The Best Gift You Could Ever Give – and How to Offer It

My friend Jen spends so much time shopping for “the perfect gift” that she starts her Christmas shopping in August. Valentine’s Day? Yeah, she’s usually got that wrapped up before New Year's Day.

And that’s if she hasn't had much free time to hit the stores.

See, Jen doesn’t look for gifts that are practical or that her friends will use. She looks for gifts that will knock ‘em off their feet so they ooooh and ahhh and sometimes even exclaim, “Holy sh*t! This is awesome!”

Her husband Dave is a completely different story altogether.

Dave’s the kind of guy that runs into the store half an hour before closing on the special day and grabs something smelly, yummy, pretty, or sexy. If he can score on all points, it's even better.

I didn't think much of the differences in their shopping habits until I read an article by Susan Weinshenk, a Ph.D. who conducted a study of contemporary male and female gift-giving practices. What started out as the study of one thing quickly evolved into something else entirely – you can read the details of her study here.

Dr. Weinshenk uncovered some big differences in how men and women shop for gifts, and here are some key takeaways from her article that you can apply to your massage therapy practice – because let's face it, who doesn't like the gift of a free massage?

How to Sell Gift Certificates to Women for Their Guy

Women want to buy the RIGHT gift. The gift that intuitively, yet practically, captures the attention of the man who receives it. Remember my fanatical gift-giving friend Jen? Pretty much like that.

When selling gifts certificates for therapy to women, make sure you emphasize your ability to tailor your service to the needs of their loved ones. That is, market your gift certificate and services as a package designed for men.

Make the gift certificate attractive with "manly" elements of design, like black or dark backgrounds with no fluff and flowers. If you can, include a few detailed testimonials from guys who have already received a massage gift certificate – this helps them know that they're not the first dude about to lay on the table for what's traditionally considered a "girly" service.

Offer gift certificates to your clients throughout the year, and give them an extra mention when special holidays are coming up.

How to Sell Gift Certificates to Men for Their Lady

Men play it safe. They want to buy the right gift too, but they're thinking more along the traditional, symbolic, and “There's-no-way-I-can-f*ck-this-up” type of gift.

Oh, and they like to buy BIG things. Because big means they love you more. Duh.

So when you're selling gift certificates to men, package it up with bigger and better. Massage gift certificates aren't the main feature – they're the “little extra” to the traditional items, the frosting on the cake.

For example, a Valentine’s Day gift certificate could be bundled with a few traditional gifts like flowers, chocolate, or lingerie. Make friends with florists and candy shop owners. You can arrange beautiful baskets easily by contacting other businesses in your town, and they'll probably be happy to pitch in for the marketing boost you're offering.

Create bright, huge point-of-purchase displays and limit choices to 1 or 2 distinct packages – don't give guys too much choice. Add gift certificates that are large and attractive, using quality paper and printing, and choose an elegant design geared towards women. Maybe even a vintage design.

Avoid ANY cheapness like bright pink, because you want to portray your services as high-end and really worth it.

Guys will appreciate this "ready to go" approach because you make their job of buying a gift easier. That’s very, very good for you.

Time It Right

It's a waste to advertise your gift certificates or baskets more than a month ahead of time for men – they're last-minute shoppers. For women, you can afford to advertise earlier because they'll want to be prepared. So time your pitches based on gender – earlier for women, later for men.

How about you? Do you offer gift certificates? Have they worked well for you? What kind of holiday offers do you have?

Remember, gift givers care more about how their gift will be received than what they get in return. Help them help others -- that's the ticket.



I'm sending his over to my hubs- right away!
Really great ideas!

I shop the easy, order my goods and have them shipped to the recipient. Love my method, hate malls!

leigh's picture

Creme we are on the same wavelength! -- that must be why we're such Etsy fans. I love getting custom goodies made -- sometimes I've waited months for the perfect item to arrive :)

I have to confess that I fall into the category of buying gifts at the last moment for my girl friend. She always seems ten steps ahead of me when it comes to giving gifts. This past Christmas she already bought my present in October while I was shopping online at the last minute for her. I wasn't exactly sure why but I know I'm not alone. Hopefully with Valentine's Day coming up I can nab her a gift that doesn't need rush shipping.

This is what I do with my James: two weeks before the anticipated gift-giving event, I clearly spell out 3-4 gifts I would enjoy receiving and would be happy to use or consume. Sometimes, to make his life easier, I will make mention of the store where they can be purchased. I leave the list on his dresser, or put it on the refrigerator.
He gets the message daily, and more often if he gets hungry! This way he doesn't have to worry his noggin about getting 'the perfect gift' or spending too much (or too little) because there is variety in the gift ideas.
Of course, he doesn't do this for me, just asks me to make him a gourmet meal and a great bottle of wine. So that's easy, and predictable, but if it makes him happy, who am I to dissuade him? But I usually gift him with a needed piece of clothing, which he appreciates, since like most men he hates to shop at malls.
So ask your intended to give you a list; it will be a surprise anyway, because she won't know what you'll chose.

Several thoughts come to mind reading the post and the comments. First, about getting men to accept the idea that a massage is a needed, PRACTICAL (read as male-mind) gift; the best way for that to happen is for one man to hear it from another man. I bet my young-man son would give testimonials until he was blue in the face about the physical benefits of receiving a massage from Leigh (he works as an EMT and plays tennis and sometimes he injures himself in the process of either). And about the male/female preferences: while this is mostly true, be aware that some of us "girls" want something small, useful, and not too bulky to carry around (in which case a business card is better than an 8x10 beautiful glossy photo gift certificate; and SOME men actually want to be surprised, and WANT you to go through all that Leigh's friend Jen does - because to them, that shows how much they are loved. They may not be the majority according to any published studies; but they are out there. The important thing to remember here is to first figure out what type of recipient you are buying/creating for prior to making time or money investments in gifts.