recipient.
Selecting a gift with wide appeal is easier when you have a relationship with your clients and know some detailed information about them. Consult your database for details about your top 20–50 clients. What notes do you have about your clients’ families that you can use to help inform your choice of gifts?
When you send their gift, be sure to include a note that explains why you selected it. They’ll be super impressed that you remembered details about them.
Unexpected gifts leave the biggest impression
Thanksgiving gifts for clients as well as New Year’s gifts for clients aren’t as expected as Hanukkah or Christmas presents for clients. By definition, the unexpected is a surprise, and we tend to remember surprises. But have you ever thought about taking the unexpected a step further?
Beyond the holiday gift-giving season, how about having a box of donuts delivered to clients on National Donut Day? (It’s celebrated every first Friday in June.)
Or sending bulk client gifts such as dog and cat treats to the pet parents in your database on National Pet Day (April 11)?
Or making a phone call just to check in and say hi on Alexander Graham Bell Day (March 7)?
Kim Angeli, CEO and founder of Grateful Box, Inc., promotes gratitude as a way of growing your business—and you don’t need to wait for the holidays to show gratitude or build your business!
Consider practicing “planned randomness”—select those occasions or random days when you plan to send just a little something to let your clients know you’re thinking of them. You’ll stand out, and we guarantee you’ll make someone’s day.
Make it personal
Dale Carnegie said, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language,” and it’s what makes personalized gifts for clients especially meaningful.
Finding a run-of-the-mill tree ornament or coffee mug with a client’s name on it isn’t what we have in mind. An elite travel mug engraved with a client’s name is going to leave a far better impression. And, while you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a gift, you want to make it the best gift of that type to represent your best-in-class service.
Personalized gifts can include embroidered luxury bathrobes and towels, embossed leather portfolios and wallets, and engraved stemware, pens, and wine chillers—you can put your clients’ names on just about anything, as long as it’s a quality item.
Give something of yourself
Dr. Mark Williams, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at Macquarie University, reports that giving gifts “reinforce[s] bonds and relationships between people.” We suggest you can make those bonds between yourself and your clients even stronger by giving clients gifts that are personal to you. It’s a twist on the personal that not many people think of, but that can have an equally special and memorable effect because it’s about sharing something of yourself with others.
You can give a gift card to your favorite local restaurant, but, be sure to explain in a note why it’s your favorite and that you wanted to share your enjoyment with your clients. You might even consider recommending your favorite dish. A bonus to this gift is you’re also helping local businesses.
Food gifts for clients are a popular choice, but you can make your gift baskets more meaningful by selecting specialty foods that you’ve enjoyed. You could select your favorite cheeses, wines, chocolates, or anything you love that can be wrapped and delivered. But again, it’s important to explain the significance of your choices to your clients.
In a similar vein, maybe you have a favorite book, movie, spa, car detailer, auto repair shop (we all need to change the oil!), or some other favorite thing. Sharing something that reveals a bit about yourself will strengthen your relationships.
Gift giving doesn’t necessarily stop with your clients. You can use all these same principles when considering gift ideas for business associates, vendors, your employees, and anybody else to whom you want to show your gratitude.
Please enjoy this episode, and we’d appreciate it if you would give us a 5-star rating and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. (Not sure how to leave a review? Click here.)
Connect | Resources
- Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention by John Ruhlin
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- 243: How to Master Relationship Marketing (with Glennda Baker)
- 81: Increase Your Income with Gratitude (with Kim Angeli)
- 145: How Will Penney and His Team Sold 251 Homes Last Year From Referrals and Reviews
- 77: These 20 People Will Take You to the Next Level with Sean Carpenter
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