Giving gifts to clients - doing more than just closing gifts

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Catarra Real Estate, Inc CA BRE #01191946

One of the traditional gifts to give a client is the closing gift.  I've seen agents do everything from buy a home warranty to a gift basket.  The budget for such a gift seems to vary from client to client and the house price point.  Giving gifts is a nice, yet powerful way to engage clients.  For my business, we go way beyond just the closing gift.  Here's a list of all the situations where we gift closing gifts.

Initial meeting - After I meet with a client they're sent a special gift tailored just for them.  Usually a nice token of appreciation to say "Thanks for choosing me!".

After close of escrow - The classic gift!  All clients receive a gift after closing.  They'll soon be receiving a "Signature Service Card" which is a custom made gift box that includes their home key and a black metal card that gives them a variety of concierge and personal services.

Anniversary - On the anniversary of every closing, clients receive a small token of our appreciation.  This could be anything from a $25 gift card to a local store to a bottle of good wine.  The gift is tailored to the recipient.

Referrals - For every referral, the client receives a gift card and a note thanking them for their recognition and referral.  I want my clients to know I appreciate their remembering me.

Recommendations - For every client who fills our a recommendation, they receive a note of thanks along with a gift card or personalized gift.

Annual Party - All clients are invited to a hosted annual party that, to a degree, is also a gift because we're picking up the tab for all the food and drink. 

Just a word on personalization.  A gift has more meaning and indicates more thought when it's personal.  For example, when I met with a new client they mentioned wanting to visit a local restaurant so their "initial meeting gift" was a gift card for that restaurant.  Making it personal means I care and that's important to me and, I hope, to my clients.

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customer appreciation
customer service
client gifts

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Ambassador
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Tammy Lankford
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Your Lake Sinclair Expert (706-485-9668)

It's been a minute since we had an office pop by which I used to do a lot.  I think it's time.  I am thinking the weekend connected to Halloween with "treats" for the kids and refreshments for the adults.    I used to do this, but it's been a couple of years. 

Aug 18, 2012 12:29 PM #23
Rainer
47,428
Barbara Bartell
J. Philip Real Estate LLC - Briarcliff Manor, NY
Westchester County NY Rentals, Condos, Coops, Homes

Really like the fact that real estate agents are allowed to give small tokens of appreciation! And, I will definitely keep this list in mind! Great way to set your reminders to clients who may be referral sources of the future!  I was just wondering about this "gift giving" thing today when one of the couples I'm representing just had a baby yesterday and thought I should just send a nice card..but not sure more!  (My former business..headhunting..we got letters from corporations stating that we were NOT ALLOWED to give any gifts. All gifts would be returned and it would be noted that we did so!).  Of course, they allowed expensive lunches of course!

Aug 18, 2012 01:18 PM #24
Rainmaker
209,987
Ann Nguyen
Dickson Realty - Truckee, CA
Lake Tahoe Truckee Homes For Sale
Wow...I can see how you cultivate "clients for life"...some great ideas here.
Aug 18, 2012 01:18 PM #25
Rainmaker
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Robert (Bob) Gilbert
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties - Katy, TX
Your Katy TX Real Estate Expert

Bryan,

Congrats once again on another fetarured post and an excellent post it is. I like your idea but in Texas the State allows $25/ person per year as a gift. You can't do much that amount.

Aug 18, 2012 02:07 PM #26
Rainmaker
1,304,975
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner
BuyersAgentPortland.com | (503) 810-7192 Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% o... - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

I've done a lot of business and have cooled off on the "gifts."  While I may do something nice and special, it's not a concerted effort to curry their favor.  I've done my job and most of my transactions have saved my clients quite a bit of money.  They refer me because I'm a good agent and they realize that. 

Aug 18, 2012 02:11 PM #27
Rainmaker
515,462
Chris and Dick Dovorany
Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida - Naples, FL
Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty

Wow, our rule is to never give gifts.  Early in our career a very stupid agent (she really was) blasted me for not bringing a gift.  She had a smelly candle with a bow on it and thought these people would be friends.  My standard comment when it comes to gifts and also the same comment applies to late night telephone calls is "do you buy your                   a gift when he/she does your taxes?"  Fill in accountant, dentist, lawyer or whom ever does you a service where they get paid.  Same applies to answering the phone late at night.  Would you call your "accountant just to see if you got that one deduction"?  I think not.

Aug 18, 2012 02:25 PM #28
Rainer
180,033
Tatyana Makarov
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - South Windsor, CT
Your Greater Hartford Area Realtor

Hi Brian,

this all a great ideas... I love to give my clients gift card from Pottery Barn and a picture frame.

and bottle of wine for an anniversary..

Thanks for sharing.

Aug 18, 2012 02:31 PM #29
Rainmaker
542,073
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Bryan, looks like you really have your customer retention, aka concierge service, plan in place. That's awesome!

Aug 18, 2012 02:36 PM #30
Ambassador
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Harry F. D'Elia
Precision Real Estate Inc. - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, CSSN, Radio Coach, REOs, ABR

My teacher use to say to us 'Gratitute is Attitude.' Just say thanks

Aug 18, 2012 03:58 PM #31
Rainmaker
905,737
Jane Peters
Power Brokers Int'l - Los Angeles, CA
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate scene

Now that's the way to do it, Brian.  Excellent job.  I am embarrassed that I only give closing gifts, and sometimes referral gifts (even if it doesn't work out).

Aug 18, 2012 04:27 PM #32
Rainmaker
499,929
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Bryan, Great ideas, I too give gifts for closing, on their anniversary, birthdays. I've worked as a Sales Manager for Walt Disney World some time ago and have adapted some of their guest service ideas. Whatever it takes for you to be on their mind is a good business model to adapt.

Aug 18, 2012 04:27 PM #33
Rainmaker
899,095
Lottie Kendall
Today | Sotheby's International Realty - San Carlos, CA
Serving San Mateo County and San Francisco

Bryan, you've developed a great system so nothing gets overlooked, and your clients feel valued. Congratulations!

Aug 18, 2012 05:52 PM #34
Rainmaker
318,167
Wandanna Melliphant
Royal Lepage Credit Valley Real Estate Brokerage - Mississauga, ON
A Name Real Estate Investors Trust and Recommend

Hi Bryan,

You've got a nice list there.

I love the fact that you give a gift after the initial consultation. That is a technique I will be borrowing :)

Thanks for sharing.

Aug 18, 2012 06:37 PM #35
Rainmaker
1,424,386
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Short Sale - CDPE, REDS

Personalized thank yous....it doesn't get better...and is valued and remembered longer

 

Aug 18, 2012 07:22 PM #36
Ambassador
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Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

The closing gift doesn't have to be big as long as it is memorable. Gift card to local restaurant.... just make it something they will use and remember

Aug 18, 2012 08:14 PM #37
Rainmaker
979,326
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - Fleming Island, FL
Your Fleming Island Relocation Agents.

Bryan, this is a stellar list to imitate to develop clients for life. We give closing gifts, but you have gone way above and beyond that! Excellent!

Sharon

Aug 18, 2012 08:33 PM #38
Rainmaker
658,184
Evelyn Kennedy
Gallagher & Lindsey, Alameda, California - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA

Bryan:

The gifts you mention sound great because, as you mentioned you have personalized them for the recipient.  I need to be more thoughtful with my client gifts.

Aug 18, 2012 08:34 PM #39
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Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Bryan - I think personalizing the gift does make a difference to people and show we were paying attention.

Aug 18, 2012 10:06 PM #40
Ambassador
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Debb Janes
The Carl Group, LLC - Camas, WA
REALTOR®, EcoBroker Camas, Washington

Wow, it's similar to giving gifts to friends and family. The little extra thought to personalize things makes a huge difference. I like all of the opportunities to connect and show appreciation...I may add some giving occasions to my marketing. I always do the referral thanks, and closing gifts, but???

Aug 19, 2012 09:53 AM #41
Rainer
248,965
Barbara Tattersall
Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan (Keene,NH) - Keene, NH
GRI

I always try to personalize gifts to a new buyer...If they bought new construction I like to give a gift card from a nursery for flowers shrubs or lawn care equipment.  I often bring extra herbs and perennials from my own carden.  For fixers uppers-a hardware store gift card.  I recently sold a home to a retiree who loves the idea of getting into the art scene in her new town.  I gave her a gift certificate for any classes she cared to take at an art center. For those with little farms-a homesteading magazine subscription.  Etc., etc. I get a great satisfaction picking something out. It's a gift for me, too. I enjoyed all the ideas from everyone who responded to your blog.

Aug 21, 2012 05:11 AM #42
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Bryan Robertson

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