Aside from the pros and cons of holding open houses, whether or not to have closing gifts for buyers at the end of a transaction is one of the most hotly debated topics in the industry.
To be clear, both sides make compelling arguments so the answer isn’t obvious.
Whatever side of the argument you fall on, you’ll want a professional online presence from the start of your relationship with your leads until the very end. Side Note before diving in: Looking for a trusted source in home inspection? Give The Elite Group a call today! (866) 370-5422
To give, or not to give? Let’s dive in.
Closing gifts for buyers make me memorable
Agents who gift tell us that they do so for a number of reasons, most common among them, though, is that they hope to remain “memorable” to their clients. A respectable goal, to be sure.
But, those opposed to gifting will tell these agents that for a gift to be truly memorable, 7, 8 or 9 years down the road, it would need to be spectacular (meaning “expensive).
Take Beverly Hills agent Christophe Choo, for instance. After closing a $15 million home purchase, he made reservations for four at the Encore Resort in Las Vegas, booked a special seating at Tryst nightclub and chartered a private jet.
Then, he whisked himself, his wife and his clients to Vegas for a first-class weekend
Total cost? $30,000.
And, you can bet these clients will remember him. In fact, he tells the Wall Street Journal that, because of his extravagant gifts, “my business is 70 percent repeat clients.”
You may not work in B’Hills, sell multi-million dollar homes and you may not have an extra 30 grand lying around.
The bottom line, however, is that a bottle of wine, a gift basket and even a set of knives have a short life expectancy and, when the gift is gone, so is the memory of who gave it.
A more effective use of your gift money would be to make a small annual gift, even a card, marking the anniversary of their home sale/purchase.
Done consistently this assures that, once a year, you ascend right back to the most coveted spot an agent can find herself in: top-of-mind.
Or, incorporate the pop-by into your schedule. They’re fun not only for the recipient, but the giver as well.
Closing gifts for buyers show gratitude
“ … we try to recognize our appreciation for them allowing us the opportunity to serve them,” claims a Florida agent in a discussion at Trulia.com.
“If it were not for my clients entrusting me with the sale or purchase of a home, I would not be in business,” claims a Texas agent. Yet another suggests that gifts for clients are “about building relationships.”
Ready for the flip side (as if you haven’t heard it before, right?). Let’s take the last point first.
Gifting is personal. You are a business person and, in business, regardless that you’re selling a very personal item (a home), your relationship with your client is a business relationship.
As well, gifts don’t “build relationships,” either personal or professional. People do. Focusing on clear communication, sharing your professional knowledge, not letting anything fall through the cracks and ensuring your client gets your utmost best will go a lot further in building a relationship than a gift card or a monogrammed cutting board.
Do dentists feel that “If it were not for my clients entrusting me with their teeth, I would not be in business?” Do attorneys gift their clients for “allowing” them the “opportunity” to “serve” them in court?
And, since I’m asking questions, because my insurance guy, my doctor, hair stylist and plumber don’t give me presents, does that mean that they don’t appreciate my business?
In fact, don’t you return to the same doc, the same accountant or the same hair stylist because of the service you receive? I, personally, have referred my mortgage guy to three other people and wouldn’t dream of using anyone else in my next home purchase and he didn’t give me a gift.
He did give excellent, professional service that went above and beyond any other I’ve experienced.
Still believe in closing gifts for buyers?
Realtor.org commissioned a poll a couple of years ago and found that clients enjoyed receiving (in this order):
- Gift baskets
- Personalized home accessories
- Alcoholic beverages
Interestingly, their list completely mirrors the list of the most common gifts agents give to clients (and most likely all of them fall within the IRS’ allowable deductible amount for gifts).
How anyone hopes to become memorable by proffering a bouquet of flowers or a bottle of wine is curious, but there you have it.
And you do know that anything with your branding on it will most likely end up in the trash, right?
“That’s not a gift. It’s a marketing piece. Don’t gift it,” claims Ian Altman at Forbes.com.
Let’s get creative with closing gifts for buyers
After a bit of quick internet research, we’ve come up with a brilliant list of closing gifts for buyers that are sure to please any client.
Meal delivery service – It takes the dropped-off-pizza-on-moving-day idea light years further. And, although still a bit in its infancy, meal delivery has exploded in popularity. You’ll find services geared to different tastes and dietary requirements as well, from vegan to organic, weight loss and more.
Unpacking, cleaning and organizing help – One agent we read about provides her clients with the gift of three hours of service from a professional organizer, house cleaner, handyman or a personal assistant to help with unpacking.
Subscription box – These are fun gifts for people who love trying new things. For new homeowners you’ll find home decor subscription boxes (check out Box of Chic or Sundae Home), gardening boxes (PlowBox even offers one-time boxes or check out Urban Organic Gardener), a box of full-size products (“fashion, beauty, home, food …”) for women (Popsugar) and others.
Tech stuff – We love technology and we’re not alone. Anything that will make your clients’ home “smarter” is sure to be appreciated. Consider an Alexa-controlled Echo speaker, smart home hub, learning thermostat or a smart lock for their new front door. Speaking of front door, Skybell is a very cool gift. A video doorbell, it allows one to see who is at the door from their smartphone. Or, give them their new house keys on a key ring that includes the tile app, a Bluetooth tracker. They’ll never lose their keys again.
Gift cards – Busy agents love giving gift cards and clients on a budget (such as first-time homeowners) appreciate receiving them. Especially if the card allows them to purchase what might be on their new-home to-do list, such as one from Lowe’s or Home Depot.
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