Sending Clients Gifts

October 20, 2017

Should you send your clients gifts to finish an engagement? Today we’re talking all about client gifts (and employee/collaboration gifts!). We’re talking about the benefits of client gifts, how to work them into your process, and whether or not they should be part of your process too.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
"The trick for client gifts is you need to work it into your system."
- Kathleen Shannon


More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Kathleen Shannon 0:02
Hey boss, did you know that we're always hosting live hangouts boss webinars in person meetups and vacations. We're also creating a lot of content over here at being boss and we don't want you to miss out on the thing. The best way to stay updated is by joining our newsletter list, just go to, where you can learn more about our in person and online events, sign up for our newsletter and never miss out on a thing.

Emily Thompson 0:29
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Kathleen Shannon 1:17
Okay, so we don't have a specific question around this. But it's something that I think about all the time and I feel honestly a little bit of guilt around or I feel like it's something I should be doing. I just don't do well enough client gifts

Emily Thompson 1:30
today is a coaching coaching a therapy session for Kathleen and her guilt around sending gifts to clients. Perfect.

Kathleen Shannon 1:39
All right, what do you think about client gifts? Do you do them? Yes or no? What's your process?

Emily Thompson 1:42
Yeah, we send them so whenever a client Oh, it's really great. So client gifts were something that I always wanted to do. Because I was always on Pinterest or on blogs of cute brands that I liked who had these client gifts, a little packages that were the most bomb ass things that ever seen. And one I wanted one for myself. And two, I wanted to give something really awesome to my clients like just a really good thank you for trusting me with all the things that I do. So it was on my to do list literally for like three years and something that I just kept pushing to the bottom because it needed to be amazing. And I had the hardest time coming up with the best idea ever. So it was on the back burner for a really long time. But whenever we launched indie boom, like our high priced long term engagements, I thought, if ever, there's a time to do a really rad client gift it is now so I buckled down. And we created a really rad client gift to send our indie boom clients. And it was a little nice little curated box with some jackin Rudy tonic, which is small batch hipster ass tonic that you use to make cocktails, as well as a couple of recipe cards and a thank you note. And so just like a really simple little box that we put together that we send to all of our clients whenever they book with us for an indie boom project. And it's also kind of, we send out a little questionnaire and the last question on it is always like, what's your favorite cocktail. So there's a little bit of like, a little bit of foreshadowing going on in our intake process. And they get this really cool little box with some really great tonic and some cocktail recipes. And we want them to have a party because they just rocked out their business.

Kathleen Shannon 3:30
I love that. And you guys can't see Emily right now. But she held up two peace signs, double peace signs. And she said rock out their business got their business. So I love that I have had a really hard time with.

Emily Thompson 3:43
It's hard it is

Kathleen Shannon 3:45
and I think the trick is you need to put it in your system like it, there needs to be a system around it. Just like your client onboarding system, you need to kind of have an onboarding system that includes client gifts. And so I've started to try to work it into my system. I had it on my Asana, I tasked it out, I actually got a hold of Lindsey Kluge, who we've had on as a guest. And I love using like the idea of supporting other bosses in my client gifts. And she was a client of mine, so I'm not sure what I would send her. But um, I love the idea of sending out tea samples and I even asked her if she could get the little tea

Emily Thompson 4:21

Kathleen Shannon 4:22
Yeah, if she can even get the Tea steepers and send those. And so basically, I set it up a system with her where all I would have to do is have a spreadsheet with their addresses and what they're getting. I would actually fill out thank you cards and then mail them to her so that she had a thank you card written by me that she could include in the packet. So she would be handling all the fulfillment and delivery and all the stuff that kind of makes me anxious. That's honestly what's held me back from claiming gifts is I hate going to the post office.

Emily Thompson 4:53
I completely agree. So it's part of our process in that whenever like it's part sending out a client gift is part of our Like a project template and Asana, so it's part of our process for onboarding a new client. And Chris handles it for me. So she has all like the pieces of the puzzle. And she just takes care of all of it for me, which has made it really easy because again, if it was, like in my hands, then David would probably do.

Kathleen Shannon 5:19
So do you think that client gifts are always a good idea?

Emily Thompson 5:22
Yes, we get more like, sincere, excited thank yous from gifts, or from clients getting these unexpected gifts, that it just really starts off a project in a really good way that you just can't, whenever you're not putting that extra bit of thought, and do an engagement. And again, we didn't do it always. And I've had plenty of happy clients who did not get client gifts. But whenever it came to really upping our game, in terms of the service that we were offering, we started offering a really like high end high priced product or service, then it was really important for me to make it really a priority in my business. So I don't think they're necessary by any means. I think that if you have a really solid process, and you have amazing customer service skills, and you have the ability to give your clients what they need, and make them happy at the same time, then a client gift is not necessary. But it is like the cherry on top like you can have a sundae without a cherry on top. But it's much better when it is there.

Kathleen Shannon 6:26
I like that. And I feel like in the braid method, we have not been great about sending out client gifts. And one of the things that we felt was that our process was the gift. I know that sounds like really conceited. And then I feel I started to feel really guilty because my clients are sending me gifts. And I'm like, No, no, it should be the other way around. I should be sending you a gift. And I also want to work it into our system for sending guests like our podcast guests gift.

Emily Thompson 6:57

Kathleen Shannon 6:58
Um, so I think that actually part of it that would be really helpful for me to make it a part of my system is in the onboarding process, simply getting their address, like simply getting their mailing address in the onboarding process, which you can do through acuity scheduling, getting all the information that you need, there to onboard a client is just a good way to do it. Okay, so I'm committing to client gifts, we need to do it for our podcast guests. Also, there is no reason why it is a bad idea to send someone a little Thank you. It doesn't have to be fancy.

Emily Thompson 7:30
No, but it does have to be thoughtful. And I think like a great way to add an extra bit of thoughtfulness there is the handwritten thank you note piece. I think that is that's the cherry on top of the cherry on top.

Kathleen Shannon 7:44
You know, one of the first gifts I ever got? I don't know if it's a client gift or not. But you got me a Birchbox subscription for my birthday. A few beside it, because you liked me or because I was your client?

Emily Thompson 7:58
Neither I'm sure. It couldn't have been either of those. Um, I don't remember,

Kathleen Shannon 8:06
I think it well, you're a good gift giver is all I'm trading things.

Emily Thompson 8:11
Well, and I think honestly, that's probably again been the thing that's held us back from being like going out and implementing the being boss wins is it's so important to me that they're so thoughtful that the idea of just like sending a thing is like well, why bother? Whenever like it has to be the thing. So I will put some thought into what the thing is. And we can go from there.

Kathleen Shannon 8:33
Okay, I also love the idea of starting an Evernote or a spreadsheet where once I see something cool, I'm collecting it in like a cool gift. And then once I'm interviewing someone or maybe someone does us like a big favor like Sarah Becker, Lillard, for example, did all of our photography on our website, she's amazing and we needed to get her gift we were going to get her deck of tarot cards while we were in New Orleans and then we were like we didn't know if maybe that was conflicting with her. Fate her sweet little

Emily Thompson 9:05
love Mason, Sarah Becca Lillard. I know. So we ended up and we ended up just getting her like a really good amazon giftcard. Because girl loves her books. And whenever I was thinking about what she needs, she just wants some books. And I was like, fine, I can I can do that. Um, so yeah, I think I think just working in the gift giving to as many of your processes as possible. And I think that the key there is plenty making them a part of your process. Like, if it's this extra thing you have to think about and this extra thing you have to remember, you're not going to do it like I don't do it like it's fine. But if you work it into the process you do for every single client or for every single you know, interview that we do, then it's not a thing. It just is part of our process. So I agree, I think that I think there are really important not necessary by any means, but important. And the way you make it happen is to work it into your system. And that's like collecting the information at the right time or having it in hand. At Indy, we do that as part of our onboarding, like, we contract with an address. So that's easily part of our process there. At being boss. It's certainly like getting the information as we're scheduling of people to interview with us, or whenever we're getting their headshots or whatever it is, there are several places that we can do that. But making it part of the process to gather the information, but also have it sent out. I love that you've done that with Lindsay from Ginger tonic botanicals to make it again, just another piece that is sort of off your head,

Kathleen Shannon 10:35
I haven't followed through yet. thank you cards.

Emily Thompson 10:42

Kathleen Shannon 10:44
on the process.

Emily Thompson 10:47
To finish the process, I challenge you now Kathleen,

Kathleen Shannon 10:50
and I just can't do the work, I need to just do to

Emily Thompson 10:52
do the work since and then make people smile.

Kathleen Shannon 10:55
I know. And you know, that's whenever I'm hearing you talk about gift giving. It's just a good reminder that there's so much of a difference like even around holidays, or birthdays, whenever you're buying gifts, and you're just trying to like check off the list of gift giving and you're getting stuff haphazardly. And then you feel like a bad environmentalist and a bad gift giver and battle around versus giving a really meaningful gift. It's almost more fun for the person giving the gift than it is for the person receiving it. And so I think remembering that as a part of the process is that I'm not giving a gift out of obligation, I'm giving a gift because I really love my clients and I've really loved working with them even. So I've got clients on my list from three years ago that I never sent a gift that I'm planning on sending a little thank you note to just saying like, Hey, thank you for helping me get to where I am in my business, you were a part of it, I loved getting to work with you. That just I and that's another thing is I feel like I never have a good amount of closure in my process. Because our process is so limited to like a one time engagement. We don't have a lot of retainer clients, that it's kind of like our last Skype session is kind of like Okay, bye. You know, it doesn't feel like there's like a good amount of closure in it. And I think gift giving would be a good way to kind of close the engagement in a really positive, uplifting way.

Emily Thompson 12:16
Yeah, I agree. I think another way to do this. So if you can't work it into your ongoing system, or that's just not something you want to deal with, especially if you're total solopreneur you don't have things to do thing or people to do things for you. Christmas or holiday if you're not a Christmas or holiday gifts, I think are really great solution for this. So whenever I wasn't doing Christmas gifts, I was doing holiday gifts, so I wasn't sending one like as a project bait began or as a project ended by a Christmas I would do gifts for all of the clients that I had had that year or any clients that were still on retainer. And I think that's just as those just as okay to do this in the extra little something during the annual time of gift giving.

Kathleen Shannon 13:01
And so I wanted to mention that we are actually pretty good about doing annual employee gifts and or you know, creative collaborator gifts. So we always send you something a little something at Christmas, we send our right hand gal, our brand director Liz we always send her a gift. So yeah, we're I feel like we're really good about that. But just not so much with the clients.

Emily Thompson 13:25
Yeah, employee gifts are really important too. That's something that we always try to do really well. Both holiday but also birthdays, like I love birthdays, birthdays, or I am one of those creepy people that knows most people's birthday. Like if you tell me like I know people I went to high school with like, I still know their birthdays. So I really like doing birthday gifts for employees, actually. So here's another fun little thing that we do at Indie, for clients, and birthdays because I love birthdays so much. So part of our onboarding questionnaire is one What's your favorite cocktail and your address and all those important things, but also when's your birthday and then part of our system is creating like scheduling up a jib jab, for that will be sent out automatically on their birthday. And jib jab is like an online service that does these really quirky little, like you cut and paste your face into these little like cartoony things that dance around on these digital cards.

Kathleen Shannon 14:25
I feel like I get those from your family on every holiday.

Emily Thompson 14:28
It's really the de minimis. Yeah, we send them out for major holidays. We send them out for birthdays like we do. We try to have really like a whole lot of fun with these things because birthdays and holidays and like all in starting and ending big projects. Like we preach celebrating milestones, like we preach like, you know, enjoying the small things like as well as the big things and that's just, that's just another way that we put those things into action in people Love it like people get the best little laughs out of doing that, I think we have a job job subscription. That's like a couple bucks a month, like maybe five bucks a month. It is not expensive. It pre schedules everything out. It's part of our like whole process of doing things. And it really adds some like happiness to the projects and like relationships that we have with our clients. So there are several things that you can do there. I've also had clients send me gifts from, like, you know, those little services, what like paper post or something, I don't know, that may not even be what it is that I do like little curated gift boxes. And so you know, if you're a gardener, you can get this little gift or if you like cocktails, it's like this little gift set or whatever. Like you can even do things like that. But there are services out there that may gift giving really easy and then jab jab is spot on.

Kathleen Shannon 15:52
But if I start getting on everyone's job list, unsubscribe.

Emily Thompson 15:58
Oh, they're so funny though. We could watch them all day. Chris does that I can't even look at it. I will spiral and do a jab, jab, abyss.

Kathleen Shannon 16:10
I love it. All right. Well, I'm motivated to send some gifts do it. This minisode was brought to you by Twenty20. Check them out at That's t w e n t y 20 as in the slash being boss.

Emily Thompson 16:30
Did you like this minisode Be sure to check us out on our website at There you can find more from being boss including our full episodes minisodes and blog posts. And while you're there, be sure to sign up for our mailing list so that you can get access to behind the scenes and exclusive content from Kathleen and myself to help you be more boss in your work and life. Do the work be boss