What Makes a Great Client Gift?

Services for Real Estate Pros with www.PrinterBees.com BRE# 01392374

It’s the time of year where we give gifts to our friends and family. All this gift-giving got me thinking about what constitutes a really great gift for real estate clients.

Generally, Realtors® focus on housewarming style gifts, but that doesn’t really stand out. It’s almost expected. So – what kind of present makes a really great appreciation gift that will make an impact on your client?

A  Great Gift is About the Recipient

Sometimes real estate agents are focused on promoting their brand and staying top-of-mind when they give items as a thank you. Unfortunately, this comes off really poorly and makes it clear that your focus is on yourself, not your client.

There's certainly nothing wrong with giving away promotional items, but they need to be different than what you give as a client gift. 

A great client gift is about the receiver. What do they love? What do they need? What achievement or quote is important to them that could be incorporated into the item? I once heard of an author who received a set of Cutco knives, and each knife had one of his well-known quotes engraved on the blade.

How can you really personalize and focus the gift so that the recipient is delighted and reminded of something they truly cherish?

A Great Gift Represents the Value of the Relationship

I agree with John Ruhlin, the author of Giftology, when he says that we should get rid of the idea of “token” mementos and presents. Is anyone you care to give a gift to really just a token to you? If so, maybe you shouldn’t be giving them a gift!

A great gift shows that you value the client beyond simply “doing what’s required”. It shows that you put some real thought into something that’s meaningful for them and really matters. You should definitely stay away from cheap, useless trinkets.

Instead, consider giving gifts that are highly useful, meaningful, or even experiential. Would someone who was focused on finding the perfect kitchen enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at a local high-end restaurant? Would a family with several children enjoy tickets to a local aquarium?

A Great Gift Includes the Family

If you really want to impress someone, you should bless the people they care the most about. There are famous entrepreneurs and public figures that are used to being wined and dined for almost every reason imaginable. However, their families are always left behind.

You can adapt this to your situation as a Realtor® as well. How can you include the whole family in a gift, not just the primary homebuyer? It doesn’t have to be a group event – sometimes getting entertainment for kids and a gift certificate to a nice restaurant for the parents is a great way to include the whole family while giving the adults a needed break.

Don’t overlook the people around your client. If you have a high-end client who works through their assistant, give the assistant an amazing gift as well as the client. You’ll make a big impression.

A Great Gift is Useful

Finally, if you want to get a gift for a client that they will really enjoy, it should be practical. A basket of exotic fruits for someone who rarely cooks? Nope. A great family trip to a zoo? Yes.

Experiences, gift certificates, and specific useful items are great gifts, but you can also choose a more long-term option. There are monthly subscriptions for almost everything now, and you can consider buying a subscription for a client as a thank you. Each time they receive it, they’ll think of you!

Magazines can be a really great option and are often overlooked. There are magazines for almost every niche known to man, so skip the “Good Housekeeping” and look for something truly relevant to the client’s interests. Golf, bicycling, and fantasy sports are a few of the well-known ones, but there are magazines focused on horsemanship, crochet, crafts, fantasy gaming, and more.

Monthly gift boxes are another great idea. Whether you choose Flower of the Month for a gardener, Rocksbox for a woman who rocks her jewelry, or Graze for health-focused clients, a monthly subscription can be a great personalized gift that keeps you top-of-mind for a full year.

A great client gift is about the client. It shouldn’t be something with your name or logo on it. It should be focused on their interests, involve the whole family, be useful, and reflect the value of the relationship. Do you give a $1 million listing the same gift as a $250,000 listing? If so, it’s time to up your game.

How do you choose client gifts? Share in the comments!


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Dianne McKenzie
Kachina Mountain Realty - Santa Fe, NM
Marketing properties & cultivating relationships

I always give closing gifts to my buyers & sellers. First off I give a coupon to http://www.Glassybaby.com for 2 votive candles of their choosing. Glassybaby donates a % of every sale to chairty. Definitely worth giving. Often, my clients re-order for their friends, so the giving is multiplied. I also include a silver house key ring that is inscripted with "Welcome Home", along with a bottle of local champagne. I include a home made card. On their 1 year anniversary, I send  a card. For clients that have been my buyers & sellers or repeat clients, I replace the previously sent Glassybaby candle with 4  custom  made wine, champagne or drinking glasses from an artist on Etsy,

Dec 23, 2016 02:43 PM #10
Dianne McKenzie
Kachina Mountain Realty - Santa Fe, NM
Marketing properties & cultivating relationships

Jacylyn Hamilton is the artist jaclynayn@gmail.com

Dec 23, 2016 02:46 PM #11
Dianne McKenzie
Kachina Mountain Realty - Santa Fe, NM
Marketing properties & cultivating relationships

Really good article, good ideas..... thank you!

Dec 23, 2016 02:47 PM #12
Elizabeth Y. Foulds
Long & Foster Real Estate - Saint Michaels, MD
Your St Michaels Realtor

Very nice blog.  I work with a lot of second home owners moving into the area   I like to give a one year membership to our local Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.  The CBMM offers many events throughout the year and the whole family/friends can enjoy.   If  the membership is renewed the CBMM is delighted to increase membership!

Dec 23, 2016 02:47 PM #13
Nazir Abdulla
Re/Max Results Realty - Maple Ridge, BC

I used to give a gift baskets with a bottle of wine, cheese etc. However the person that was doing it sold the business to someone else and the baskets just weren't the same and they were costing more money. So I decided to start giving gift cards to restaurants, groceries, but somehow it just doesn't seem the same as a gift basket. But glad to see that the gift cards work. Thanks for sharing

Dec 23, 2016 03:03 PM #14
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

I no longer give gifts... No, not a Scrooge!  I stay in touch throughout the year so I skip the gift stuff! 

Dec 23, 2016 03:35 PM #15
Krystyna Baty Ryan
The Real Estate Group - Torrance, CA

Some of my clients get a card and a calendar.  They usually get a closing gift and I stay in touch with them throughout a year.

Dec 23, 2016 03:48 PM #16
Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

This year for Christmas, I decided on a simple gift from the heart - artisanal soaps made by my daughter and family on their farm. With a message I personally wrote to each client. I'm getting amazing responses - my brand is quite personal, and this particular gift feels like the perfect extension of that.

Dec 23, 2016 04:12 PM #17
Marshall Brown
Mid America Inspection Services, LLC - Fargo, ND

In years past I worked in broadcasting and radio stations were always doing promotions of various types. One of the things we noticed was that a promotion that offered something to do was a lot more successful than one of the same value in the form of a prize. A $50 concert pass, movie package, dance tickets or something similar generated way more phone traffic than a $50 prize or even cash. I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing isn't still true. A memory lasts a lot longer than almost anything you can buy.

Dec 23, 2016 04:59 PM #18
Dorothy Heaslip

I really enjoy giving my clients gifts at closing, especially if we became friends and I got a good sense for their tastes/ interests and hobbies. In the past I've purchased, custom wood engraved cutting boards with their family name, new electronic door locks installed by a professional locksmith, local artist framed paintings. Once I had a Chef call my client and invite them to come into the restaurant, as special guests and I picked up the tab, and another time I had the local city art gallery have my clients come in and choose a piece of art that would be installed in their home for 6 months, these clients were lovely people and appreciated art.

Dec 23, 2016 08:17 PM #19
Grace Kreykenbohm
Dexter Associates Realty - Vancouver, BC
The Know-How and Trust you want.

A good article! We too find, yes that the best gift is that suited to the client and his/her needs/future needs.  Those whom are renovating; always love a Home Depot gift card.  Movie passess for a family night out score high.  Love the Magazine Subscription gift idea; a gift that is personal to the client yet a good marketing tool to keep you Top of mind. 

Dec 23, 2016 08:36 PM #20
Chris Lima
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you.

Great post.  I am still writing holiday cards, so it's obvious that I could use some motivation.  I do agree that when and if a gift is given it should be personal and not self promoting.  A bit of humility and thoughtfulness goes a long way.

Dec 24, 2016 06:22 AM #21
Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Atlanta, GA

I used to give closing gifts . . . but now I do give the same gift to high end clients and low end clients --- nothing.

Dec 24, 2016 06:34 AM #22
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experience Agent in Kansas City Metro area

For housewarming gifts, I do try and purchase something useful--always with a gift receipt of course!  Small gifts every so often, like a car wash gift card, are also apreciated.

Dec 24, 2016 06:53 AM #23
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

I don't gift clients anymore, although I did when I first started. Now, I continually gift my resources and useful important financial information which IMO is more valuable than a one-time gift. 

Dec 24, 2016 08:55 AM #24
JoAnn Moore
The Mortgage Market of Delaware - Georgetown, DE
Home Loans in Delaware

I like giving a Christmas ornament for "Our First Home" and the year for first time home buyers. I have always liked a wooden ornament a neighbor gave us with our family name and year painted on it. They were the hosts of our neighborhood holiday party. 

Dec 25, 2016 01:58 PM #25
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Those are some good ideas for client gifts. Merry Christmas!

Dec 25, 2016 04:53 PM #26
Debbie Krieger
John L. Scott Real Estate / Yakima - Yakima, WA
A Passion for Excellence

BOOKS or GIFT CARDS TO BOOK STORES. (sometimes as part of a gift basket) Most recently I worked with a young family.  I purchased a selection of my favorite childrens books that I knew they did not have.  I selected books ranging from board books to books for older children. They were a HUGE HIT. The younger children begged to have the books read to them (WHICH I DID) and the older children sat on the sofa and devoured the books one after another.  I now have another book from the same author to deliver. I think it is a great way to stay in touch. I do books for baby present too. 

Jan 01, 2017 12:26 PM #27
Lauren Williams, CPO
Casual Uncluttering LLC - Woodinville, WA
Professional Organizer: Puget Sound homes

What you've written is lovely, a wonderful and creative guide to gift-giving for any reason, and I'm going to print t out as a reminder of how to do it the right way. But I had to laugh when I read it - in my biz, gift-giving is a no-no!

Jan 15, 2017 07:38 AM #28
Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

You have to know your clients to buy what makes the biggest impact. Great tips! Thank you for the book recommendation to, it's in my cart!

Jan 18, 2017 08:04 PM #29
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