2013 Client Holiday Gift Giving Guide

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I was responsible for the client holiday gift catalogue at a previous employer, and selecting more than 20 gifts that were distributed by more than 400 employees to their clients was quite a task! I …

I was responsible for the client holiday gift catalogue at a previous employer, and selecting more than 20 gifts that were distributed by more than 400 employees to their clients was quite a task! I must admit that the process was fun ― who wouldn’t like tasting decadent treats and “testing” products?! With the holiday gift giving season quickly approaching, I wanted to share some of my tips and best practices.

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  • 1. 2013 Client Holiday Gift Giving Guide I was responsible for the client holiday gift catalogue at a previous employer, and selecting more than 20 gifts that were distributed by more than 400 employees to their clients was quite a task! I must admit that the process was fun ― who wouldn’t like tasting decadent treats and “testing” products?! With the holiday gift giving season quickly approaching, I wanted to share some of my tips and best practices. First, I think that your approach should depend on the size of your organization. Assembling a onesize-fits-all gift list may be an efficient option for a large organization, but if you’re a smaller company you have the luxury of taking a more personal approach. One that starts by defining your audience (recipients who would receive a gift) and allows for more personalization. The “Who” of Gift-Giving If you are just starting to put some thought into your client holiday gift list, these recommendations may help you. A good place to start is with your recipient list. It should include: • • • • Long-term clients that are integral to your business Former clients who you haven’t spoken to in awhile but who have had an impact on your business Suppliers or sub-contractors that work with you on a regular basis Any other individuals that have had a direct impact on the success of your business Avoid giving gifts to prospects – it may inappropriately seem as if you are trying to “buy” them as a client. What to Give Once your list is ironed out, deciding what to give is the hardest step. You or a member of your team have likely learned enough about your clients throughout the year to determine what type of gift is appropriate. If not, make sure to keep a list of their interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes moving forward – it’s a small step that will help facilitate future gift planning. You could also get creative and use the internet as a guide for your gift giving. Visit their Twitter profile (and Facebook page if you’re already friends) and check out their posts for inspiration. Chances are you may come across a conversation or two that offer some suggestions. Taking the Stress Out of Client Gifts Keep these tips in mind when making your final gift purchases: • Establish a budget up front. It’s a fine line between extravagant and cheap – watch it carefully. Most importantly, remember to adhere to laws and
  • 2. • • • • regulations when it comes to gift giving. Is it ethical and legal for the recipient to receive a gift and what can the maximum value be? Find out what’s legal before you make a purchase. Make it personal. Who doesn’t love a heartfelt, fun, useful and memorable gift? But above all else, because of the personal connection you have with clients, make gifts specific to them. For example, if clients own a Kindle or Nook, sending an eBook can make for a thoughtful and inexpensive gift. Build on your relationship. If you’re thinking it’s too soon in the relationship to send a gift, you’re probably right. Giving too early in a business relationship may not be a smart move. Send them a card this year and work up to a gift. Skip boring. Forget that tired, predictable calendar ― think of gifts that the recipient wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves, but would be happy to own. Gifts like a fine bottle of wine, gourmet coffee club membership, 3-month breakfast club, etc. will serve as a lasting reminder of you and your business. Just say no…to self-promotion. There’s no definitive rule that you should not brand a holiday gift, but be careful not to use your gift as a means of free advertising for your company. This is the one time of year where you just really want to show your appreciation without asking for anything in return. Whatever gift you decide on, make it a memorable and thoughtful one that will leave a lasting impression of your company. And my last piece of advice to you is… after having spent so much time and energy selecting that perfect gift, whenever possible, make an effort to hand deliver it with a hand written note. Regardless of the type of delivery, though, have it arrive no later than the second week in December. What other helpful holiday gift giving tips can you think of? We’d love to hear them!