Holiday gift-giving is big business in the corporate world. You may have selected the perfect holiday gifts for your valued clients, hoping to secure their loyalty and strengthen your relationship. Don’t despair if it’s not the holiday season, however; sending clients and customers gifts when they least expect it is also a great way to show your appreciation throughout the year.
Why is gifting outside the holidays so effective?
A solid gift-giving strategy also focuses on gifting outside of the holidays because these are more “low-traffic” times for clients and customers. This can help lead to more meaningful relationships with clients because you’re making them feel special and valued throughout the year.
- It shows creativity--you’re not just following the same protocol as everyone else.
- It shows you remember dates that are significant in your client’s life--and that you care about your clients as individuals.
- It has the element of surprise. Year-round business gifts can have more impact than holiday gifts because they don’t feel expected. By catching people off guard, you can surprise and delight them in a way that creates a strong memory of the experience. They’ll think of your company more often, and more positively, as a result.
- It’s less likely to get lost in the shuffle. Gifting at times when no one else is doing it can get you noticed.
What types of occasions give you an opportunity to gift?
Here are a few great ideas:
- A company milestone. Pay attention to your clients’ achievements, and cheer them on. If their company just reaped a huge success, send a congratulatory present. Non-holiday gifts for big business milestones show real thoughtfulness.
- Important life events, like the birth of a child or grandchild, or a wedding. If you hear about a major milestone like one of these, send a thoughtful gift—examples for new parents are a personalized baby blanket, memory book, picture frame, or a flower arrangement for the parents that comes with a teddy bear for the baby.
- Random holidays. Instead of just the big ones, think outside of the box by gifting for minor holidays or just plain silly ones. The year is full of them! There’s Chocolate Fondue Day (Feb. 5) or National Book Lovers’ Day (Aug. 9). For National Picnic Month (July), send a personalized picnic basket and add a gift of gourmet cheese, wine, and other delectable goodies. They’ll get a kick out of your whimsical gift, meaning they’ll tell colleagues and friends about it--potentially bringing in new leads.
Just avoid giving gifts at times when they could seem like bribes--for instance, when you’re waiting to close on that important deal. That gift might make you seem to have an ulterior motive.
Before giving a gift, make sure your client’s company allows employees to receive gifts--and check on whether there’s a limit on what you can spend. “Sending a gift to a client who’s unable to keep it is awkward for both parties,” points out the Emily Post Institute.
Now get out your calendar, and circle some important (and unexpected) dates for giving year-round business gifts!