It’s not surprising that real estate agents and brokers use gifts to build stronger relationships and grow their businesses. But how do you know if you are giving the right gift? And when should a gift be given? After a closing? For a client’s birthday? As a thank you?
Traditionally, it’s been challenging to discern which gifts drive the most impact, and how one optimizes ROI from gifting. We recently analyzed more than 10,000 gifts real estate professionals sent over the past six months to understand the science behind business gifting, and here are some of our results.
Why real estate agents send gifts
The data shows the vast majority of agents send thank-you gifts to people who either referred a client or helped facilitate the transaction. Thank you gifts to the other agent in a transaction, to agents within a team, or both, were also very common.
The second highest percentage of gifts were sent as a thank-you for a referral. Referral gifting is almost twice as common as closing gifts, reflecting the high value industry players place on referrals to grow their business. Interestingly, closing gifts were mostly sent to buyers.
While opportunities for business gifting may be intuitive, one of the biggest remaining questions on everyone’s mind is, “What do I give?”
What recipients crave
By analyzing thousands of anonymized customer conversations, we were able to understand gift recipients’ preferences before sending the perfect gift. Food and beverage items, for instance, are one of the most commonly desired gifts.
Here are a few other takeaways:
- Sweets, including chocolates, cookies and candy, are only preferred by 18 percent of gift recipients.
- Coffee is the most preferred non-alcoholic beverage, but recipients prefer artisanal, high-quality brands.
- Agents usually don’t gift savory snacks, despite data showing 19 percent of recipients preferring salty, spicy or tangy snacks.
What not to gift
It’s hard to get a gift right, but it’s even worse to send a gift that can turn out to be off base, offensive or dangerous. For example — alcohol (wine or whiskey) is one of the most popular gifts, but our survey data shows that more than 20 percent don’t drink alcohol.
On a related note, more than 2 percent of gift recipients have allergies. According our survey the most common food allergens are (in order):
- Gluten (cookies, bread-sticks, cupcakes)
- Dietary restrictions (like veganism and vegetarianism or diabetes)
Chocolates and cookies, another favorite gift to give, often contain gluten, nuts or dairy, which are the most common allergies.
Another critical factor in business gifting is a recipient’s preferences and lifestyle. Perhaps one client is a pet lover and another a technology enthusiast.
Here are some common archetypes when identifying your recipients’ favorite activities:
Specifically relating to gadget lovers, note that only 4 percent of gift recipients live in a smart home, so there is ample opportunity to gift a smart-home gadget. There are a variety of options including August smart-locks, Flic smart-home automation buttons and Nest surveillance cameras.
Geography also plays a significant role in people’s taste. More than 58 percent of people living in Western and Northeastern U.S. prefer snacks over sweets in their gifts.
For these coastal residents, chocolates and cookies might not be a safe bet without first confirming a recipient’s tastes. However, those in the Midwest and South preferred sweets over snacks.
The safest states to give alcohol as a gift? Northeastern states, where less than 10 percent of people there do not prefer alcohol.
Keep these tips in mind when buying your next client, vendor or referral gift.