Taking the ‘I’ out of gift giving

What are the best gifts for clients? Avoid anything corporate and think outside the box, says Elite Agent Magazine Editor, Kylie Dulhunty.

Hands up who loves receiving a gift? Now, keep your hand up if you love getting a pack of black business socks from Auntie Maude every birthday and Christmas.

I didn’t think so.

Sure, they’re practical. You can use them, but it does make you wonder just how much old Auntie Maude cares about you. After all, you know she’s bought the same thing for your brother and all your cousins.

Giving a settlement gift to a client is no different. You really want to avoid being compared to your elderly aunt.

As it’s the season to be gifting, let’s take a look at how you can deliver your valued clients a present they will treasure.

There’s no doubt the aim of giving a settlement gift is to entice your client to refer you and your expertise to their network and to call on you again next time they sell a property. But it’s time – well past time – to ditch the corporate branding.

That sad-looking bottle of red wine with your company’s logo on it? Bin it. In fact, anything with your logo, brand, slogan, name or contact details on it should meet the same fate. That’s what business cards are for.

Vendors, and buyers, are far more savvy than they used to be and they really do see straight through generic gift-giving marketing ploys. It’s far better to achieve your referral goals using more native advertising, where the gift itself immediately provides value to clients.


Forget the corporate-branded bottle of wine, polo shirt or stationery set. It’s just going to be stowed away in the back of a cupboard.

Instead, give a gift the client can really use and remember you by.

If they’re new to the area you might consider a framed, local historic map they can hang as a talking piece in their new living room. If they’ve purchased a historic property there are often detailed histories and photographs available through the local library, council or historical society you could have bound into a book.

A gift such as this is often treasured and remains with the property as it is passed from owner to owner, and clients will appreciate the effort you (or your assistant) have gone to.

Clients often reveal tidbits of seemingly unimportant information throughout the course of you selling their home. It might be that they’re a vegan or allergic to nuts. Perhaps they told you that they’ve just taken up swimming to improve their asthma. Don’t just nod and smile; file these little trinkets away as they can help you give the perfect gift.

Rather than giving a vegan or someone with allergies a generic food hamper they’ll have to throw out or pass on, why not give a gift card to the new vegan restaurant around the corner? Most aquatic centres also have weekly and monthly passes, and such a gift would demonstrate to your client that you’ve really listened to them. That’s sure to make them eager to refer you on.

Bottles of wine and, in more recent years, craft beers have always been popular gifts real estate agents have dished out. But is that not exactly how a gift you’ve given to hundreds of clients would make your newest client feel – as though it’s been ‘dished out’ without any thought?

It can also make for an awkward exchange if you give a bottle of wine to a recovering alcoholic or someone who abstains from drinking for religious reasons. One idea to avoid such faux pas is to have two or three gifts your clients can select from.

Nothing screams ‘impersonal’ like delivering a gift in the mail or leaving it on the front porch. Giving a client a gift in person, after settlement, gives you another opportunity to build a strong relationship with them. Cementing that relationship is what will help generate future leads.

It gives you the chance to check on how they’re going and, subtly, ask if they can pass your name on to family and friends who may need an agent. Taking the time to deliver the gift personally, when you no longer stand to generate secure income, will create a halo effect with a client.

Other gift ideas:

  • Plants or fruit trees
  • A local family experience they can enjoy, such as zoo entry
  • A gift certificate to a favourite restaurant
  • A legacy gift such a crystal vase or platter
  • A magazine subscription in their field of interest.

Show More

Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.