How to Buy Gifts for Wealthy Clients
Buying gifts for wealthy clients and friends can be intimidating and challenging. Surprisingly when asked my wealthy friends and clients (a handful are billionaires) surprisingly, they couldn’t come up with the most memorable gift they’d received but rather remembered a thoughtful gesture or effort. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years being in the corporate gift business.
Don’t try to impress
It’s not about buying something that they can afford themselves; you can’t compete in their world so you shouldn’t try but rather be thoughtful, creative or clever. When buying gifts for wealthy clients, if you are making a kind gesture, they will appreciate it.
Focus on quality
Wealthy clients don’t necessarily need or expect high-end gifts but they do like tasteful gifts. If you have some money to spend focus on quality or name brand names that represent the best in class.
A set of Riedel Stemless Wine Glasses are a practical and well appreciated gift or a Yeti traveler mug.
Go back to basics
Don’t over think it. In most cases, something useful is better than an expensive impractical gift. Think of things they can use day to day. For example, a holiday door mat with their monogram, or a holiday cookie jar filled with gourmet cookies from a local bakery.
Buy the best in a low-end category
Try looking at the most expensive basic item in a lower end category vs an affordable option in a high-end category. For example, if your budget is $50, don’t try to find a $50 cashmere scarf when the average price runs about $200 but rather spend $50 on a pair of cashmere socks when the average price for socks is $25.
Giving a gift with little pre-thought can be unimpressionable. A great first impression sets a positive tone for the thought behind the gift.. Rather than just giving a Starbucks gift card, insert the gift card into a coffee mug filled with tissue paper, wrap it in a cello bag and garnish with a ribbon and candy cane or present the gift card firmly nestled in a flower pot filled with coffee beans and a little note holder that says happy holidays.
A nice quality tote bag is always a useful and practical gift. To enhance the overall presentation of create a blossoming look with stuffed tissue paper protruding from the top.
I once gave a client a cashmere throw placed on top of an old fashion wooden sleigh with a big red bow. It was really eye catching.
Pick a Theme
I’ve always found that picking a theme and pairing items in that theme helps to create a personal touch. Books can be extremely helpful when trying to pick a theme.
- Coffee table book on the History of Automobiles paired with a remote control car or some sort of automotive gift
- Pictorial of Architecture paired with an architectural ruler
- The book “A 1,000 Places to See before You Die “ is great paired with a leather travel wallet, luggage tag or travel blanket
- Zagat’s Restaurant Guide with a Gift Card to one of the featured restaurants – earmark the page
- BBQ Grill Book paired with a BBQ Grilling Tool
- Book on modern cocktails paired with a set of martini glasses
- Pictorial of the world’s best golf courses paired with logo golf balls, tees or golf towel
- “Things to do a rainy day” paired with an umbrella
Attention to detail
A handwritten note thanking them for their business can mean more than the most expensive gifts. I sent a note to a client saying “One day when I can afford to really show my appreciation, I’ll buy you a chateau in the south of France. In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday. All my best, Jen”
Make it personal
- Reference something personal such as a hobby or interest, or that you hope they enjoy their holiday season while visiting relatives etc. One of my clients had a beautiful sailboat so I created a nautical theme gift with pullover boat jackets that were embroidered with CAPTAIN for him and FIRST MATE for his girlfriend.
- Relate it back to something that you’ve observed about the recipient …“ I know you like to read and thought you might like these bookends for your collection”. After noticing a hole in my client’s sock, I bought 10 pair of socks but in a nice basket with a note that read “there are no holes in your spirit, there should be no holes in your socks”.
- Subscription to a new magazine that focuses on a hobby such as travel, golf, cars, etc.
Buy the gift for someone else
- Focus on a gift for someone that is significant to your client such as a spouse, child, or pet. Children are easy to buy for and almost everyone will appreciate the random act of kindness targeted toward their children. I once bought mini chef hats embroidered with each child’s name, included spatulas and cookie mixes. It was inexpensive but thoughtful.
- Another time I bought a gift certificate to have a picture of the family turned into a cool modern sketch done by a local artist.
- When buying gifts for wealthy clients it really is the thought that counts and sometimes more is less.