We do a lot of client gifting for companies big and small, and over the past 30 years, we have learned a thing or two about what makes a memorable impression. If you are going to make the effort to send a corporate gift to your customer, then do it right!
Our experience has shown us that there are some definite rules to client gifting. Today we share 3 “Do’s” and 3 “Don’ts” that everyone should know before sending a client gift.
1. DO – Send the Unexpected
Ordering 2018 calendars to mail out as holiday gifts again this year? Why not surprise your clients with something different? Believe me, they will be delighted to receive something new. Even if you are on a tight budget, all it takes is a little of your time to find that unexpected token of appreciation. Are you partial to sending your clients fruit baskets? Why not branch out and send chocolate-dipped dried fruit instead?
2. DO – Make it the Right Fit
Match the gift to the occasion. Did your client refer a potential customer to your company? That’s huge! And the gift you send to thank him or her should be comparably substantial. How much could that potential new customer bring to your business in the future? Think about it. This is a time to be generous. Alternatively, if you are sending a gift to say “Happy Birthday” to a client, you can be a little less extravagant.
3. DO – Write a Personal Note
This is essential. One of my pet peeves is a gift message that is not personalized. A general purpose note card that can be used for a number of occasions or for a number of different people may be easier for you, but it only serves to communicate that your client is “just one in the crowd.” However, if you can personalize your note card, even if it’s just to use your client’s name, it will bring so much more meaning to the gift itself. It’s going to make your client feel that you actually thought about him or her and improve your business relationship! The more personal you can make the note, the better your gift will be received.
4. DON’T – Market Your Company
Sending a business gift that has your company logo all over it can feel like getting marketing material in the mail. And that’s not really a gift, is it? If you have a corporate coffee mug or mousepad you want to include with a gift, that’s OK. But, don’t make the entire gift an advertisement. On behalf of a corporate customer of ours, we sent one of our farmhouse cheese baskets to their clients and included a maple cutting board with the company’s logo laser engraved in the corner. It made for a lovely gift without feeling too promotional.
5. DON’T – Make the Gift Impersonal
It’s hard to find a gift that’s personal when you don’t really know the likes and dislikes of your recipient. But don’t resort to an entirely impersonal gift such as an Amazon gift card. Combine that with a generalized gift message (see #3 above in Do’s) and you’ve just sent a client gift that is frosty with feeling and bereft of thought! This is not the sentiment you want to convey when client gifting. If you need to send a gift that will please everyone on your client list while not appearing impersonal, consider the crowd-pleasing, colorful, textural and healthy seasonal fruit basket! This gift is appropriate for all occasions too!
6. DON’T – Send a Throw-Away Gift
Minimalism is a lifestyle trend that I’m seeing being embraced by more and more people. Of course, those of us who live in apartments are always de-cluttering by giving stuff away or throwing stuff out. The last thing people need is to receive another thing that they don’t have use for or room to store.
Instead of adding to your client’s accumulation of stuff, consider sending a consumable gift. A bottle of wine and/or a gourmet food gift basket, for example. Consumable gifts can also be more environmentally friendly. It behooves us to think more carefully about how we inadvertently contribute to trash that is not bio-degradable or ecologically sound. At Manhattan Fruitier, we pay attention to using containers and packing materials for our fruit and gourmet food gifts that are natural, recycled and recyclable.
If you follow these simple guidelines, you will maximize the positive effects of your gesture. In the short term, you will make your client feel singularly special and undeniably appreciated, and that will make you feel good too! In the long term, clients that feel valued are more likely to want to stay, and there are few factors more important to the health and value of your company than the longevity of your customers. Take good care of them!
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