When, Why, and What Gifts to Give Your Clients and Prospects
Gift-giving as a practice can be seen as taboo in certain business circles, but that doesn’t mean you have to be nervous about showing your appreciation to clients both current and potential. It doesn’t have to be complicated, either. There’s simply a wrong way (a really, really wrong way) to do it and a right way. And the right way starts with timing.
Capitalize on Good Times
This doesn’t always mean give gifts at meetings and greetings. In fact, it mostly means don’t do that. When you’re meeting with a client or prospect, direct all your focus on them. Listen to what they’re saying, what they’re not saying, and keep your eyes and ears attuned for openings into which you can place yourself and your product. Put all your effort into being an accommodating and assertive brand representative.
Capitalizing on good times means reinforcing those good times. A day or two after the meeting, prepare your gift, along with a meaningful thank-you note or letter, and send it to your client. This will remind the client that you are interested and that you appreciate them taking the time and effort to meet with you. It prolongs the client interaction and solidifies you and your business’s presence in their mind.
Note: Gift-giving should not be a meeting-exclusive practice or something you only do around the holidays. To continue to show your appreciation and client-awareness, give “random” small gifts throughout the year.
Family is the one thing your client will always care about more than themselves, so keep that in mind while you are meeting with them and while you are preparing your gifts. Gifting to the client’s family shows that you paid attention and that you care about more than just the pocketbook.
Note: Gifting to more people within your client’s organization can work in a similar fashion. If they feel connected to and respected by you, they will communicate those positive feelings back to your client and lobby in your favor.
Giving the Right Gift
Now that you know when and to whom to give your gifts, what will you get them?
This can be a little tricky. You want to really show your appreciation, and you might fret over the imaginary need to buy them something expensive. You want to not look like you’re trying too hard, but you don’t want to be the millionth person that buys them a notepad. It’s important to remember that quality doesn’t have to mean expensive; simple doesn’t have to mean boring.
My favorite gifts from them are things that I can use – things like the Oregon Love mug which can be found in some of our Boxes. These are things that don’t have to be your product itself but are useful, ornamental, memorable, and last for a good while, and thus are constantly reinforcing a positive experience.
The most important thing is to listen to your client, what sort of things they do at or outside work, and gift accordingly. For example, I exercise regularly so reusable water bottles are real money-savers. I also collect knick-knacks because they open up stories that I can tell, so accessories like wristbands and lanyards are just things I enjoy receiving and having around. Just pay attention to what your client says and what they like, and gift appropriately!