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Realty Builder
Jax Daily Record Friday, Dec. 14, 200712:00 PM EST



Inexpensive gifts for your clients and associates

As the holiday season quickly approaches, it is a nice time to give small gifts to clients and associates to help them remember you in the New Year and to show them how much you appreciate their business.

But, you don’t want to go broke doing it.

When selecting gifts for clients, it’s important to make them useful, unique and memorable.

“Whenever I am working with a residential client, they love it when I give them a nice small spice set, good stainless steel graduated measuring cups, guest bath soap sets or nice dish towels,” said Jacqueline Williams of Jacqueline P. Williams Interior Design. “If you put a pretty red bow on it, you are good to go.”

Judi Seay of Century 21 John T. Ferreira & Son came up with a few interesting ideas.

“I like to give gingerbread houses at Christmas,” said Seay. “Other nice ideas are any home-baked goods in a reusable basket or a talking picture frames with the customer in front of their new home.”

Though you’d like the gifts to be inexpensive, you can find a way to make them personable as well.

Jacquie Parrillo of People’s First Community Bank has found several creative and inexpensive ways to show her customers how special they are to her.

“I will fill a Dollar Store basket with grocery store items of various themes and it typically costs me about $10-20,” said Parrillo. “Or, I’ll buy a Dollar Store or Michael’s small basket and fill it with wooden spoons, kitchen towels, a box of dry pasta, pasta sauce and a bottle of inexpensive wine. I shrink wrap it and put on a bow.”

Parrillo said she has added personal homemade cards to the baskets.

“I also give plants from my garden in a Garden Ridge or Dollar Store pot,” said Parrillo. “People’s First makes cookbooks made with our employee’s recipes. I will sometimes make a basket with the cookbook and other fun food items.

“My rainy day gifts include an umbrella, candles, book and bath salts. Everyone loves Starbucks, Publix and Lowe’s gift cards, so $10 to $20 and a nice cookbook goes a long way. When money is tight, you have to get creative.”

Jon Singleton of Watson Realty also gives out Starbucks gift cards.

“One of the best marketing gifts I’ve given (which will come as no surprise to those who know me) is $10 Starbucks gift cards with a note saying ‘Enjoy a Peppermint Mocha during the Holidays, and don’t forget to give me a call with all of your real estate questions’,” said Singleton.

Bonnie Siecker of Century 21 Dames Point Realty had a useful suggestion to start the New Year right.

“Calendars are always a hit,” said Siecker. “In fact, when customers have received them more than once they actually expect them and call to find out when their calendar will be arriving. I’ve been sending them for 29 years and my customers expect them.”

Here are a few more ideas:

• Magnetic business cards with a 2008 calendar. It has all your contact information and is useful year-round.

• Gift cards to home improvement stores, great for anyone buying a fixer-upper.

• Maid service for a limited time.

• Poinsettias are a great way to start off the season right.

• Trees are also a nice idea. They can plant them at their new home and watch it grow as time goes by with a permanent reminder of you.

• A nice bottle of wine with your company’s name and logo on it.

• Snacks such as nuts, chocolates or other candy are always welcome gifts.

• Magnetic clips with your company name.

• Magnetic notepads with your company logo.

• Insulated drink holders and coffee mugs filled with candy.

• A refillable candy jar. Just make sure to tell them to call you when it needs refilled.

• A quality corkscrew and bottle opener.

• Notepads are nice and useful, but attach something sweet to them to make them stand out.

• A personally delivered Christmas ornament.

• Donate to a charity of choice in your client’s name.

Food, as we know, is always a hit.

“Peterbrooke candy and Virginia peanuts are always a hit,” said Clare Berry of Berry & Co. “I’ve also gone nuts and delivered poinsettias, which are really too fragile to do in bulk.”

Stephanie White, the district broker of Zip Realty, came up with a unique idea.

“One of my favorite gifts is a sketch drawing or watercolor of the client’s house,” said White. “If you don’t have someone that does this available, Adobe has a product that will modify the original photo, and you can put it on really nice paper and frame it.”

Over the years, I’m sure you all have received many interesting unique gifts during the holidays. Thinking back to those different items can give you a multitude of ideas for things others may like just like you did.

“A few memorable gifts that I’ve received include a small tape measure to keep in my purse or in the car,” said Sue Ann Ogden of Suncastle Properties, Inc. “This is always handy when measuring for furniture. I also make good use of a small magnifying glass as well. Another great gift is a handheld compass. I use this often when showing property, as prospective buyers are always wondering where the sun rises and sets. Another idea is a refrigerator magnet with the Jacksonville Jaguars schedule. I always find a place for this item.”

Ogden also suggested a coffee cup coaster or a computer mouse pad, both useful and inexpensive gifts.

Many of the items Ogden mentioned can be personalized with your information or theirs.

Gwen Treston of Watson Realty gives out business card-sized address cards to her clients with their new address and phone number on them.

“I had a lot of second homebuyers, so in that case, one address went on one side and the other one on the other side,” said Treston. “It was very useful because they sometimes forgot the information on the second home.”

Unusual Names

Maggie Hand

Maggie Hand

I first met Maggie Hand as she was picking up her keys to the Prudential Network Realty office in Ponte Vedra Beach. It was her first day.

Once I heard her name, I thought of all the possible marketing ideas she could come up with.

Hand is her maiden name, so she has dealt with it her whole life.

She jokes, “My dad had a ‘hand’ in it,” when asked how she got her name.

She has come up with a cute slogan to go with her name. “Let Maggie Give You a ‘Hand’ With Your Real Estate Needs.”

She acquired some interesting nicknames including Maggie Foot, Hands-on and Handy Maggie.

Hand said she was teased a lot about her name while growing up, but now people just have trouble understanding “Hand” is her last name.

“Most people think my name is Maggie Ann,” said Hand. “I have found if I say ‘Hand’ and they say ‘Ann’. I tell them it is like a ‘right’ or ‘left’ hand. That usually works.”

Hand said that she dabbled in real estate 22 years ago and sold houses in the Hamptons in New York part-time.

“I never thought the east end of Long Island would become the in-place to be,” she said.

Hand said she decided to go back into real estate now to help people.

“I enjoy the ‘hands on’ experience of helping people achieve the dream of owning a home,” she said.

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