Want to save some time this holiday season? Ditch the holiday gift-giving list. That’s right, throw it straight into the trash. While your mom and your spouse may be annoyed, chances are, those on your corporate gift list won’t notice a bit. As companies look to differentiate themselves in the minds of their clients, many are forgoing the traditional gift around the holidays and instead gifting their customers at different times throughout the year. “Send a client a gift in mid-December and they may or may not notice it,” says Jeanine Weide, a personal shopper and gift-giving expert. “Send the same client a gift in June and you’ll blow them out of the water.” The reason to give a gift doesn’t have to be complicated – or expensive. Here are 50 simple reasons to keep on giving all year long.
Gift Giving Reasons
1. Your client got a promotion.
It’s a big day for them, and acknowledging their success and new status shows you don’t just think of them as a buyer. Let them know how impressed you are with an upscale portfolio or briefcase for all those important meetings they will be attending. Be sure to have it imprinted with their name.
2. Your client visited your trade show booth.
Hey, they took the time to come see you. You take the time to thank them ? and then be sure to follow up with them after you send the gift. Your thoughtfulness might just inspire them to place an order. One item to consider: A cool, inexpensive tote bag they can use to lug their materials home from the show.
3. Your client placed her 10, 100, 1,000 order with you.
You know how hard it is to maintain client loyalty these days. Reward such relationships with incentives to stick with you for future orders.
4. Your client had a child or grandchild born to the family.
“What better way to communicate that you care for a client than to acknowledge the birth of their child or grandchild?” says Gossett. A cozy baby blanket is a nice idea. Or how about a basket full of soothing lotions for mom?
5. One excellent reason companies give gifts to clients is to show appreciation for a referral. “I personally give my clients a gift when they have gone out of their way to refer someone to me,” says Mara Villa of Advertising Magic Inc., a promotional products distributorship. “I have given gift cards to my clients, sometimes for $25, and sometimes $50, to one of their favorite stores. This always goes over well, and my clients call or e-mail me with their appreciation. I tell them that referrals are very precious to me and it’s a very small way that I can thank them for their valuable gift to me.”
6. You want to thank the client for an important order.
Sometimes an order can be the ‘break into a new client’ order, which will then lead to the entire account.
7. Your client attended your meeting, seminar or workshop
Conducting or hosting seminars and other events can be prime networking opportunities for you and your company. Be sure every attendee gets a gift, such as a pen, mug or portfolio set with all of your contact information imprinted on them, of course. A handwritten follow-up thank you note afterwards can work wonders as well.
8. Someone registered at your Web site.
People register at Web sites all the time. And what do they get in return? Well, access to all of your great ideas and information, but you should stand out from the sea of sites by sending a small gift. Think cool pens or magnets.
9. Your client is welcoming a new partner.
How about sending each a gift;perhaps matching mugs or an upscale coffee carafe for the conference room, where they are sure to do some stellar brainstorming together? Add a bag of gourmet coffee and you’ll really wow ’em.
10. Your client opened up a new facility or branch office.
They are branching out. Send them a card with a tree seedling.
11. It’s your client’s birthday.
No matter how old we get, everyone feels special on their big day. If you remember your client’s birthday every year, there is no way they will forget you. One fun gift: an executive tic-tac-toe game your client can put on his desk.
12. Your client is retiring.
They’ve given you so much business over the years and now they are off to a life of leisure. What’s their favorite thing to do in their downtime? If it’s camping, send them camping gear. If they will be traveling, luggage and other travel-related items would be perfect. Don’t forget that they will advise whoever fills their position that they should do business with you.
13. Your client has reached a company milestone – say, 5, 10, 25 years with the company.
Their company will recognize their loyalty, but you will shine if you remember them too. Think about: vases, watches, specially etched champagne bottles, or a celebration-themed basket of assorted goodies.
14. Your client is injured or ill and needs to be cheered up.
An inspirational book would lift spirits. How about a necklace that says “Courage,” “Hope,” or “Survivor”? A tea cup, sent along with specialty teas could be sent with your “warm wishes.”
15. Your client got a new pet.
Leashes,pet snacks, dishes and the like come to mind. But you can also be a little different by sending a doggy T-shirt imprinted with the new puppy’s name and date he arrived.
16. It’s the anniversary of your client’s product or invention.
Send a book or calendar featuring famous inventors and predict your client’s own fame in the future.
17. Your client is taking the trip of lifetime.
They’re excited. Be excited for them and show it by sending them a book about their destination. Other ideas: logoed flip flops or towels.
18. Your client earns a vacation for excellent sales performance.
Take her out to dinner and present her with your own award. Or give her a CD with music from her destination.
19. Your team hits a company goal or completes an important project.
Salespeople usually don’t earn their successes on their own. Reward everyone who helps out, from the company receptionist to the sales assistant to the customer service reps.
20. Your client raises money for a charity, or creates an alliance with a charitable organization.Why not send them a gift of appreciation for their helping your community. A bobble head of them as a superhero comes to mind. Also make a donation yourself.
21. Your product is bought or your offer accepted by the first 10, 25, or 50 people.
Whatever number it is you choose, be sure to let everyone know beforehand that the first to respond will get a special gift. Then, make sure it really is special. Think: gift cards, food baskets, spa gifts, luxury wearables and more.
22. Your client or your client’s company is honored with an award.
Heck, maybe your own company got an award! Give gifts to the people who made it happen.
23. A holiday rolls around that is less known for corporate gift-giving, like Thanksgiving, New Year’s or Valentine’sDay.
If your client or employee is particularly patriotic, how about Flag Day?
24. It’s an environmental holiday like Earth Day or Arbor Day, for greenminded clients.
Plant a tree in your client’s name and send them a card with the details.
25. Dignitaries, or other important people, are visiting the company.
Spare no expense. You want them to have the best impression of your company and to spread the word.
26. Your client celebrates a big wedding anniversary.
Champagne anyone? A set of crystal flutes, engraved with the date of their marriage and their names would be lovely and appreciated.
27. Your client introduces a new product or service.
Here are some ideas: a dollar sign key chain; custom wine charms, in the shape of their new product; or something that will highlight the “launch” or “out of this world” service, such as an astronautshaped pen.
28. A new season starts – especially if your client really enjoys a sport or hobby during a particular time of year,
like the start of winter for an avid skier or the beginning of the growing season for a gardener.
29. Your client’s child graduates from high school, college or grad school.
Send a gift the whole family can enjoy. Food or candy usually works for everyone.
30. Your client gets married, remarried or has a commitment ceremony.
If it’s appropriate, how about a gift for a breakup or divorce? This can even be a humorous gift, like a custom voodoo doll. After all, laughter is the best stress reliever. It all depends on how well you know the person.
31. Know your client is obsessed with a particular national league sport?
Send them a gift when the season starts. There are all sorts of sports-related items available in the industry. A stadium cushion or tailgating mug with their favorite team’s logo on it would be ideal.
32. Have a medical appointment?
Bring a thank you gift to your doctor, dentist or practitioner – or the front desk at your doctor’s office. They are some of the most underappreciated but important people in your life.
33. Send a “just because” gift to someone you do business with just to let them know you appreciate them.
One idea: a card that, when opened, plays fun or inspirational music.
34. Send a “What’s Up?” gift to a client you haven’t heard from lately.
Let’s face it: Everyone’s living in the fast lane these days. A present from you will force them to slow down for a moment and remember you’re there to help.
35. Give a gift to commemorate a deal between two companies.
A client appreciates when you pay continuing attention to what’s happening on their end, not only when you’re looking for an order from them.
36. It’s the anniversary of your client’s first order with you.
Actually, there are all kinds of anniversaries you can celebrate with your client ? even the anniversary of the time their order was screwed up and now you both can laugh about it. Your client will likely recall how you rose to the challenge to save the day.
37. Give an “I’m sorry” gift to your client after you mess up an order.
Another reason to give a gift: when a client has been gracious to you after an order goes wrong.
38. Send a gift to your client when they open up new sales contacts for you at their company.
This should be something they will personally enjoy. After all, they made the effort to get you more business and likely will again.
39. Leave a gift when you visit your client’s business.
You’d bring a gift to your friend if you were visiting their home, wouldn’t you? Why should your client, who is hosting you also, be any different? A logoed desk accessory would make a perfect gift.
40. Give a gift to clients when your own company crosses a milestone.
Some ideas include a pocket planner, wall calendar or pen touting the number of years you’ve been in business.
41. Give gifts to your employee’s children on their birthdays.
42. Give gifts on administrative assistant’s day to your client’s support staff. They are key people in maintaining a healthy relationship with your client.
43. Give a good luck gift when your client starts a new job.
44. Give a gift on your client’s corporate anniversary.
45. Leave a gift when you visit a business prospect. Of course, the gift should include every way possible that a prospect can reach you when promotional needs arise. It could be something as simple as a coffee mug. A small token, for sure, but one that will probably sit around on the prospect’s desk forever.
46. Give a gift to a client when they order from you for the first time.
47. Give a gift to employees when they demonstrate incredible teamwork.
48. Encourage-gift giving as a form of appreciation between employees to foster a team environment.
49. Give a gift at your company’s yearly special event or company picnic.
50. Give a “welcome to the team” gift. “I was once given a beautiful pen with my name engraved on it when I started a new position at a company,” says Lynn Schatz, a promotional products supplier. “I loved it ? that small gesture immediately made me feel welcome and suggested that the employer was looking forward to my working with them.”
By Cynthia Ironson. Reprinted with permission of Successful Promotions, copyright 2006