It’s that time of the year to think about “gifting” your clients. But please, send your “A” clients, and maybe even some of your best “B” clients and colleagues something other than some fancy, expensive “preprinted” cards.
Remember that you get 80% of your business from your top 20% of your clients. Reward that 20%.
About “A”, “B” and “C” clients (if you still have any at this level — think bigger for the “A’s”, smaller for the “B” and even smaller for the “C” clients.
During the “card giving holidays” people get a card, say “oh how nice” and move on. Maybe they’ll put it on their office wall, so as a business owner, you’ll get a month or so of leverage.
But let me go back a step. First, I’m presuming that you want to send them a card of gift for the right reasons and NOT just to make an impression.
I’m also presuming that you know things about your clients. That as you’ve spoken to them you’ve learned the important dates in their lives, learned things about them and their families, are they allergic to “x”, AND that you’ve places these details in your CRM (customer relationship management system) or other database.
Now, if you know me, you know that I’m a BIG, no HUMUNGOUS believer in sending cards or postcards (not preprinted with message) — with a personal and customized thank you, or birthday cards, anniversary cards, etc. — maybe even with a Gift Certificate to something they’d like in it. But when you send out Christmas and other holiday cards, that’s a different story. This year, save your money and do something that will give your company a WOW and a bigger bang for your bucks!
Years ago, I taught business owners a variety of classes at a Triangle South Enterprise Center, a local business incubator, in Dunn, NC. About a year after I started teaching, I taught a beginner — and I mean basic computer & Internet Class to people, we’ll let’s just say that many hadn’t turned on a computer yet (it was 1998).
One of my students was an Insurance Broker and he started the program knowing where to turn the computer on, but didn’t know how to type. Three months later, he was typing away. On the last day of class, he gave me a house plant. I still have that house plant and think of him often when I water it. His gift didn’t cost a “lot” — but it left an impact on me — and my home. And to this day, so many years later, if anyone wants insurance in NC, I know who to refer — without any doubts.
At my corporate job on Wall Street, most of the Christmas gifts, most received from Jewish RRs, were were chocolate, wine, dinner certificates, and liquor — a lot of liquor! As the gifts were received, everyone in my unit would open theirs, and say who it was from. Then each gift was opened… but the chocolate or other food was shared with my colleagues. Plants were often taken home, and again, remembered when I looked at it or someone asked me “where did I get that”.
Gifts Could Include:
- Plants (not flowers)
- Books (based on their like, or dealing with success)
- Posters (like you get from Successories or now from big box Office Stores)
- Candles with Candle Holders
- Chocolate (think Godiva (great packaging, chocolate coins, and other such candies)
- Cake (Think Juniors Cheesecakes from my hometowon of Brooklyn NY for your BEST clients, for sure!)
- Gift baskets (based on their likes)
- Tickets to a game or special event in their community.
- Gift cards: Coffee shops, or their favorite shop. AVON, Mary Kay and Arbonne Represenatives will package gift, as you wish, and mail them for you, too.
Office or Home?
I’m asked, which is best — sending a gift to an office or home. I say send it to the office. Your gift will be better leveraged at their office. They’ll open it, show it around, and others will find out about your business, too.
Packaging is important. Think about how you’d feel opening a brown box, and in it is a red or brightly covered smaller box. Give plants in nice pots (not the plastic pots) with a nicely colored bow or a water measurer.
Off the Beaten Path
I have a box of gifts that I replenish any time I see something that I feel my clients would like. I buy the gifts new. I buy the gifts from clearence sections of big box office stores. Sometimes I find the gifts — new or sometimes used (think vintage) — at flea markets. Sometimes a gift is something I craft or cook. And during the summer, expect to get sent some fresh Oregano or other herbs from my garden.
So when you think gift — think about personalizing something special from the heart, too.
When to Send Thank You’s
The “when” is really up to you. Below are some events to consider:
- Marriage, anniversary, birth of a child, new job
- A new client, sent you a referral
- New Year, Christmas, Religious Holiday, Government Holiday, Business Holidays
- Special business days such as Administrative Day, Bosses Day, etc.
- “Just because”
If you don’t have a “Gifting Process” create one. If you do have one, make it better. If you need help, contact us http://www.ElevatingYourBusiness.com/clientforms/breakthroughcoachingsession.html
(c) 2011 Elevating Your Business. Maria Marsala is a Business Strategist and former Wall Street Trader. She works with independent accountants and financial advisors to grow their business differently. Get your free Empire Builder Kit at www.ElevatingYourBusiness.com
What gifts are you giving clients this year? What gifts have you given your clients? Tell us below.