How To Do Client Gifting the Right Way
Financial advising is and always will be a highly personal business, and because of that, the best marketing strategies are ones that make your clients feel like they know you, you know them, and you care about them as a person—and one great way to foster that feeling is by giving them gifts.
Some advisors worry that sending gifts will come across as cheesy or that they simply won’t be able to keep up with it. But with the right strategy in place, gifting can be a powerful way to set yourself apart and make your clients feel loved, which builds connections and inspires more referrals. The key to gifting effectively is to identify who you want to send gifts to, when you plan to send gifts, and what you’re going to send.
Who to Give Gifts To
For most firms, we recommend sending gifts only to your top clients (having a fully segmented client database makes that process much simpler). But if you have a smaller practice or you’re looking for ways to connect with B-level clients, you might consider sending gifts to A and B clients or doing tiered gifts on some occasions. For example, every year at Christmas, you might send a live wreath and a bag of gourmet coffee to A clients and only the coffee to your B clients.
When To Send Client Gifts
The holidays are a great time for giving, but you don’t have to wait until December to show clients some extra love. In fact, sending a gift when it’s unexpected can be even more impactful than sending gifts during the typical gift-giving season.
When you boil it down, there are two kinds of client gifts: planned gifts (ones you send for recurring occasions like holidays or birthdays) and opportunity gifts. Opportunity gifts are ones you send for different occasions as they occur—like when a client has a baby, purchases a vacation home, loses a loved one, etc. These kinds of gifts are super impactful because they show that you’re paying attention to what’s going on in your clients’ lives.
Here are some different occasions when you might send a gift:
- New home purchase
- Child going to college
- New baby or grandbaby
- “Get well soon” (Coming down with the flu might not be an “occasion,” but imagine how your client will feel when you send them a care package while they’re home sick.)
- Death of a loved one
- New job or major promotion
- When a client sends you a referral
Many of these events will be discussed in your planning meetings, but some of them (like being sick or sometimes losing a loved one) are the kind of thing you’ll only learn in day-to-day conversations—which is why it’s important to build genuine connections and keep your ears open for these opportunities.
Planned gifts can also be very special and impactful, and they’re something your clients can look forward to receiving every year. When it comes to the holidays, we like the idea of sending something around Thanksgiving (gourmet pies, anyone?) rather than Christmas for two reasons: 1) You get ahead of the Christmas chaos so your gift is less likely to get lost in the shuffle and 2) You avoid sending a Christmas gift to someone who might not celebrate the holiday. That’s not to say you shouldn’t send Christmas gifts, but if you do, send them early.
You could also send birthday gifts to your top clients (this strategy does require a lot more planning because you can’t send them all at the same time, but it’s doable), a summer book (we recommend something inspirational or life-improving that will resonate with most people), or even a nice floral wreath to celebrate the arrival of spring (this is especially fun if you have clients who live in really cold climates).
What to Send
Different occasions merit different gifts, but the two most important elements are that your gift is thoughtful and of high quality. If you’re purchasing something that comes in a name-brand (say, engraved tumblers for the parents of a new college student), purchase a name-brand option, like a Yeti.
Goldbelly.com is a great place to find food gifts from some of the top eateries around the country, and many of them ship nationwide. You can send pies at Thanksgiving, cakes for birthdays, and gourmet chocolates to thank someone who sent you a referral.
For weddings, housewarming, new babies, and condolences, send something more personal, like a photo album for new grandparents with the baby’s name on it or an engraved charcuterie board for newlyweds. Personalized memorial ornaments or wind chimes are thoughtful gifts for someone who has lost a loved one.
Gifting the Right Way
Sending gifts to clients is a powerful way to show them you care, and it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process for you. Start by determining which clients you’ll send gifts to, and then identify the kinds of occasions you want to send gifts for, whether those are planned gifts, opportunity gifts, or both. Then spend some time researching and decide what you’ll send for each occasion (for opportunity gifts, we recommend changing the gift list every year or so to avoid sending the same thing to too many people, or to the same person multiple times). Once you have a schedule and a list of gifts, it becomes fairly simple to pull the trigger when it’s time to send something.
If you want help with a specific strategy for your practice, we’d love to help you develop a gifting plan that suits your goals. You can click the button below to schedule a consultation.