It is that time of year once again. It is that frustrating time of year again, it is that bewildering time of year again, Yes, you guessed it, it is business gift giving time of year. This is a virtual mine field that must be navigated every year by every business owner and it is one of the most delicate dances that you have to perform as a business owner. Who receives a gift who doesn’t, who gets how big of a gift? Cards are easy, everyone gets a card, done and done. But the gifts and not so easy.
Do you send a potential client a gift trying to woo him to you? How big of a gift do you send before it looks like you are desperate and just trying to buy his business? Or do you just send a card and that’s it? And what about long time clients? New clients? Do you send the exat same thing to all clients? Or do you have different levels of giving depending on the amount of business you get out of each client? Everyone seems to have their own system for holiday giving, the questions is, do you?
Let’s break it down a bit, shall we? First off, do we send a card? If yes, is it a Christmas card, a Happy Holidays or Seasons Greeting Card? I once had an assistant who was furious that I sent out Seasons Greeting Cards instead of Christmas Cards. My feeling was and is that I work hard for the business I have and am trying to earn and I don’t want to risk offending anyone, therefore I send Seasons Greetings Cards. You are welcome to send whatever you are comfortable sending. Now, how do we sign the card. Do we just have the card company print the company name inside and that’s the signature? Do we sign ourselves? Do we have everyone on the team sign it? I opt to sign them myself wishing the client a happy holidays and prosperous new year. I feel that gives it the personal touch. Of course there are those that skip the whole seasons Greetings, Happy Holiday, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanza debate by sending out Happy New Years cards instead. Hmmmm, definitely something worth thing about.
Now we are back to gifts. I have in the past giving everything from elaborate custom gift baskets to individually selected gifts, to custom designed gifts. And honestly I don’t think it made one bit of difference to my bottom line. I think the people you received the gifts appreciated them but I do not think that I received one cent more in revenue than I would have received had I sent nothing. So gifts I think are tricky. I think they can certainly make an impression and keep you top on mind for a few minutes anyway, but are those the few minutes that they are thinking about your services? Is the gift you have chosen to send something that will remain within their line of sight on a daily basis? Or will the eat or drink it and that will be that? As I said, gifts are tricky. Do you send your best client’s bigger and better gifts than your medium sized clients whom get better gifts than your smaller clients? And what happens if your clients talk to each other??? If you send the same thing to all your client the smaller guys will think you are wonderful the medium guys will too but the big boys will think you are a bit cheap, so what are you to do?? There seems to be no solution other than to send the big clients one gift and the medium clients a different gift and the smaller clients yet another gift. And if they talk so be it. Tricky, tricky, tricky.
Whatever you decide to do in this tricky arena, be sure that it is something memorable, something original, something with your company name on it and either something useful or something that they will place in their daily line of sight. Food and drink are not a great gifts for these purposes. But a card is a must. Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings!