Learn What Clients Love (and What Gift Mistakes to Avoid)
If you’re wondering whether client gifting can help your business relationships, the answer is a huge, resounding YES! Gifts are a fantastic way of showing client appreciation, building trust, and creating positive associations with your brand. However, there are ways to maximise the impact of your gift, and some gifting faux pas that you’ll want to avoid. Stick to the following strategies and you’ll have clients raving about your thoughtful, creative gifts for years to come:
1) Know Who the Gift is For
Throughout the year, keep a list of the people and businesses you would like to show appreciation for. Before you send anything out, you’ll need to plan if you are sending a gift directly to one person, several smaller gifts to a team of people, or whether you need a gift that can be shared amongst an entire office. Only recognising part of a team may leave a bad impression, so be sure to keep careful notes (and double-check name spellings while you’re at it).
In addition to clients, remember to recognise consultants who gave your business valuable advice, or someone who helped by referring new clients to you. A small thank you gift can go a long way in ensuring that these all-stars stay motivated to help and support you in the future!
2) Timing is Everything
It’s good etiquette to send something to all of your company’s clients at least once a year to show that you’re thinking of them. The holiday season is a popular (and sometimes, expected) time to give. If you choose to give during the holidays, be sure to stand out by giving a unique, personalised gift that won’t get lost in the Christmas crowd.
Alternatively, you can take advantage of the notice you’ll get by sending gifts when your client least expects it. Show that you’ve been paying special attention to them by recognizing their birthday, or by celebrating another important milestone. For business clients, you could send a gift when they’ve completed a large project, received an industry award, or launched a new product. They’ll be flattered that you’ve noticed and want to celebrate their success.
Clients will also appreciate your gift if it is something they could really use right now. Are you helping your client to celebrate their real estate settlement? Rather than send flowers, consider giving a collection of lasting, higher-end items that will help them settle into their new home. Products like candles, high-quality tea towels, scented hand soaps, and a lovely bottle of wine make for a classy and cosy combo.
3) Get Personal
To avoid a gift that seems generic or last-minute, give hand-crafted gifts or gifts that have been customised just for your client and their tastes. When sending out multiple client gifts at once, consider ordering from a gifting service with multiple styles or options to choose from. That way you can give your client’s something with a similar theme, but personalise their gifts to reflect the unique relationship you have with each of them.
Unsure of your client’s personal tastes? High-quality consumable products are a safe and well-appreciated way to go. A nice bottle of wine or French champagne alongside gourmet sweets or savoury snacks are a tried-and-true favourite; plus, they can be easily shared amongst an office team.
4) Dress (Your Gift) to Impress
Make your first impression count! Part of standing out means paying attention to packaging. Using branded, customised packaging can be a tasteful way to leave a lasting, positive impression of your business. A beautifully presented gift can command the attention of the whole office the moment it is delivered.
When it comes to some of your VIP clients, you might also consider the thoughtful impact of presenting your gift in packaging personalised with your client’s initials or business name. This alternate strategy makes them the star of the moment, and shows that their gift is undeniably one-of-a-kind.
No matter how you choose to customise your gift’s packaging, you can save time and achieve beautiful results by using vendors who specialise in creating custom orders.
5) Include a Handwritten Note
In the age of digital communication, including a good old-fashioned handwritten note can go a long way in making your gesture memorable. Research on the benefits of handwritten thank-you notes shows that most people underestimate just how happy others are to receive them. Handwritten notes also boost positive emotions and well-being for both the recipient and the giver. Now that you know the science is on your side, be sure to include handwritten notes with your gifts!
What you write in each note doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just greeting the client by name and including a quick message telling them how much they are appreciated can go a long way. If you are ordering online and can’t handwrite a note yourself, use a gift company that can attach a handwritten note with a message you have personalised. The recipient will still enjoy all of the feel-good benefits!
6) Determine the Right Price
If everything in your business is top-of-the-line, sending something cheap when showing your appreciation could hurt your image. Gifting a $10 mug when your client is spending $5,000 a month with you could come across as stingy and a bit insulting. Still, you don’t have to break the bank: a thoughtful, customised gift can be even more meaningful than an expensive one.
Also, keep in mind that a gift that is overly expensive could embarrass your client and make them feel pressured to continue doing business with you. According to John Ruhlin, author of Giftology, a gift of around $50- $200 is your client gifting sweet spot: generous, yet not too extravagant.
For professional clients, be sure to check with their HR or reception to see if there are any restrictions or price limits on the gifts they are allowed to accept. Government agencies and officials may be subject to especially strict guidelines. Researching and respecting any gifting policies will prevent you from putting yourself and your client in an awkward position.
Finally, keep gift values consistent amongst clients. You never know which clients may know each other, and it could hurt your business if you go above-and-beyond for one client while gifting some leftover promo merchandise to another. Play it safe and give thoughtfully to all; the extra investment will be worth it in the end.
Quality gifts are a simple way to show how much you appreciate your clients and their businesses. By catering to your clients’ individual tastes and customising the gift just for them, they will think fondly of you every time they use it.
For maximum impact, stand out by sending the gift at the right time; and make sure your gift is beautifully presented and includes a handwritten card. Done right, client gifting helps to build long-term trust and appreciation, which can increase referrals and retention rates. Not only do you get to feel good by giving someone a gift they will genuinely treasure, but the gifts you give could lead to increased opportunities for your business in the future.
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