I visited a client the first week of December. I walked into his office and sitting on his desk were boxes of cookies, candy, pretzels and Harry and David. You know what he said to me? “I’ve got a ton of this stuff. Take whatever you want.”
Someone spent their hard earned money buying him one of those gifts. Those could have been your dollars he was giving away. But because there was so much, most of it the same as everything else, none of it was meaningful to him.
The Best Business Gifts
Thank you gifts are important for business owners. Your clients have honored you with their money and trust; it’s right to thank them. Gift giving is also a tool to keep you front of mind with your clients.
The best business gifts do a couple of things. First, they make your customer feel appreciated, or better yet – lavished upon. Second, the best business gifts will evoke a strong, positive emotional response from your customers. Anytime a client feels something positive about you, you are imprinting yourself (and your brand) in your client’s brain. The stronger the emotional reaction, the stronger the imprint. This is what neuromarketing is all about.
Here are some tips to giving extraordinary gifts.
Make Your Gift Personal
Giving an extraordinary gift starts with knowing your clients. What do they like? Better yet, what do they love? Do they have children? Or are their kids furry (pets)? Are they movie-goers, golfers, hunters or book worms? The more personal you make your gift, the more they will love and appreciate it. Sure it’s easier to go to a catalog and order 100 of the same thing to have on hand throughout the year. But that puts you in the category of being generic. Is that really what you want to be?
Give an Experience
A consumable is something that is used up such as food, wine or bath/body products; these are the most common business gifts given. A non-consumable can be anything from a desk clock to a piece of equipment. In general, consumables are better than non-consumables because consumables usually touch one or more of the senses: the sense of smell, taste and sight. These senses are a potent way to imprint your brand in your clients.
But an experience? That is an altogether different, dare I say, extraordinary thing. An experience is something in which your client participates. An experience creates memories. That is what turns your gift from a generic commodity to something truly special. You’re going for the WOW factor with experiences.
Give a Gift in the Off Season
The beauty of sending gifts during unexpected times is you have a chance to surprise your client with something special. To avoid being lumped in with all the Holiday gift givers, don’t give a gift at Christmas. Send a card, a beautiful, personalized, hand-written card instead.
How Much Should I Spend on Business Gifts?
If you search the internet, you’ll see a range of $20 per client up to 15% of what they paid you during the last 12 months. Before I share my recommendation with you, may I state the obvious? Check your finances! If you can’t afford to give all your clients gifts – don’t. If you are up to your eyeballs in debt with the bank, you are not in a position to give expensive gifts. I’m not trying to insult your intelligence here, but you’d be surprised how many entrepreneurs I talk to who haven’t paid themselves in 7 months yet they put client gifts on their credit cards.
Assuming your finances are in order, I recommend you spend between 4% to 7% of the revenue they generated for you in the previous 12 months.
What do you think? How do you decide who gets gifts and how much you should spend?