MODULE 9: GIFTS
Before we get started, answer this question…
Imagine driving home and pulling into your neighborhood. You pull up in front of the house and you notice a package on the front door step. How do you feel
Probably a bit excited. Maybe a bit like how you felt on Christmas morning as a kid. Filled with excitement and anticipation of what you might find when you open it up.
Even if the package contains something you ordered, there is a still a bit of excitement in actually receiving the package.
If that’s how you feel when something you were waiting for finally arrives you can be certain your clients will have an even higher level of excitement when they receive something unexpected from you.
That is exactly why a gift program is critical to your Customer Loyalty Program.
Ways to Give
Once upon a time an Irishman shared his story of passing out his lucky charms and growing his pot of gold. Maybe you, too, have heard his story…
What he did was “pop by” his clients’ homes with a small gift to show his care and appreciation for those that had done business with him. The strategy worked wonders growing his database through a referral-based business.
Gifts work! Simple as that. There are many ways to love on your clients with a gifting strategy and popping by is just one way to do that.
In Module 2: Go Deeper the 80/20 principle was used to segment your database.
The 80/20 principle can be applied in many ways and looking at effort vs results is a perfect application.
First, consider the “pop by”:
- How much time will it take to plan your route and visit each client?
- Will you call ahead of the pop by in an attempt to see them when you are there?
- Will you just drop off the gift on their door step or ring the bell and talk with them?
- How much time will you spend with each client?
Now consider a mailed gift:
- How much time will it take to label and stamp each gift?
- How much money will it take to mail versus popping by?
- Will you call ahead of or behind the gift?
Reviewing the time and money “cost” associated with gifting via pop by or mail you will quickly realize mailing is far superior to a pop by in terms of “cost.” We must also consider the impact or the result we will get.
Will a pop by produce better results than a mailed gift?
It depends. It depends on how you pop by.
If you are simply driving to everyone’s home and dropping the gift off on the door step without calling ahead or ringing the bell the impact will be marginally, if at all, better than mailing the gift.
On the other hand, if you call ahead to let them know when you will be stopping by (at a time you believe most will be home) and are able to spend 2-5 minutes with each person to let them know how much you appreciate them and encourage referrals the results will likely be much better.
Consider the time invested here – let’s say just 2 min per client and 25 clients you would like to give a gift. That’s 50 min of time without factoring in drive time, getting out of the car, walking to the door, walking back to the car, identifying your next destination and putting that into your GPS. All of that will probably take another 10-20 min each (assuming you are very efficient).
Combining all of that your most efficient method of popping by would take about 500 min or 8 hours of time to pop by just 25 clients’ homes with a gift.
If you plan to pop by, increase your results by making a call ahead to let them know you will be in the area during a particular time period. Let them know you would love to see them for just a few minutes and that you have a small gift for them.
When you stop by if they are not there send them a quick text message letting them know you missed them when you stopped by but that there is a gift waiting for them when they get back home.
Consider taking a quick picture of the gift in front of their door to pique their curiosity.
Mail is not nearly as personal yet can allow you to send your clients gifts in a more efficient manner.
Whether you are popping by or mailing the gift you still need to prepare the gift. With mail you will need to make sure it is in an appropriate package, add an address label and the necessary postage. That may take an extra 10 min or so for the entire batch of 25 gifts.
You will likely have to drop off the gifts at the post office which can take one trip to the post office, maybe 10-15 minutes both directions for a total of 20-30 minutes.
Ideally, you will call after the gift has been sent and most likely received by your client to produce the maximum result.
Let’s say, similar to the pop by you spend 2 minutes per client, on average visiting on the phone for a total of 50 minutes.
No drive time, no walking up to the door and back. No GPS to worry about. All combined mailing the gifts takes about 90 minutes or 1.5 hours of time, all in…about 20% of the 500 minutes you would spend on pop bys.
Coincidence?? Nope, it’s the 80/20 rule at work!
Do you think pop bys will get better results than mailing the gift?
Sure, it is more personal. You showed your clients that you are willing to invest the time in seeing them. Face to face time is always better than a phone call.
How much better? 2X, 3X, 4X?
Let’s assume pop bys are four times more effective at generating referrals than a mailed gift. If 10% of those you give a gift to would refer you that means you would receive 3 (rounded up from 2.5) referrals from the 25 people you visited. Divide that by 4 and you get no (rounded down from .625) referrals from your mailed gifts.
Pop bys are looking like the way to go, right? 3 referrals versus none.
Now look at it from the time invested along with the referrals received…over time.
If you gave gifts out every quarter to those 25 people by the end of the year you would have invested 2,000 hours to pop by and generate 10 referrals. If you did it by mail you would spend 360 hours and generated 2 (rounded down from 2.5) referrals.
Again 10 referrals are better than 2 making pop by the clear winner in terms of business you could generate.
How about some quick and easy math…Factoring in time we get one referral for every 200 hours you invest into pop bys. With mail you get one referral for every 180 hours.
Mail is looking a little better now. Also consider whether or not you would actually invest the 2,000 hours each year to deliver gifts. Many would not simply because they don’t have time, don’t have the desire or don’t have the discipline. Then consider whether or not 4X results is actually likely – it’s probably not. Instead pop bys would likely produce no more than 2X, at best, the results of mail & calls.
Recalculating the results using a much more likely two times factor we end up with just 72 minutes to generate one referral using the mailed gift strategy versus the 200 hours spent on the pop by strategy.
You could send out gifts to 75 people, instead of 25, still spending much less time than you would with the pop by strategy to just 25 and produce more closings (15 with this example).
Less time and better results is a winning formula!
In the first section we did some math and determined that mailing gifts is far superior to spending the time doing pop bys.
One of the reasons many people do not use gifting as a strategy to generate referrals is because of the time needed to do so. By reducing the time using mail there is one more part we need to consider…the gift itself.
What is the point of the gift?
Showing you care.
Reminding them of the service you offer.
Is it about how much you spent (both money and time) on the gift? NO!
Of course, the gift should look nice and demonstrate that you put some thought and consideration into preparing it but it is more about the thought than it is the amount you spent on it.
When preparing and sending gifts it is important to remember the K.I.S.S. principle.
What is a recipe?
It is an easy step-by-step process to follow to produce a desired result.
If you were baking chocolate chip cookies and left out the sugar how would they taste? Not so good.
What if you baked them at 500 degrees instead of 350? You’d get a nice set of hockey pucks!
The point of a recipe is to simplify the process and make it easy to achieve a desired result, chocolate chip cookies!
Wouldn’t it be nice to just follow a simple, step-by-step recipe to create your gifts to mail to your clients? Yeah, we thought so…
Every month we will provide you a simple, step-by-step “recipe” to create a fun and clever gift your client database will love!
Each recipe will include:
- clever message to include with each gift
- downloadable tag template
- full “ingredient list”
- shopping links to all ingredients
- prices of each ingredient
- simple step-by-step instructions to package gift
Your clients will love it!
Sending Your Gifts
Preparing & Sending
Consistency is the key to building trust with your clients. The best way to be consistent with your gift program is by setting appropriate reminders or tasks to start preparing and then sending your gifts.
THREE WEEKS PRIOR to when you would like to mail out your gift a task, reminder or calendar entry you’ve previously set will indicate it is time to take action. You will review the most recent Gift Recipe and order all of the necessary supplies for your gift using the Amazon links provided.
TWO WEEKS PRIOR start preparing your gifts with the supplies received. In some cases the gifts can take a while to prepare due to more urgent or important business activities. It is still important to make gifts a priority so you can create the consistency of your clients receiving the gifts.
ONE DAY PRIOR the gifts should be completely ready to go with address labels on all gifts being mailed.
THE DAY OF is when you will visit the post office. Have them weigh the package and print all the necessary postage labels for you to add to the packages so you can send them while you are there.
Utilize the post office when determining your postage. You could weigh the package and put on the appropriate postage using stamps but if the postal service determines there was inadequate postage your client will be required to provide the shortage at the time of delivery.
If your client has to pay the shortage, even if it is just ten cents, it does not make a very good impression.
As you produce more referrals from your database closing more transactions using Database GoldTM the top 20% will grow. You will need a strategy to further segment this group into a manageable size to send out gifts.
Divide your gift recipients into three groups: Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3.
You can do this in a couple of different ways
- Divide by closing date (Group 1: January-April; Group 2: May-August; Group 3: September-December)
- Split up alphabetically (Group 1: Last name A-I; Group 2: J-Q; Group 3: R-Z)
With your groups identified you will send out gifts quarterly as follows:
- GROUP 1: Send gifts in January, April, July, October
- GROUP 2: Send gifts in February, May, August, November
- GROUP 3: Send gifts in March, June, September, December
Each quarter the gift will remain the same independent of the group being mailed. For example, The January gift to group 1, February gift to group 2 and March gift to group 3 are all the same gift.
When segmenting your groups you may find a particular group larger than another. If that occurs be flexible and adjust your groups as needed.
If you deviate from the groups suggested to even out the number of clients in each group you will need a way to identify these in the future so you do not need to adjust every time a mailer is sent. To do this you will need to tag them within your database or CRM software so it can be easily filtered for future mailings.
Gifts are great and will capture the attention of your clients but very few will reach out to you after receiving a gift.
The opportunity with the gift is not only in the gift itself but in the interaction you will have.
The law of reciprocity states…
The law of reciprocity is exactly the reason you are sending the gifts. You will want to utilize your small window of opportunity immediately after your clients receive their gifts to connect and remind them of the service you provided and ask for referrals.
Getting a bit of anxiety surrounding how to ask for referrals? The way in which you “ask” is up to you and it is important to do it in a way that feels natural and in alignment with your personality.
Here is an example of what you could say on the follow up call:
Hi [name], this is [your name] with [your company]. I popped a small gift in the mail and wanted to make sure you received it. Did you get it?
Fantastic! I want you to know how much I appreciated the opportunity to assist you with your transaction and for always keeping me top of mind when it comes to others considering a [purchase, sale, refinance, etc.].
Is there anything you can identify right now that I could do to create a win for you now or in the near future?
Keep your calls short, sweet and to the point. You don’t need to spend a lot of time on these calls. The example we used at the beginning of this module used an average call length of about 2 minutes, which should be about right.
Occasionally you will have a situation arise that requires more time due to an opportunity to assist a client or a referral. Of course, when these situations come up, make sure to invest the time with this client.
- Determine whether you will pop by your clients’ homes with gifts or whether you will mail gifts.
- Determine the number of people in your top 20% and YEAR 1 combined.
- Decide how often you will send or pop by with a gift.
- Order the supplies to send out your first gift (utilize Gift Recipes to make it easy).
- Create reminders in your CRM or Digital Calendar to remind you to take action for each month you want to send a gift based on the frequency you chose.
- Order supplies 3 weeks in advance
- One Day Prior or Day Of reminders, whichever will keep you on track the best.
- After you send your gifts, call to follow up.