Let me start by saying I am all for sending a thank you gift to a customer once you have completed a transaction, along with a nice little handwritten thank you note, of course, that is both personal and heartfelt. It lets the client know you care, sets you apart from a crowd, and if you get it right creates a memorable moment for the recipient.
It’s hard to imagine any thank you gift going down like the proverbial lead balloon. But in my initial research for this article I came across a piece on news.com.au from December 2012, which revealed most agents still get it wrong.
“Dodgy presents have included toilet paper, tool boxes, Christmas decorations, expired biscuits, kitsch salt grinders and other kitchenware – complete with corporate logos – and agency-labelled wine,” says the author. “In one instance, a buyer received a ‘one-year home warranty’ from their agent.”
What the… ? Let me see the fine print on that one!
The survey mentioned in the article also found that 32 per cent of those surveyed received wine, 17 per cent a food hamper, and 12 per cent were given merchandise from their agent’s firm. Some of the less well-received thank you gifts included a picture of the house, framed and dated with the buyer’s name inscribed on a plaque, a chocolate house with hand-made chocolates, a stainless steel kitchen pasta drainer filled with food and a bottle of wine, tea towel and wooden spoon.”
Whatever happened to ‘It’s the thought that counts’? The trouble with the items that have been mentioned above is possibly that there is no real thought involved. The stuff with your logo on it is not about them; it’s about you.
So what makes a good gift? It’s more complicated than it looks. We live in a multicultural society where not everyone drinks a nice champers, not to mention diets and food allergies that make sweets a big no-no. I guess what I’m saying is that its horses for courses and the purpose of this column (both now and in the future) will be to bring you some new and fresh ideas on some of the more tired traditions.
So what makes a good gift? I asked our Facebook fans the question and the first response I received was – wait for it – ‘a machete’ (this from one of our good friends and past contributors, Tiron Manning).
That was unexpected. ‘A what?!’
“Actually,” he said, “The client said it was the most thoughtful and practical present he had ever received. They had just bought acreage with thickets of bamboo everywhere. A machete was the only tool that could do the job of clearing it. Therefore it’s not about the bubbles or chocolates, it really is the thought that counts.”
Here are the top five most ‘liked’ responses from our Facebook page.
While I think these are all great responses (and I have to say I particularly like the Hire a Hubby and the cleaner idea from James), here’s one I’d like to throw into the mix.
Get online to Kikki K or somewhere like that and order a bunch of ‘takeaway’ organisers (approx. $29.95). Next time you are letterbox dropping, duck into the local takeaways and restaurants and introduce yourself. Ask for a bunch of menus from each of them and make sure you tell them what you’re up to. Maybe go one step further and see if they will give you some discount vouchers. Then go back to the office and make up packs using the brochures, vouchers, and the nice folders. You can bet that people who are moving are always going to need a takeaway menu or two. It’s a gift that’s practical and useful and allows you to build some great relationships with local businesses along the way. If you want to get really keen leave a couple of personal reviews as well, for example, “The salt and pepper squid at this place is amazing,” or “this one is great for the kids.”
Then leave your business card – that’s enough logo for any thank you gift!
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