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The Secret to Client Gifting

How to connect with your clients, show thanks, make an impact, and give them something they really want.

There are going to be lots of items—booze, chocolate, and other goodies—flying across your clients’ desks this holiday season. Read on to make sure your gift stands out and shows your gratitude.

Who do you gift?

The first thing to figure out is exactly who you want to buy for. Is there a person or business you would like to show appreciation to? Did they commission your work or help you along the way this year? People you worked with may seem like an obvious choice, but what about people who offered invaluable advice or referred new business? Consider adding them to your list as well.

If you feel uncomfortable sending a gift directly to one person, try sending something that can be shared by a team or amongst the entire office. This can be a great option when working with a tight budget.

How Much Should You Spend?

The easy answer is that your gift should be proportionate to how much your client spent or contributed to your business this year. That said, gifts don’t need to be extravagant to show your appreciation. A well-thought-out, personalized gift can have a much larger impact than an expensive one.

If you’re feeling generous, check with your client’s reception or HR to see if there’s a cap on what employees can accept; many businesses have restrictions on gift value. Knowing this information can prevent putting yourself and your client in an uncomfortable position.

Get Personal

Have a think about who your client is, what they do, and what they nerd-out about. Are they obsessed with their dog, an avid bird watcher, or love reading to their kids? What could you select for them that they may not otherwise treat themselves to?

Are they always cold at their desk, is their phone often low on power, or do they have difficulty concentrating in their open concept office? A problem-solving gift shows you pay attention and care about them.

Include a Note

Give some thought to why you appreciate your client and their business. Maybe it’s their sense of humor or kindness. What can you share that lets them know they mean something to you? As Maya Angelou said, at the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.

If a gift seems like a little too much or you just don’t have the budget, a thoughtful handwritten note goes a long way.

Timing is Everything

Remember, this is not the time to market to your client. Even if your branded business swag is cool, this isn’t the time to share it. Marketing while showing gratitude can take away from your message and come across as self-serving.

Also consider if this is the right time for you to give. Do you have the time leading up to the holidays to do this properly or will it be rushed and thoughtless? Would a gift later in the year surprise and delight your client as well as allow you the time to do it well? If so, reconsider holiday gifts and show your appreciation when the timing is better.

Does your gift idea align with a New Years resolution? Perfect! Send it in early January. January doesn’t work? Perhaps a birthday, a business anniversary, or a time of year that ties in with your brand would be ideal to send something unexpected.

If it is the right time to send your client a gift, we’ve rounded up some ideas to get you started.

For the Classic, Cool, or Trendy Type

  • Moleskine Notebook
  • Swell Bottle
  • Hershel Bag
  • AirPods
  • Ray-Ban Sunglasses
  • Black Cashmere Scarf

For the Tech Lover

  • Portable Power Bank
  • Noise-Canceling Headphones
  • Stylish Laptop Sleeve
  • Self Heating Ceramic Mug or Mug Warmer
  • Portable Speaker
  • BlueTooth tracker (Tile Pro)

For the Foodie

If there’s a favorite treat you love to share, a hot food trend people have been lining up for, or a snack your client adores, go for it!

Hands down one of my favorite gifts of all time was a hatbox of the most delicious warm scones with clotted cream, whipped butter, and jam. It was heaven and I still have the hatbox.

Let’s Get Non-Physical

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box as well. There are lots of other gift ideas that will wow your favorite client.

Consider: + A gallery or museum membership + An online subscription (MasterClass or Audible) + A short-term gym or wellness membership

There are monthly subscription boxes for almost any hobby, from beauty, wine, socks and even a BarkBox for dog lovers.

Is your customer big on making a difference? Make a donation to their favorite charity in their name.

Is there a hot ticket in town, a way to relax, or a cool event they would love to attend? You could send a trip to the local beauty bar complete with champagne, tickets to cheer along their favorite sports team or music artist, a pass to hottest new meditation spot or goat yoga class, or a family-friendly event or this year’s got-to-have board game.

If you take the time to think about who your client is when choosing a gift, they are far more likely to remember you each and every time they take a bite or use it. This can help build a connection, trust, and create a lasting relationship.

Jessie Corney has provided sales, marketing, and creative guidance to photographers, directors, CGI, animation and digital studios for over 10 years. Find her at www.jessiecorney.com.

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