Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Great Business Gifts that Help Acquire and Keep Great Customers

Business Gifts for Any Occasion!
We often talk about giving gifts to friends and families. It can be a tremendous challenge knowing what to get people for that special occasion; especially if you don't know them that well. However, it can be an even bigger challenge when you are a business trying to decide on a gift for your client. You often have a working relationship with them that, while tough it may be significant, is not really conducive to helping to decide on any one particular gift.

Should you buy gifts for your business clients?

The first question many business owners may be asking is, why would I buy a gift for my clients? Business owners may cite many reasons for not buying a gift for their client including the fact that they may hardly see their enough to warrant a gift, the cost in purchasing a gift for all your clients and the difficulty in acquiring a gift suitable for the occasion unless you have a large customer service resource department.

While purchasing gifts may not be beneficial for some companies, there can be significant reasons and benefits to spending the time and money on your clients.

Great business gifts can deepen bonds with clients

Just the act of giving a personal gift changes the relationship from another interaction between a faceless, bureaucratic company and a client, to something that is more lasting and connective.

Great business gifts can develop a good buzz about your company

When we changed financial advisors, we went from a big corporate company to a smaller more personal firm. The one thing that brought this difference home to us was the day when our advisor showed up at the door one day with a lovely bottle of wine as a celebration of our anniversary. At our previous company, we had only ever received a Christmas card. Is that a good reason to change companies. No. However, we didn't get the wine until after we had already moved and the gift was definitely a surprise. We were certainly not expecting it but were very appreciative of the gesture and is certainly a story that we have told many of our friends. I don't know if it has created any new clients for them but it has certainly spread a reputation of the company as being very personal, very interested in us as clients and willing to go that extra mile to show us their appreciation for being a client of theirs.

Great business gifts remind customers why they picked your business in the first place

Well timed gifts can not only help grow positive relationships but also solidify a relationship that has been established and maintained over a period of time. Just as relationships between family and friends can falter and die over time if both sides don't take the time to cultivate and maintain the relationship, the same can happen in a business relationship.

Great business gifts give the feeling that your clients are exceptional and of being respected

Chosen wisely, a great business gift can be an important statement from the company. One of the ways to great a great relationship between a company and client is the gift that says we took the time to choose something that values you, your situation and your background. While many companies give the typical Christmas card during the holidays, this is often seen as undervaluing the relationship between you and the company you are giving your business to. Just as you don't give the same gift to everyone of your family members and friends, why would a company give everyone the same Christmas card. While companies may feel that this is a nice gesture and that people will be appreciative, many times it feels the opposite to clients. Not only do the clients know that everyone is getting the same card, with photocopied signatures, but it may also not be appropriate for clients that may not celebrate Christmas. In that case, not only are they getting something that has not been personalized, but has also been given with no thought to background of the client. Personalized gifts give clients the feeling that they are respected, exceptional and important.

So, what kind of gifts should a business give?

There are a wide variety of business gifts companies can use to help build positive relationships. The main thing to remember is that the more personalized gifts , the better. The more you can show that you have thought about the client you are giving the gift to, the more benefit it is to the company in return buzz and promotion. There are lots of software options that can help you to keep lists of clients' hobbies and milestones. Following clients on social media can also spark ideas for personalized gifts.

The other thing to remember is that personalized gifts can be given at any time of the year, though Christmas is traditionally the gift giving time for companies. Not only is it a nice change to get something at a different time of year, but gifts can be used to celebrate other occasions including the anniversary of becoming a client, a significant achievement by the client, or the beginning/end of a project. There are lots of ways to celebrate a client/company relationship.

There is no set list of gifts for specific occasions. However, below are some ideas shared by other companies which could help generate some ideas:

Wine is always a nice gift. One company gives clients a crystal wine glass for every referral the client sends their way. Once the client has a full set, the company will send a bottle of wine for each referral.

One company sends a crystal ball for clients that achieve a hole in one. While slightly on the more expensive side, you can also imagine that it probably doesn't happen that often which would make it a little more feasible. Another company sends a beautiful porcelain piggy bank to it's clients on the birth of a child.

Making a gift to a client's favorite charity and sending a personalized card to the client is a really nice and simple way of sending a thank you. The thoughtfulness will not be lost on the client and it also means that the client doesn't have to find a place to put another gift. This could also apply to a gift card to a client's favorite store or restaurant as a thank you.

A magazine subscription to do with a client's interest or hobby is a nice and easy personalized gift with the added benefit that it continues all year. Every time the client gets the magazine, they are reminded of your relationship. Once company sends their clients a framed copy of the front page of the newspaper from the day they were born.

Concert tickets or tickets to some other event can be a nice gesture. My father's old law firm often had season's tickets the lawyers could use as gifts for clients as a thank you. For clients new to the area, a nice book on local attractions, trails or other items related to the area can be a nice introduction to the area.

Even giving cards can be personalized and customized. Instead of giving everyone the same card, find cards that is somehow related to an interest the client has. A techie could get a card related to technology with a nicely personalized message inside.

No matter what the occasion, personalized gifts are great way to remind your clients that there is a face and personality behind the company. You are genuinely interested in them as a client and value their business. Not only can it create a meaningful connection between you and the client, but is also a great way to build your brand throughout the community as people look to work with companies that are interested in them as people as opposed to another client number.