When it comes to your clients, it’s never a bad idea to express appreciation for their business and the relationship you have built with them. Many financial advisors send holiday gifts to their clients as a retention measure and to elicit referrals. Gifting can also highlight your firm’s identity and values.
One advisor I know contracted a local spice company to create a signature spice blend. This advisor was a big foodie, so it was a great way to share his personality and connect with clients on a personal level. Another advisor ordered handmade confections from the local bakery and ended up getting the baker as a client. Think about that: client gifts can be an opportunity to make connections in your community.
If you’re the type of person who thinks outside the (gift) box, get creative for a truly memorable gift. Is your state known for their apples (looking at you, Washington) or delicious peaches (hello, Georgia)? Send your client a fruit gift box from an orchard or upscale grocer. If you’re dropping in on your client at work, bring a box of cupcakes with your company logo on them. You KNOW those will get passed around the office and who knows—a teammate might be looking for a financial advisor.
When you brand the gift with your firm’s logo, your clients will be reminded of you every time they use the item. Of course, the best branded gifts are those that are non-perishable and get used often. Case in point: people look at their phones multiple times per day. Add your company logo to a cell phone wallet or a popsocket to take advantage of this valuable back-of-phone real estate. There are so many useful things you can put your name on: blankets, water bottles, notebooks, cutting boards, coffee mugs, etc.
Timing is Everything
Most advisors send client-appreciation gifts during the holiday season between November and January, but maybe you want to stand out from the crowd. Being acknowledged on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day can make a sweet impression on clients who are parents. How about a gift for an offbeat holiday such as National Donut Day or National Dog Day? Did your clients just buy a new house? Send a perennial or custom return-address labels. Did they have a baby? Send a classic children’s book and don’t forget to inscribe it. Did your client start a new job? Send a gift card to a restaurant near their new office. Maybe they recently retired? Think about what your client was looking forward to in retirement — maybe picking up a new hobby or doing more traveling. You can treat them to a book about woodworking or a travel guide to Italy.
Just as there are many happy events in your clients’ lives to acknowledge, there will be sad occasions to mark as well. Don’t make the mistake of not reaching out when your client is going through a difficult time. Whether they have experienced the loss of a loved one, a divorce, a lay off, etc., this is a great opportunity to reach out to your client and let them know you’re thinking of them. It may not be appropriate to send a gift, but at least pick up the phone or write them a note expressing your regards.
20 Gift Ideas Under $100
We’ve organized some of our favorite client gifts below. Note that your company may have a spending limit on gifts and, in this industry, there are regulations to follow. Rules vary by state and by country, so be sure you are compliant. Bonus: if you order in bulk, there may be a cost savings.
Brandable gifts. Gift-giving is a marketing expense so take the opportunity to get your name out there and in the hands of your biggest advocates, your happy clients.
1. Charcuterie board; it’s sure to come out when your clients are entertaining, therefore exposing your brand to their friends.
2. Bleacher cushion for sports parents; find a cool one so all fans in the stands take notice.
3. Digital picture frame for their desk at the office; for that extra wow factor, pre-load it with some special photos from their social profiles.
4. Snuggie; it’s just quirky enough to be memorable, yet it’s also a go-to item when your clients are relaxed and comfortable—a great time to remind them of you!
5. Paring knife; the most-used item in any kitchen.
6. A plant in a stylish pot to represent life and health.
7. Classic board games; the beauty behind this gift in a nice wood box is it’s the type of item your clients will hang onto for life.
8. Drink glasses; these are available in every size and shape, so choose a style that’s sure to be their go-to whenever they open the cupboard.
One-and-done. For clients who are at a stage in life when they’re downsizing, they may most appreciate something they can enjoy without adding clutter to their home or office.
9. Gift basket; there’s no shortage of companies online bundling specialty items into attractive packages at nearly every price point.
10. Liquor or wine; take note in your CRM if your clients drink and what they enjoy.
11. Edible arrangements are very “instagrammable”, making them a marketing opportunity.
12. Massage; you can’t go wrong when your clients associate you with feeling pampered.
13. Gift cards can seem impersonal, so do your research to hit the right note; a butcher shop for a grilling enthusiast or a coffee drive-thru if you’re familiar with your client’s commute to work. Serving far-away clients virtually? An Amazon card or a pre-loaded VISA may be the best bet if you’re not sure what’s available in their area.
14. Charitable donation; if they’re especially passionate about a cause, your donation will be much appreciated. Following your clients on social media will help you discover causes of interest. If they’ve lost a loved one to a particular illness, your donation to a related charity will be touching to say the least.
15. Full-service car wash or auto detailing; everyone loves a clean car, but no one loves the chore.
Bonding gifts. If strengthening the relationship is your biggest priority, treat them to an outing with you.
16. Round of golf; this is time well-spent with prospects too.
17. Professional sporting event; invest in season tickets if you have enough clients to fill the schedule.
18. Charity event; supporting a worthy cause while making a good impression = win/win.
19. Concert or theater tickets; ticket prices are steadily going up, making show tickets an especially nice treat.
20. Dinner at the hot new restaurant in town; keep an eye on the dining scene, make connections, and make reservations.
Do you work somewhere that gets a lot of foot traffic? Are there situations in which you might run into someone in your professional network, like a local CPA or estate attorney? It’s handy (especially around the holidays) to keep a few generic, pre-wrapped gifts on hand. A small box of chocolates, a scented candle, or a picture frame have wide appeal. You’ll never be caught off guard if someone pops in with a gift for you.
Besides gift giving, there are other ways to make your client feel special. Make note of the personal details they share about themselves and record them in your CRM. You can add the names of their kids, if they have pets, or their favorite sports team, just to name a few. Next time your client calls, pop open your CRM and ask them about the last big game or how their kids are doing.
Has your client been working with you for 1,5,10,15 years? Let them know how much you’ve enjoyed working with them over the years. Acknowledge long-standing client relationships with a handwritten card expressing your appreciation. It’s timeless, classy, and budget-friendly! A small act of kindness can have a major impact on your client’s impression of you and will undoubtedly increase the likelihood of continued business and referrals.