QUESTION: Any ideas for client gifts? I normally go down the route of expensive wines or spirits, but I am interested in doing something different this year, but just not sure what.  – Caroline, Sydney, Australia 

ANSWER: Sending thoughtful gifts, especially at times outside of the typical holiday season, is a great client retention tool. Expensive wines and spirits are nice, but they are very common and do not differentiate you from other vendors. If you are going to send a gift, the gift should help you stand out from the crowd.

I know most people are on an anti-carb planetary movement, right now, but sending brownies or cookies is kind of special. Books are huge. I do not do this every year with my clients, but one of the things I like to do is if I run across a book that really impacted me I will buy one for all of my high end clients and send them out at Thanksgiving time with a thank you note. I know you do not have Thanksgiving in Australia I do not believe, but you can send it during a time similar. If you are in the States, this is the best time to give a gift and show a gratitude because it is in alignment with the spirit of Thanksgiving. It is also a time right before the Christmas holiday, which means it will not get lost in the clutter of all the other vendor gifts.   

A handwritten and signed note to each client in a card, not the card with the silver embossed, XYZ Search simply stating: Thank you for all your business over the years and we truly appreciate you. Nothing says I feel unappreciated like an unsigned card. I will discount when I get cards from people. If I get their signature in there, that is a little bit better and 1 or 2 sentences, make a connection.  

If you are going to send a card with the gifts, I always try to with each client and this takes me usually a few nights, 3 or 4 hours a night, like watching TV, and I reflect back on 1 or 2 things in an interaction with a client. People do not ask me to do it, I do it because it’s heartfelt. As part of the gift I want there to be the connection and the feeling of gratitude, not just something somebody could have done and stuffed in an envelope. Those are the things I do myself. 

Great question. Thank you.