We conducted a survey of people who have bought, sold and built property over the past 10 years in Australia. We wanted to really understand what’s happening in the ‘settlement gift’ market and understand if agents hitting the mark with their settlement gifts.

Settlement gifts make up a substantial amount of marketing dollar spend for the real estate industry so it’s important to know how those gifts are really being received by your clients. As we know measuring the ROI of any marketing activity is just plain smart and with 70% of respondents to our survey receiving a gift on settlement we consider our results well validated by buyers and vendors alike.

So the question is has the industry ever asked their clients whether they like or dislike the gifts they receive? Or if they have, are they getting an honest response from their clients?

The first question we asked in our survey (after the validation questions) was for the respondents to rate their settlement gift out of 10 and would you believe the average rating score was “average” with a mere 5/10. Interesting.

We can decipher from the comments of our respondents is that the poor quality and unthoughtfulness of the gift really let the results down. If you are spending your marketing dollars on settlement gifts, you would want to ensure you’re spending it the right way to maximise your return. Correct. So there seems to be an opportunity for savvy agents to improve their position or WOW factor if you like, if they improve their settlement gift strategy.

We identified through our survey what type of settlement gifts are working for real estate agents and what should be left on the shop shelves. The most popular gifts given were branded promotional items like notepads and wine coolers, vouchers for restaurants in the local area, gift hampers and of course the pop of bubbly was the most common gift given to both buyers and vendors. Whilst these were the most common types of gifts given, there was a mixed reaction by clients.

Branded promo gear is out. 

Whilst branded promotional items are a go-to favourite for most marketers, it was made very clear from the comments by our respondents that this type of gift was not so popular with your clients. With words like ‘generic’ and ‘unthoughtful’ being used to describe the branded items they received from their agent.

Champagne is borderline okay. 

Who doesn’t like champagne? Well some people. A bottle of bubbly seems to be the most popular type of gift to give at settlement according to our survey, and for the most part it was really well received. But. Only for the most part. There was a number of respondents that had specifically told their agent that ‘they didn’t drink’ yet a bottle of champagne was delivered to them anyway.

Vouchers are so-so.

Some people loved getting vouchers to local restaurants and cafes in the area, others said their vouchers went unused particularly if there was restrictions placed on the vouchers. e.g. can only dine on weeknights.

Hampers and personalised gifts were well-received.

Generally people who commented about a gift hamper were raving fans, most liked the inclusion of alcohol and items for the home but only if they were of high quality. An appropriate gift for their situation seemed to be the most well-received as it showed the agent really listened during the sales process.

The value of the gift mattered. 

Buying a house for a lot of people is a major milestone in their lives so giving chocolate and wine from Aldi can be like a kick in the face. Not the kind of feeling you want left with your most recent client.

With referrals being the bread and butter to obtaining new listings. Word of mouth is strong in a local community and that is reflected for both positive and negative experiences. That’s where nurturing the sales process can pay off long term.

In such a competitive landscape right now with thousands of agents competing for each listing, agents need to be looking for any opportunities to get ahead of their competition. So having the right marketing strategy is important to achieving just that. Agents build a brand and reputation in their local community, circles, and network groups by the way they manage every sale, from one auction to the next – each one counts.

Settlement gifts merely make up a part of a bigger marketing strategy, so we asked our respondents to give us a little more insight to the after sales service they received and would have expected. From the results it seems that there is a lot of welcomed opportunity for the agent to stay in contact with the buyer after settlement. You may think that perhaps the buyer isn’t interested in continuing a relationship (they’ve got their house, right) however as the results would have it a whopping 70% of respondents would have liked to hear from their agent within 12 months of the purchase. Now not many industries can boast these stats after a sale. This means there is an opportunity to implement an effective after sales strategy to ultimately return referrals.

Overall it was a great experience running the survey and as the owner of a gift business it’s important we really understand what people like to receive so we are getting the best reactions for our clients (maximising their return) and in turn validating what we do as a gifting service for business.

From the results of the survey we’ve developed a guide to help real estate agents understand the settlement gift market with words from the horse’s mouth. This guide is different: it tells you the practical and honest truth. It’s not a fluff piece.

In our guide we’ve included real statements “what they’re saying” from buyers and vendors and Hot Tips which enable you to bring your A-game when it comes to client gifting. Find out what your clients are really saying about your marketing efforts? What they think of the gifts they’ve received, what worked and what didn’t. How much to spend? And the bigger picture marketing strategy.

Download all the juicy results that any savvy marketer or agent in the real estate industry would love to get their hands on >> click here.