giftsWith the holidays here and the year coming to an end, it’s time to not only financially plan for the next year, but also give the perfect gift to your clients. Gift giving doesn’t have to be generic or corny; a thoughtful gift can make a lasting impression on your clients. Giving gifts to your clients shows that you care about your relationship with them and are thinking about them during the holiday season.

Depending on your budget, select your top clients and budget for no more than $100 per gift, per NASD rule 3060. Rather than purchase 50 of the same item, each gift should be personalized to the client’s specific interests. Here, we share five holiday gift ideas (and one you should never give).

1. Tech Talk

For the tech-obsessed clients, instead of an extravagant technology purchase like an iPad, find gifts that help with everyday situations or interests. If they enjoy a specific hobby, such as fishing or gardening, gift them a digital magazine subscription for their iPad or Kindle. They will be reminded of you every time they read an issue. Creatively-inclined clients would enjoy the 3Doodler pen, the world’s first 3D printing pen.

2. Make Memories with Experiences

Knowing your clients’ financial needs goes along with getting to know their interests. For the adventurous client, gift an experience. Event tickets are great for a couple’s date night or day with the family. Look up local events calendars for holiday concerts and theater performances. Along with entertainment, gift cards for spa packages (who doesn’t need relaxation?) or a wine tasting makes for a fun afternoon with friends. Groupon and Livingsocial are great sites to find coupon deals.

3. Support Your Local Economy and Shop Local

Although gourmet baskets and florals are a more traditional gift, they still warm the heart as a special delivery. Order from you local florist and include any locally popular plant varieties. Gourmet baskets can be customized with cheese and fruit, or wine and chocolate. You can send to their home, or to the office as a delicious gift to share. If your client is religious, sending a beautiful fresh and green Christmas or Hanukkah centerpiece for their dinner table will brighten their holiday. Make sure the client will be in town for the holiday before scheduling any deliveries.

4. Let’s Get Personal

Another traditional yet thoughtful gift idea is a monogrammed item. If they are an amateur wine sommelier, consider monogrammed wine glasses or a bottle opener. For your clients who frequently travel a monogrammed passport holder is both practical and ornate. A monogrammed picture frame, mug, or other office item is a particularly great idea to give to new clients with whom you aren’t close enough to know their personal hobbies and interests.

5. Support the Cause

If your client is passionate about a specific cause, donate directly to the cause instead of sending a physical gift. Let them know that you donated to the charity in a personalized handwritten note expressing your support. You can also offer to attend their favorite charity’s gala or event, such as a 5K run or fundraiser. In an environment where charities are struggling to get by, your client will appreciate your support.

The DO NOT GIVE Gift

Whether you are close with your client or in the beginning stages of building a long-lasting relationship, sending a gift with your logo on it is lazy and thoughtless. You want to show your client that you care about them and are not giving a gift just to give. Forgo apparel, mugs, or office supplies with your logo, even if it means not giving a gift at all.

The holidays are a great time of the year to remind your clients that they are in your thoughts. While the more personalized the gift the better, play it safe if you aren’t close with a client. The last thing you want to gift is a fruit and cheese basket to a lactose intolerant family. Use your CRM system to take notes on clients’ hobbies, interests, and various other preferences. Gathering this simple data can make a great conversation starter throughout the planning process.

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