Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Tis' the season for business and corporate gift-giving! If you believe in the law of reciprocity, and if your business is the least bit successful you must; you know that giving back is not only the right thing to do, but it's very smart business as well. Let's look at some of the benefits and mechanics of Christmas and holiday gift-giving.
* WHY DO IT AT ALL?
Gift giving is an excellent way to not only say thank you for all the business and continued loyalty your clients and customers have shown over the past year, it help to solidify relationships and in some cases, actually tilt the playing field in your favor. A well-conceived business gift will speak volumes on your integrity, thoughtfulness and sincerity and may make the difference between you and a competitor. As for employees, the days of 50 years and a gold watch are long gone, so a token of appreciation during the holidays or other special occasions can turn a mediocre relationship into one of fierce loyalty.
* WHEN TO DO IT?
Obviously Christmas and the season surrounding it are the major themes here. Other times of the year, such as Thanksgiving, Easter, Labor Day etc., may also present golden opportunities as it is not expected then. Other times to consider might include occasions such as a business anniversary, marriage, births, promotions, new offices or branches, and possibly retirement (ESPECIALLY of a competitor!)
* WHAT TO GIVE?
This can be the most difficult part of the process. All of us have been the recipient of the cookie cutter approach, as the countless fruitcakes of Christmases past haunt our freezers. In a large company, it's difficult to avoid this, but by bearing this in mind, you'll be able to come up something unique and stand out above the rest. Also think of the nature of the business relationship. Anything inappropriate would not only be unappreciated, but could have the opposite effect of that you're trying to achieve. If you can, try to make it as personal as possible, reflecting the interests and likes of the person receiving the gift. Be mindful of religious differences, as you don't want to offend in that area either. While striving to give the nicest gift possible within your budget, take care not to appear as though you are bribing anyone for business or loyalty.
* HOW TO ACCOMPLISH THIS?
Start as soon as possible, and dedicate at least one person to work on this solely, as depending on the size of your list, it can become onerous. Given enough time and resource, however, it can be done quickly and efficiently. Shopping online has made things so much simpler. You can find so many more choices with the click of a mouse than you could with weeks of prospecting on foot. Many of your favorite brick and mortar merchants now have an online presence as well, as they too recognize the immense possibilities of the medium. Take advantage of web vendors, many of whom offer free shipping, corporate and bulk discounts, and many other perks to get your business. It really is a time-saver!
Christmas and Holiday gift-giving isn't the gargantuan task it used to be. The internet and a smart strategy make it profitable and enjoyable!
About the Author
Keith Thompson is webmaster of GiftsForBiz.com, and the recipient of many BAD business gifts.