Some advisors love to give client appreciation gifts, while others worry that gifts are a waste of money and energy. While client appreciation gifts require some planning and don’t necessarily result in direct returns, many advisors agree that they can help build stronger relationships with clients. Research from The Oeschli Institute shows that 71% of top advisors give gifts to clients at least least once a year.
Whether you are planning a gift for all of your clients for the holidays or for just a few on the A-list, here are a few things to remember. First, don’t give the same gift to everyone! Avoid those stereotypes: don’t assume that male clients enjoy golf and that female clients will love a spa service; it may be just the opposite. There are a number of ways to find out what a client will value. Take a look at their Facebook page, which may offer clues. With new clients, advisors should remember to discuss hobbies during client meetings and take note of unique interests. A one-size-fits-all gift has minimal impact; a gift that shows real thought can make a real difference.
Over the years, we’ve heard dozens of gift ideas, from sending flowers to widowed clients on Valentine’s Day to giving crystal wine glasses as a thank you for a referral. We’ve narrowed down the extensive list to five great gifts clients are sure to love:
1. Event Tickets
Most affluent clients value “experience gifts” over things, and tickets to an event can be memorable and useful. If the clients are interested in the arts, consider tickets to a community theater production or concert. For sports fans, consider tickets to an upcoming baseball game, tennis match or golf tournament.
2. Birthday or Anniversary Treats
It seems that everyone sends treats and gifts for the holidays, but birthdays and anniversaries are often forgotten. Rather than send name brand treats that can be bought anywhere, consider something more unique and local. Do some research on local treats that your region produces to make your gift more memorable. Note: With food or beverage gifts, make sure advisors are aware of any allergies the client has. If they aren’t sure, it’s best to avoid items with peanuts or other common food allergies.
3. Gifts That Keep On Giving
Another great idea is a gift that can be used all year long. Anytime the client uses their gift, they’ll remember their advisor. For clients who enjoy cooking or baking, consider a nice kitchen tool or decorative oil and vinegar bottles. Or, consider a gift for the office, like stationery or a collection of limited edition stamps.
4. Investing Books
An educational book on investing is never a bad idea for clients. It allows clients to become aligned with an advisor’s investment philosophy and better understand the fundamentals of investment decisions. When clients have questions about anything they read, they may be inspired to call their advisor and ask questions or take a look at new investing opportunities available to them. This may be a great gift for prospects or unengaged clients. Reading about investment tips may encourage them to readdress their strategies with their advisor.
5. Personalized Gifts
Personalization is a great way to transform an impersonal gift, like a picture frame or glassware, into something special. If your clients enjoy traveling, consider a monogrammed passport holder. For oenophiles, consider monogrammed wine glasses or bottle opener. A monogrammed gift is particularly a great idea for advisors to give to clients they aren’t close enough with to know their hobbies and interests. Consider a monogrammed throw, serving tray, or coffee mug.
If annual gift giving is getting stale change it up this year to surprise and delight clients and prospects with something special. Encourage the help of creative staff members and be sure to keep gifts under the maximum of $100 per client per year. Remember to document each gift in a “Non-Cash Compensation” log.
Have a gift idea that your clients love? Share it with me at [email protected]!
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