Inevitably, around this time of year we are flooded with requests from advisors in a panic over what to give their clients for holiday gifts. Many times, we have to talk them out of “gifts” like logo wine glasses, logo coffee mugs or calendars. It is very important that the gift does not come across as self-serving.
We often go back to basics with them and ask the questions: What is a gift? What is this gift for? Is it a marketing piece? Or is it to say, “thank you, we love working with you and your family?” Logo items should not be seen as gifts. Many times, they end up in the charity donation pile or tossed in the garbage. If you want to make an impact with a real gift, it’s time to get creative and put some thought into it.
I always start by asking what YOU would want to receive as a gift. Would you want to receive a logo hat? I think not.
Here are some top creative ideas we’ve found over the years. These ideas may not be exactly right for your clients, but at least it will get you thinking…
1. SOMETHING PERSONAL
For valued clients, nothing says, “I appreciate you” like something personal. Whether it is a jersey signed by a favorite sports team, an experience (ex. a trip, gift certificate to a favorite restaurant, sporting event, etc.), these gifts communicate that you listen, you care and you appreciate their business.
2. SOMETHING THAT WILL BE USED OFTEN
Recently, I was in a conversation with an attorney who genuinely loves YETI products. He has YETI coolers, YETI travel cups…even YETI bottle openers. Why? The products work, and they’re considered “current.” He often gives YETI products as gifts for holidays and for referrals. Because these products are extremely high quality, they’ll be appreciated and used. Without a logo, they’re not self-serving. So if you’re going to give a gift, consider something you love yourself because chances are, your clients will love it, too (but remember that not everyone loves to collect 70s disco albums, so choose wisely).
3. SOMETHING HANDMADE
For firms that serve a small number of families, we really have to think outside of the box. These families can afford anything they want, and are probably bombarded daily with retail giveaways. We have had great success with gifts that are handmade and thoughtful, like these from a local pottery studio. Elegant, classic design, yet functional and practical, these gifts are always well-received. Also you would be supporting a local, small business instead of a factory in China or India, which is an added bonus.
4. SUBSCRIPTION GIFTS
These gifts are great. They keep coming month after month for the year, reminding your client that you appreciate them! And there are so many to choose from, you are sure to find something your clients will love and appreciate all year long. You can choose from subscriptions for foodies, for techies, for beauty addicts, fitness gurus or outdoorsmen. Whichever subscription you land on, you can rest assured it will be the gift that keeps on giving. Here are a few we think are amazing.
5. SOMETHING UNUSUAL
I once read an article about holiday gifts that mentioned someone who gave Cutco scissors to each of his clients, with the engraving: “You’re a cut above the rest and we love working with you.” Now say what you will about this, but it is certainly attention grabbing, high-end and thoughtful.
6. SOMETHING HANDWRITTEN
We understand that not everyone has a budget for high-end client gifts. That’s ok! Sometimes a hand-written card (with a hand-addressed envelope!) speaks volumes and can stand out in a pile of printed address labels.