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
* 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
* 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!
Keith Thompson is webmaster of GiftsForBiz.com, and the
recipient of many BAD business gifts.