Corporate gifts are a great way to show your clients that you appreciate them in a genuine and thoughtful way. Done well, corporate gifts provide an excellent return-on-investment by strengthening relationships that lead to more and sustained business.
The guiding principle to corporate gifts is best summarized by an old adage – “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Great corporate gifts make your clients feel that you care about them, that you think of them and that you value your relationship with them. That is the legacy of a great gift. On the one hand, this means you need to put a bit of thought into your corporate gift strategy –which means thinking beyond the wall calendar and branded pens. On the other hand, this means that your gift need not break the bank, and actually shouldn’t, as you’ll see in a moment.
There are six key ingredients to a great corporate gift. Follow these and you’ll be on your way to choosing a corporate gift that sends your clients exactly the right message.
1) It’s not about you
A branded gift like the traditional pen or wall calendar is actually the gift-giver asking the gift recipient for a favour: “Could you hang this calendar branded with my company logo on your wall so your clients see it?”
Giving a corporate gift isn’t about you, it’s about your client. The gift should be relevant and useful to them as individuals. It should show them that you value their business and it should show that you put thought into something unique for them. Do this right, and they’ll think of you and your company every time they use or enjoy it.
2) Add a personal touch
Every aspect of your gift should demonstrate thoughtfulness, from the packaging to the message. Consider unique packaging that will ensure your gift attracts attention before it is even opened.
Be sure to include a personalized message – handwritten if possible – to demonstrate that your client is receiving a message and gift that has been carefully tailored to them, rather than buying one gift in bulk, scripting one uniform message and sending the same gift to your entire client list.A personal touch to a corporate gift is all the more distinct in an increasingly digital age.
3) Play the long game
The best gifts come with no strings attached. Resist the urge to plan a sales call right after sending a gift. You don’t want your client to feel you are trying to buy their business.
Instead, focus on building goodwill over time so that corporate gifts fit into a broader client engagement strategy. This means taking the time to recognize when a well-timed, non-sales phone call or email to wish them happy holidays, congratulate them on a company anniversary or compliment their new website can go a long way towards showing your clients that you care about them and value them beyond the quick sale.
4) There is such a thing as too much
You may think a lavish gift to your client tells them you value their business. But your client may instead wonder how much profit is built into your pricing to afford such generosity.
The value of a good gift goes far beyond its dollar value. Thoughtfulness beats expense when it comes to determining the perfect gift. In a sector where clients often exchange gifts, this will also encourage your clients to likewise focus on creativity and thoughtfulness over price when it comes to gift-giving.
5) One size doesn’t always fit all
Depending on your sector, your clients and the gift, it may be perfectly suitable to give all of your clients the same gift. But rather than automatically taking that approach, consider an alternative approach that focuses on your long-term and high-potential anchor clients.
Under this approach, you may be better off putting more thought into a smaller number of gifts for your high-impact clients, rather than sending the same gift to your entire client list, including clients who aren’t likely to be repeat customers.
Regardless of which approach you take, make sure your client records are up to date. All the thought in the world can be undone if you send the gift to an office your client vacated six months ago, or if you address the gift to an employee who no longer works there. Do a review of your client list before sending gifts to make sure you have mailing addresses, names and spellings correct. You’ll thank yourself throughout the year for incorporating that effort into your corporate gift strategy.
6) You’re not alone!
Stumped for gift ideas or how best to use corporate gifts to improve client relations? You’re not alone! Reach out to companies that specialize in client and corporate gifts and gift packaging for ideas that will ensure a successful corporate gift strategy. These experts can not only help you find great gift ideas. They can also help you find the balance between avoiding the dreaded branded pen while also ensuring your company’s brand and message is present in the packaging you choose, the message you include and other peripheral elements that you pair with each personalized gift.