Are you at a loss coming up with great holiday presents for your customers?
You’re not alone. It can be challenging to find the right ways to show your appreciation without alienating or offending anyone. A great gift could increase the amount of business a client does with you. A bad one could end your relationship… It happens.
Check out our guidelines for choosing gifts that will make the right impression on all the people you do business with:
1. Don’t get everyone the same thing.
Sure, it’s faster and easier to order all the people on your list the same tin of gourmet popcorn, cookie basket or case of wine. It’s also the perfect way to show you don’t care all that much. Nothing communicates that you don’t know your clients very well like a generic gift.
Show your thoughtfulness by selecting presents that are personal and meaningful.
Start with a list of your clients. Add information about their interests and the things they enjoy. If you’re not sure, check with their sales or client service reps, or do some research on social media, which should offer some clues.
Next, find a gift that reflects their interests. For example, a cookbook is a great option for an amateur chef. Take it to the next level by adding a personal message to the opening page. It will make them think of you — and your business — every time they cook-up a new or favorite recipe.
2. Customize your gifts.
It’s likely that your customers will get a lot of gifts this holiday season. Find a way to add your logo or a message so they know it’s from you. Be thoughtful and discreet about how you customize things. Make sure items aren’t so “logo-ized” people won’t want to use them.
3. Gift cards are okay, if…
People love to buy things for themselves. It’s why gift cards are so popular… and ubiquitous.
Do you remember who gave you your last Amazon or Starbucks card? Probably not.
Don’t give gift cards that seem too generic. Select ones that align with the interests of your clients. Gift golfers with a card for a unique golf store. Foodies always appreciate a free — or significantly subsidized — meal at a trendy restaurant. Being thoughtful will transform what could be a very generic present into a highly personal — and appreciated — one.
4. Spend the right amount.
Pull a report of how much business you do with each client. Then scale your gift spend based on it. It’s just as bad to spend too much on gifts as too little. Buying a client that generates only $200 worth of revenue at $300 gift might be viewed as fiscally irresponsible. It could send them off to find a vendor or supplier that uses their money more carefully.
5. Don’t limit gifting to the holiday season.
Why limit gift-giving to a one-time impression in December? Instead, send a series of monthly gifts, such as a wine of the month, or smaller tokens during the year. It will keep you and your business from disappearing in the holiday clutter. Instead, you’ll stay top-of-mind when customers make purchase decisions throughout the year.
6. Avoid being too holiday-specific.
A lot of holidays fall at the end of the year. And it’s likely that people in your client base don’t recognize all of them. Be thoughtful and don’t send a gift that reflects a holiday someone may not celebrate. Or, if you know what individual customers celebrate, select gifts that align with their interests and beliefs. Another idea: Honor the two holidays most people recognize, Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Most clients will appreciate an extra pumpkin or apple pie — or bottle of champaign.
7. Share an experience.
A present doesn’t have to be a thing. It can also be an experience. Have your sales reps take your clients out to a show, game or meal they’ll enjoy. In addition to being a memorable way to commemorate the holidays, it could provide a way to start discussing working together in the year ahead.
8. Holiday cards
Holiday cards are a good and inexpensive way to add a communication touchpoint at the end of the year. Make sure you choose ones with images and messages everyone will appreciate and that won’t alienate anyone in your client base. Also, don’t use the “mass pass” tactic for signing cards. Clients won’t appreciate receiving a card from people they don’t know. Instead, identify the ones who work on each client’s team and have them write personalized messages that express appreciation for working together.