Why Being Generous Pays off: The Importance of Gift Giving in Real Estate

Posted on Jan 22 2016 - 11:25am by Housecall

By Sara Rodell, founder of Loop and Tie

gift givingSuccessful real estate agents know the importance of gift giving better than almost anyone else. In the United States, the average house price is $188,900 and with so much money changing hands, it’s important to show respect and appreciation for your clients and colleagues. Gifts are the perfect way to do this.

Relationships in real estate count for a lot. There are approximately two million real estate agents registered in the USA, according to Realtor.org. Each one spends his or her days working under pressure to interview clients, visit properties, close deals, and smooth over difficult contractual processes -- all so customers don’t have to worry. Gifts show thoughtfulness, motivate co-workers, and encourage trust and loyalty between agent and client.

Here, we unpack the benefits, difficulties and positive long term effects of gift giving, and also some strategies you can employ to help build your own career as a real estate agent.

Relationship building

Once the dust has settled and everyone has moved in, it’s easy to forget to thank the people involved in the process. A card or letter is great, but a gift that they’ll keep and appreciate over time is ideal. If you have neglected to send a gift to a client this year, why not rectify the oversight?

Giving a gift has a positive effect both on the giver and receiver, and engenders a feeling of gratitude, which is a key element in loyalty management. According to a study, The Role of Customer Gratitude in Relationship Marketing, “gratitude increases a customer’s trust in the seller...strengthening the quality of the relationship and positively affecting seller outcomes.”

With a gift, your goal is not only to thank your clients for contracting your services, but to build a professional bond that will last and make them think of you, especially when they are set on selling up and moving again.

Allen Gump, executive VP of Colliers International and CCIM and SIOR member, says, “When you consider the size of some of our commercial transactions, it's crazy not to spend some money on a simple thank you gift. It doesn't have to be extravagant, but it should appear thoughtful.”

Gump is right, of course, and selecting the right gift can be difficult. There is no one-size-fits-all present for your customers or colleagues. A bottle of wine might be perfect for one person, but taboo for another. Likewise, no one wants to run the gauntlet of selecting food and confection, as allergies and intolerances are impossible to predict, and you certainly don’t want to run the risk of offending someone. With 39 percent of shoppers considering themselves “picky” according to a poll conducted on 7,466 Black Friday shoppers, selecting a gift not an easy decision.

However, this does not mean that the selection process has to be arduous or anxiety-inducing. According to a study by Belk & Coon, cited in Psychology Today, “Gifts that represent the giver or symbolize the relationship are ripe for communicating commitment, though gifts need not be inherently personal to signal devotion and attachment.”

As a REALTOR®, an ideal gift connects to you and your business somehow. A hypoallergenic house plant, or a tasteful or functional product for the home will go a long way in the right direction. A thoughtful note explaining how well it will go in the office space or kitchen will show that you care about your clients, not just about the sale commission.

Gump added that to him, gifting has to be “simple, quick and painless, otherwise it won't get done.” Giving gifts should not make your life a nightmare.

The Long Term Benefits

Not only is a gift a brief, heartwarming moment that builds a bond with a client, it also comes with some very specific business rewards.

Brand building is key in any industry, but as a REALTOR®, reputation is paramount. Gifts break down barriers and show you as being a generous, trustworthy and personable, not to mention memorable. In a study carried out during a trade show, 62.6 percent received a promotional product, and 71.6 percent remembered the company that had given it to them.

Clients are more likely to talk about you with their friends and colleagues if they like you and are pleased with your service. A gift that they water every day, or use in the kitchen, or even hang on the wall can become a talking point and bolster your number of referrals. Inclusion of gifts in a service can increase referrals by 500 percent, according to one case study.

It’s not just clients who deserve your attention. The Workforce Mood Tracker Survey showed that 86 percent of employees say that being recognized motivates them in their job, and gifts are the perfect way to do this. Buying gifts for colleagues over the holidays or just to say thank you can serve to motivate them and boost your professional relationship, which can do wonders for your reputation and certainly help your career along.

If you haven’t thought about showing your gratitude towards your clients, co-workers and business partners, this time is now! See increased reciprocation, referrals and customer loyalty, as well as an improved working relationship and a more motivating professional environment. So do something nice for the people around you and see just how big the rewards can be.

14 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Lise Corson January 27, 2016 at 8:17 am -

    Gift giving is important. I would love to know what others are giving these days I always need new ideas. Or even a website that provides a selection of ideas.

    • Moses Baron March 25, 2016 at 4:44 pm -

      This idea is really awesome. I appreciate the thought and totally agree that a thoughtful gift changes everything. This creates a trust between the client and real estate person.

      Moses Baron

  2. Peggy January 27, 2016 at 10:07 am -

    Yes! I would like to know as well. Any suggestions?

  3. Amy T January 27, 2016 at 10:24 am -

    I would also like some fresh new ideas or website others may like.

  4. Rena Ripp January 27, 2016 at 12:06 pm -

    I try to find something specific to the person, possible something they have mentioned along the way in search for their home, in this I mean closing gifts. Example, I recently sold a home to a couple that love craft beers. I have a local store that has unique things for sale, I purchased a state of Wisconsin wood bottle cap collector wall hanging and added in a 6 pack of unique craft beers.

    Other items have consisted of wooden signs for a single mother that spoke to a home and a child. For a single guy purchasing his first house, kitchen utensils.

    Along the course of the year, I surprise them with homemade jam, or flowers that are in season.

    It does take some planning and thinking, and really listening as you are spending time with them.

    • Nick Caruso January 27, 2016 at 1:54 pm -

      Love the idea for a bottle cap collector – it shows you got to know them well, too!

    • Kim Flesch February 11, 2016 at 11:46 am -

      I agree with Rena about giving a gift that reflects on their interests. This is especially good for someone buying their 2nd or 3rd home. For a first time buyer I usually give a small fireproof safe. I explain that this is the perfect place to put those important papers that they just received in the transaction. Most young people don’t have a safe or a bank safe deposit box and it’s nice to know where to look for these papers and I tape my business card inside the lid. I also will give a wall clock in a style that I know they like and add a note saying “This was the perfect TIME to buy your home”. For retirees whose home I sold and they are moving into an apartment they really like restaurant or theater gift cards.

  5. Lynne Wright January 27, 2016 at 12:52 pm -

    I give Cutco knives. They are very high quality, can be ingrained with your name, phone number, etc. People love them and they have them in their hands every day.

    • Nick Caruso January 27, 2016 at 1:51 pm -

      That is a FANTASTIC idea, Lynne!

  6. Dan Campbell January 27, 2016 at 5:25 pm -

    If the home needs some paint and fixing as many do Home Depot cards help with the out of pocket monies they have to spend once the home transfers.

  7. Judy McAdams January 28, 2016 at 11:13 am -

    We, The McAdams Team, give Cutco cutlery to our buyers. Cutco will engrave the cutlery with your business name, website address and phone number which makes it easy for your buyers to remember you and refer their friends to you! And, the cutlery has a lifetime guarantee!

  8. Toni Randall February 2, 2016 at 10:52 am -

    I purchase Tiffany wine glasses in sets of two, both red wine and white wine. During our time together I try to determine their

    If they don’t drink wine, I give them a nice cutting board with a 4″ tall cast iron mouse and a cheese knife.

    I give relocation customers a gift card to a nice local restaurant.

    If they are first time buyers or buying a fixer upper, I give a home repair book and/or a gift certificate to a home improvement store.

    I know that I can only deduct $25 but I consider the difference to be an investment in my future business.

  9. Sue Kane Carr February 11, 2016 at 8:56 am -

    I like the idea of gift giving, the only thing that I suggest is do not do it at a closing or in front of everyone. This can be embarrassing if the other agent or lender gives a present to their customer and you are sitting there with no gift to give your customer at this time or your gift is not the same standard as the other persons gift. The gift is between you and your customer and should not be given when there are others around that you could embarrass by giving the gift. I have been at many closings where my gift was in the car (because I didn’t want anyone feeling bad or embarrassed) and the other agent or lender gave their customer a gift. I could tell this was uncomfortable for my customer who looked surprised or was thinking bad of me because I didn’t have my gift to give at that time. We need to respect each others ways of doing business and think of the feelings of all the people who are present when the gift is given.

  10. Dean Gupta February 22, 2016 at 6:33 pm -

    It seems like most of friends think of some food related items to the clients. How about the friends who referred the friends to the agents. How does the transfer of cash to the Buyers or sellers, the person who referred the clients? In Minnesota $25 is the limit to Non Clients. How many realtors adhere to $25 limit for the referrals? may be something visible House plans, Pictures etc. that can be displayed in the living rooms etc. Just a thought.