If you haven’t shipped yet, it’s time to consider your clients’ holiday gifts. A gift conveys your regard for the recipient and their relationship with you. Perhaps that’s why the bar of self-imposed expectation is raised higher each year. The most challenging issue is what to buy the client who really has everything he or she needs. We toy with originality. We tend to run wild with ideas until we remember the FINRA Rule 3060; a gift limit of $100 per individual recipient per year. You can review the complete FINRA gift policy here: http://www.finra.org/web/groups/industry/@ip/@reg/@notice/documents/notices/p018024.pdf
Financial firms’ gift policies run the gamut from the cerebral to the sublime. Many holiday gifts that would delight certain clients may confound others, such as bottles of scotch or an iTunes gift card. That’s why many professionals have an “A” and “B” gift idea and select recipients accordingly.
Here are some common gift ideas for the affluent client:
- Chocolate novelties. A local chocolatier was only too happy to create a holiday mold for our chocolate holiday greetings one year. We liked it so much, we sent holiday chocolates at least three times and may well return to the chocolate theme. Be aware of any clients who may be diabetic or have other health reasons to avoid candy and plan accordingly.
- Food is a common gift theme. You can find food vendors and gift baskets for smoked salmon, cheeses, meats and other delicacies. Most suppliers will willingly enclose your gift card and may handle shipping for an additional cost.
- Locally themed gift items can be a novelty to clients who live distant from your office. We have shipped Baltimore Coffee & Tea with custom mugs, while more adventurous givers here in Maryland have shipped Crab Soup and crab cakes. Local flair evokes interesting comments and good conversation.
- Let’s face it; our clients have most of what they need. Consider gifts that they use up including wine, food, books, stationary and experiences, such as tickets to a local performance.
Once you have selected the gift, the accompanying message is equally important. Focus your holiday message on how you value their relationship and thank them for their business, wishing them happiness and prosperity in the new year. A few well-placed words can go just as far as the gift itself. Finally, remember the first rule: it’s the thought that counts.
By Mike Gabriele, marketing manager