There are many tactics out there to increase your clients loyalty and desire to continue working with you, or refer you to others. In this post I’m sharing a very powerful strategy for attention retention - gifting.
Gifting can be a great addition to marketing strategy but often it’s handled like a hot potato. That's because it involves a lot of work. Research, sourcing, vendor negotiation, the actual fulfillment and making it look pretty. All on top of your regular job.
Let me give you an example of the huge impact of gifting on business growth. We’ll use residential real estate as an example. Safe to say that if you need to buy or sell a home you would be able to find a dozen realtors very quickly. Your work is deciding which one to go with.
Let’s say there are three realtors that live on your street, we’ll call them Jack, Jill and Jesse.
All three give their clients a closing gift when they buy a home.
Jack: gives a gift card to the local home goods store. It’s practical, everybody needs light bulbs and other small things for the first few days in a new home.
After that Jack sends an annual holiday card and sticks some business cards inside.
Jill: wants to be creative and show that she put some thought into her gift.
Jill gives different gifts that relate to the buyer:
a home goods gift card - especially to first time buyers who’ve just moved from their parents home
a brown basket from a gift basket website for families because there’s lots of food stuff in there
a bottle of champagne and luxury flutes or a glitzy ice bucket to those that want to host parties in their new home;
a coffee table book about the city if the family is new and gift cards to some favorite local restaurants;
After that Jill sends an annual holiday card with some business cards. Jill sends a monthly lifestyle newsletter that is mass-produced by her brokerage for all their realtors.
Jesse: does exactly what Jill does. But Jesse also sends:-
a personal note on the anniversary of when the home was bought with seasonal flowers from the neighborhood florist and a note about what the flowers are;
a quarterly newsletter with seasonal cookies or fruit, highlighting housing hot spots in the city and state, and her sales over the past 3 months.
Your neighbor tells you that when Jesse saw the yard sign that their youngest graduated and was off to college, Jesse sent them a mini collectible convertible car and a cute empty-nester card with a note that it was their time for road trips.
Who do you think would spring to mind if a friend asks “do you know a good realtor.” Probably Jill or Jesse wouldn’t you agree? Certainly, your neighbor would think of Jesse’s keen eye and attention to detail when their youngest needs a realtor or if they want to downsize.
That’s the power gifting can have in building relationships. It gets you thinking much more deeply about the other person. Who they are, what’s important to them both currently and future. Then how you can serve them with something that will help them or bring a smile to their face.
“The thoughtful thought endures.” -The Gift Tailor
The best part is Jill and Jesse are using a bespoke gifting service. They interact with the client and prospects and make mental notes, but they don't have to focus on finding gift ideas or execution. They get to look awesome all while they build lasting memories and relations.
The Gift Tailor is for discerning professionals who are stuck in a business gifting rut. They find it difficult and time-consuming to figure out what to give to engage with their teams or to connect with clients. Selecting gifts is not their strong suit so it is often tossed like a hot potato. Adding the chore at the last-minute to an assistant's already full to-do list.
Did you know? Every gift or piece of collateral that you give reflects your brand.
However, most people struggle with this and get it wrong because they don't have the time to spend on this area. Or they have rigid opinions about gifting. It's checked off a list near the holidays. They don't realize the lasting impact of gift giving and how it can feed into their business development and client retention strategies.
Here’s our response to 5 myths of business gifting that we often hear.
MYTH 1) They’ll feel like they owe me.
The thinking here is that there’s a thin line between transaction and gifting, which will invoke some feelings of reciprocity. Incorrect! The beauty of gifting is that it creates an interaction beyond your routine transactions.
I love how Seth Godin breaks this down. He says that where there is no payment, there is no feeling of a transaction. This lack of transaction creates a bond between the gift giver and the giftee. How’s this or a bonus - the side effect is that the giver usually comes out ahead!
MYTH 2) Any gift will do - it's the thought that counts.
You’ve probably heard people downplay the effort needed for gifting: “Ah, it’s the thought that counts.” Some have countered this with “It’s the thoughtful thought that counts.”
Here at TGT we say when gifting is done well, “it’s the thoughtful thought that endures.”
Good gifting conveys a message.
-It could be about you/sharing you.
-Or About them - showing them Hey, I paid attention, I know you I thought you’d like this.
-Or about your relationship, a conversation or an experience you had. Building rapport.
MYTH 3) If the idea doesn’t come from me, it means it’s not personal
For some, shopping for gifts is not their strongest suit. Does that sound like you? You totally get that gifting is a great way to stay top of mind, and it's a good opportunity to show your brand personality to set yourself apart from your competitors. BUT gifting is not your love language. It’s not your wheelhouse.
Something that's supposed to be joyous, adds pressure to your already filled to-do list. At The Gift Tailor we save you the hassle of the tedious task of shopping for gifts. And we love it!
We discuss how involved a person wants to be - most of our clients do not. We provide a gift consulting/concierge offering. We consult with you about your brand and your clients through a series of questions. Next we go off and research & design to curate gift ideas tailored to you. Think of it like this - instead of you going to the mall (online or in person) and strolling or scrolling item to item, we work through that mall handpicking gift ideas for you.
“Gifts don’t have to cost money but always time and effort.” -Seth Godin
MYTH 4) Gift baskets are generic but safe
Stop! Step away from the brown basket. Nothing against brown baskets. Especially when filled with quality, artisanal ingredients. But let’s be honest, most of the time, they’re not. The typical lineup includes salty and yet at the same time bland pub mix; sausage that looks like it rolled off King Arthur’s round table; and shelf-stable "gourmet" cheese that could’ve accompanied Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon landing.
There are so many twists we use in our bespoke gift basket to elevate the typical gift basket experience by several notches.
At The Gift Tailor we prioritize Curation over Commodity.
MYTH 5) I can’t gift. Policy and regulatory restrictions
This happens when your client's company policy restricts them from receiving gifts and/or where you or your client have a very low dollar allowance for giving or receiving gifts.
Did you know: I have a background in corporate compliance and client due diligence to help you and your folks with navigating this area.
Here, we suggest providing an experiential gift. This can be an in-person or virtual event. Use an educational, inspirational or contemporaneous theme.
We held an interactive session with an artist. It was fun for everyone - those who were at the stick-figure elementary level of drawing and those who felt they were born natural Van Goghs. Everyone left with a picture at the end of the event and self-appreciation for their own ability.
BONUS MYTH: 6) Gifting involves juggling a bunch of moving parts
Actually this one is true. From ideas, to research, to designing how you infuse your brand personality to contacting suppliers, logistics, Quality Checking. There's much ado about gifting. That’s before you even begin to wrap or assemble the gift and figure out how to get them to your recipients - particularly if you’re not giving them in person.
The gifting process takes weeks. It’s estimated that people spend a considerable chunk of the workday doing tasks not related to their main job. A Zapier survey revealed 29% spent only 4-5 hours on core tasks and 18% shockingly only spent 1 hour a day on their core role.
That's why I started The Gift Tailor. To take a task off their list, and do it with positive energy and enthusiasm.
A friend once asked why somebody would outsource to me, a gift consultant & concierge, rather than do it themselves. She scheduled time to handle her gifting after hours. She told me how she researched gift ideas for hours, made a shortlist of options, called all the suppliers on her shortlist, arranged the shipping, then did the presentation (gift wrap) work.
A dear friend. But, that’s not a person who needs my service. For my clients there is no benefit to the time investment of taking the Do It Yourself route. Their time and their team’s time is better spent on servicing their clients and generating revenue. They can make more money in the same time than they would save on DIY.
“For my clients, there’s no RoI in DIY” -The Gift Tailor
That’s why clients like Jesse love The Gift Tailor and call us “the service they never knew they needed.” We help busy, discerning professionals by saving them the time and hassle of shopping for business gifts. Making them look super-organized, thoughtful and altogether awesome.
We execute so you can deliver.
MYTH 1) They’ll feel like they owe me. Not the case at all. No payment = no transaction.
MYTH 2) Any gift will do - it's the thought that counts. When it comes to gifting, we believe it’s the thoughtful thought that endures.
MYTH 3) If the idea doesn’t come from me, it means it’s not personal By using a gifting strategist like us, we infuse your intentions into the gift experience
MYTH 4) Gift baskets are generic but safe Safe does not equally standing out from the crowd in your industry. The real issue here is that off-the-rack gift baskets are easy. Your gift baskets can be bespoke. Somebody has to do the work, it doesn't have to be you. Curation over Commodity is the backbone of our bespoke gift consulting & concierge service.
MYTH 5) I can’t gift. Policy and regulatory restrictions You can still manage your client relationship and impress them by giving them your time. Instead of a gift box, you can create memories with an experiential, interactive event. Make it virtual to make it even more arms-length.
BONUS MYTH: 6) Gifting involves juggling a bunch of moving parts We see no lies here. There is much work that goes on behind the scenes that our clients are never aware of. That’s just how we like it because it reminds us that that’s the whole reason our service is needed. For those people who’d rather invest money to save time. For them there is ROI in DIY.
Let’s hear from you.
Which of these myths resonates most with you? Is there a myth that you’d like us to bust or confirm? We’d love for you to share it. Comment below.