It has become a common courtesy to give your clients a little gift after closing on a new home to show your appreciation for their business. In addition to being a token of gratitude, this gesture also serves as a reminder of you, encouraging former clients to send referrals your way. However, keep in mind that a one-size-fits-all gift might not always be appropriate.

Before you throw down some cash on closing gifts, remember to avoid these 5 taboos:

A one-size-fits-all approach to client gifts is not the best strategy.

A one-size-fits-all approach to client gifts is not the best strategy.

Making it about you

While giving clients a coffee mug with your name and logo plastered on the side might seem like a smart marketing tactic, there is a good chance that the mug will never even get used. If the idea of a coffee mug appeals to you, why not go with a pair of “Mr. and Mrs.” mugs for the newlyweds who closed on their first home? The mugs don’t have to bear your logo to remind them of you. They’re more likely to appreciate and use a thoughtful, personal gift, and guests are much more likely to comment on the cute factor. Those adoring comments could turn into your next referrals.

Not listening to your clients

The easiest way to figure out what to offer your clients as a closing gift is to listen to what they talk about while you look at homes together. Do they like to go camping? Then a “s’mores set” might be the perfect gift! Are they handy in the kitchen? Try a premium cooking tool. Plenty of clues will come up in conversation once you sharpen your listening skills.

Always giving a bottle of wine

There are 2 main reasons a bottle of wine is not always appropriate. First: they may not be drinkers! And if they are, they may not be wine drinkers. The last thing you want to do is offend someone or give them an impersonal gift that might eventually be re-gifted. Second (and perhaps the more important reason): after they drink the wine, the bottle is gone and so is the memory of you! If wine genuinely seems like the best gift, opt for a personalized label that could be displayed for years to come! There are multiple Etsy or other online shops that create such labels for decent prices. Find a design you like, and make it a memorable gift your clients can enjoy with friends!

Giving your gift too early

It’s tempting to hand your clients their closing gift as soon as they sign on the dotted line. But remember, they are in the process of moving, so all of their belongings are boxed up. Receiving a gift at this point might seem like just another thing to keep track of while they set up their new home. Instead, wait 30 days or so for your clients to get settled in before you give them their gift. Then it won’t get lost in the shuffle, and it will be immediately appreciated.

Sending it in the mail

This mistake could be the hardest to avoid. Depending on the location of your clients’ new home and the intensity of your schedule, finding the time to make personal deliveries could seem like a chore. But if possible, a face-to-face delivery of your closing gift is far superior to just sticking it in the mail. (Plus, you’ll save on shipping costs!) Once you’re at your former clients’ new home, they will probably be thrilled to show you how they have decorated. What’s more, this is the perfect time to politely encourage referrals. If you can swing it, a personal visit will be worth the 30 minutes or so that it takes to make the connection.

Whatever you do, forgetting to buy your clients a gift altogether is the biggest mistake of all! It doesn’t have to be much, but even a small, thoughtful memento goes a long way in the minds of your clients.

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