During a recent business trip, we received notice that a FedEx package had to be signed for by a 21-year-old recipient. A welcome departure from most adult responsibilities, this notice was both exciting and mysterious!
My husband and I pondered what it could be and who could have sent it. And during our first day home, my exuberance raised some eyebrows when the doorbell rang and I loudly announced that I would get the door!
One of our business partners had generously sent a few bottles of excellent wine ahead of the holidays, along with a thoughtful and clever note (my inner nerd always appreciates a “punny” joke).
The whole experience got me thinking about a strategy I often share with our advisor clients: don’t just send thoughtful gifts. Send gifts thoughtfully… and create suspense in the process!
This example accomplished both. It was the first gift we received this holiday season, which made it notable. It arrived ahead of Thanksgiving, which made it immediately usable in a context that associated the giver with a happy occasion. AND it created, perhaps unintentionally, real suspense in the process of receiving, which made the ultimate receipt of the gift that much more exciting and memorable.
To recreate the same impact for your own clients, by design:
Avoid sending gifts mid-holiday season – gifts are less expected, and therefore more notable, before Thanksgiving or after New Years
Send gifts that people use when they are at their best, which helps attach a positive association to both your gift and your relationship
Enclose a thoughtful, clever, or heartfelt message (authenticity is key)
Create suspense prior to receipt by calling just before the gift is shipped to do three things:
Let them know a “little something” is on its way
Give them the heads up it’s coming to ensure someone will be around to receive/ retrieve the delivery
Demonstrate a scenario in which your phone call is not business related
This last, rarely done step, not only helps improve the answer rate for future outbound calls, it creates an element of anticipation, which releases dopamine and can also amplify the benefits of sending a gift. According to Neurologist Gerhard Roth and a DW article about the neurology of anticipation, creating anticipation about a gift or surprise “can have an even stronger effect than occurrence of the actual anticipated event” itself.
Happy holidays! And happy gifting!