• When showing appreciation to your clients, give useful gifts that last forever.
  • Leverage your time and energy by creating a system instead of personalizing gifts for each client.
  • Stay top-of-mind with every client and write off 100 percent of your gifts as a marketing or advertising expense by branding them with your business information.

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Is your client gift program a lost expense or a referral generator? That might depend on what your closing gift program is like and how much it helps your business.

For your gift program to be successful and result in a return on your investment, consider the following seven points.

1. A gift must be useful

Give something that will actually be used. Your client might not need your service for another five to seven years on average. However, do your best to stay top-of-mind.

A good gift should spark a response, such as “I think of you every time I use that (fill in the blank).” Stay away from items that will collect dust and do nothing to serve your business.

Find a gift that will be used when your clients might be entertaining. If you give the right gift, your clients will talk about it when their friends are around. This is a sure way to spark conversations about you and the great service you provided to them as their agent. Don’t waste your money on gift cards or other forgettable items.

2. Closing gifts should leave a lasting impression

Shelf life is crucial. If you’re going to spend the money, make it last. Flowers and nice gifts that are soon gone and forgotten are not serving your business in the long term.

An extended shelf life will give you a much better return on your investment. Stop wasting money on consumables!

Gary Keller, co-founder of Keller Williams Realty, talks about gifts and promotional items in his bestselling book, “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.” He says there are two things your gift must do: It must have shelf life and be useful. Give a gift that is used daily and will last forever.

3. You should have an easy system

Are you still shopping for clients? This can be incredibly time-consuming and also cause a lot of unnecessary stress. The last thing you want to worry about is what certain clients will like based on their personal taste.

Don’t treat your clients like you do your family on birthdays or holidays. You will over stress and complicate things.

Set up an easy system to stay top-of-mind with every client at closing. Consult with a gifting company and get six months to a year supply of gifts ready to give.

Take it a step further, and don’t give the gift at closing. One of the best ways to generate more referrals is to deliver the gift to your client’s home or office 10 to 14 days after closing.

Take advantage of this opportunity to ask for introductions to their network. Ask clients for introductions to their financial adviser, CPA and any divorce or estate planning attorneys they know. Instead of chasing their family members and friends, set up pipelines of referrals and watch your business multiply.

4. Quality matters

Everything you give should be a quality representation of both your company and brand. Don’t go cheap to save money. A quality gift that lasts is going to give you a much better impact than something cheap with no practical use.

Whatever you give, make it best-in-class. One of my friends bought a house, and his agent gave him a candle. He told me he would never use that agent again — someone who gained $5,000 in commission and gave him a $30 candle.

You don’t have to spend a lot to give a nice gift. Just don’t go cheap on your clients. It’s usually better to take the time and simply write a handwritten note instead of giving something that is not the best in its product category.

5. It’s your job to be memorable

According to the National Association of Realtors, 88 percent of buyers say they would use their Realtor again. Only 19 percent actually work with the same agent or recommend him or her to others.

That means that you will never hear from a good percentage of clients after closing. Gift longevity is crucial in ensuring that your clients never forget you.

Patricia Frippe, a national sales trainer, said, “It’s not your customers’ job to remember you. It is your duty and your obligation to make sure they never forget you.”

Use your closing gifts as a client retention tool. It’s not just about the gift but also the follow-up after closing. Retain every client forever with a planned closing gift and follow-up program.

6. There are tax advantages to gifting

Put your logo on it. Although some say it might lose a little class, a gift with a logo is sure to keep your name top-of-mind with your clients.

When your gift has your logo, it becomes 100-percent tax deductible as advertising.

Don’t worry about that $25 per client deduction anymore. Be sure not to go over the top with the branding. A very subtle or small logo will serve its purpose.

7. Experts can help

Reach out to top real estate coaches, top agents and even consult with a corporate gifting companies to ask them what they recommend for their client or referral thank-you gifts.

Usually, once someone gets a product, system and strategy in place, they will use it for a long time.

Make your gifting program turnkey, turn your best clients into raving fans, and receive an actual return on your investment while building your business at the same time.

Nick Najjar is the founder My Company Gifts. Follow Nick on Facebook or connect with him on LinkedIn

Email Nick Najjar.