Like Cousin Eddie gifting Clark Griswold his white patent leather slip-ons, we’ve all been on the receiving end of some cringe-worthy gifts. We’ve also probably given a gift or two—no matter how well-intentioned—that ended up in the recipient’s re-gift pile. It’s hard to get it right 100% of the time.
Whiteboard President, Kevin Ducey, talks with Jeremy Katen from Cutco Knives about how increasing the quality of your closing gifts will result in repeat business.
If you’re in sales, particularly high-ticket items like mortgages, chances are you’re in a regular gift-giving mode. It’s part of the deal. Jeremy Katen, area director for Cutco, the 70-year-old cutlery company, specializes in closing gifts for realtors and loan officers. Not surprisingly, those gifts are kitchen knife sets.
He said the idea for giving knives as gifts started when a handful of realtors and lenders—Cutco knife owners themselves—got tired of giving customers consumable gifts like gift cards, fruit baskets, and flowers.
“People like gifts but what they realized is that there is no long-term value in any of those gifts,” Katen says. “They’re not serving their client or themselves for the long term.”
Katen argues people will fall in love with Cutco knives because they’re high quality and will be used for the next 30 or 40 years. He says that most salespeople don’t look at these gifts as an opportunity to brand themselves but should (the knives are engraved with the realtor or lender’s name, number, and logo).
No matter what your thoughts are on kitchen knives, research by gift company Knack supports the idea of quality over quantity because “people associate gifts with a level of luxury they might not ordinarily splurge on for themselves.”
In addition to quality, recipients rated these attributes as positively influencing the opinion of a gift: selected just for me, includes a personal message, has my name or initials on it. However, 65% of respondents said their last gift was clearly not selected just for them.
The study also found that reinforcing a company’s values is important for the majority of gift receivers. The most preferred values for gifts were the following:
- Made in the USA
- From a small business
- Gives back in some way
- Handmade or artisan
Katen hit the nail on the head. “This is about giving something high quality and for the long-term. This is an alignment with the salesperson’s values which is giving a quality service and brands them that way,” he says.
If you’re wondering specifically what to give your customer there are hundreds of ideas online. But you can’t go wrong with a quality gift, made in the US, selected specifically for your client with a personalized message.