I love walking through mortgage industry trade shows because it gives me the opportunity to look at the latest giveaways at each booth.

These giveaways are typically inexpensive and represent a great way for companies to get their name in front of their target audience. But they are effective only if attendees pick them up. So they need to grab attention.

Some of these giveaways even outlive the company; I still use my Option One spatula when I make pancakes and eggs.

At last month's Regional Conference of Mortgage Bankers Associations meeting in Atlantic City, plenty of booths had the usual items for attendees to pick up such as hand sanitizer and notebooks.

But there was one item that was in a lot of booths at the residential trade show. It is a connector that allows a USB cable to be plugged into what used to be known as the cigarette lighter in your car. That might be the hot item of the moment; hot items of years past include cell phone holders for your car, yo-yos and retractable phone cords (to connect your laptop to a telephone).

Small-balance commercial lender Cherrywood Commercial probably had the most unique item at its booth, a coloring book along with crayons.

Remember, these giveaways don't have to be distributed at trade shows. What do you take to your referral partners or give to your applicants that can sit on their desk or be used every day that keeps your name in front of them?