By Nellie Akalp
With the winter holidays just right around the corner, it’s time to think about investing in gifts for your clients. Sending them a token of your appreciation can go a long way toward building the trusting relationship you need to keep customers coming back.
I always decide on my client gift budget in early November. If you have hundreds of customers, it’s probably not feasible to send them all $100 gift baskets. On the other hand, if you are a small consulting firm or service provider, you may be able to buy something nice for your high-value clients.
If you have clients who spend different amounts of money with you annually (as opposed to everyone buying the same priced service), you can create tiers for your gift spending. For example:
- Any client who spends more than $5,000 = $100 gift
- Any client who spends $2,500-5,000 = $75 gift
- Any client who spends under $2,500 = $50 gift
Setting up tiers helps you recognize those clients who really build up your business, while also showing appreciation to others who have spent less with your business.
If you do have hundreds of customers, you could look at gifts that are more cost-effective, such as candy or gift cards, or perhaps just a special savings coupon for your store.
What to Buy:
I always say: customize your gifts when you can, rather than sending the same gift to all. If you know one of your clients is a major football buff, you could send a gift basket with items bearing his favorite team’s logo. Or if another is addicted to coffee, a Starbucks gift card or basket with gourmet coffee would be appreciated. Be cautious when it comes to sending wine or alcoholic gifts, as not everyone is a drinker. Be sure you know your client before sending such a gift.
Where to Buy:
There are hundreds of websites specializing in gift baskets, flowers, and client gifts. Many of them offer coupon codes, so you can actually get a much nicer gift and save money on it, keeping you within your budget. Some sites offer discounts if you buy all your gifts with them. Keep in mind that shipping each item individually to its recipient will add to the cost, so if your clients are local, consider delivering them yourself. You save on shipping and have the added benefit of a face-to-face meeting.
When to Buy:
The time to buy your gifts is NOW! Shipping times get wonky the closer you are to the holidays, so even if you preorder in November, you can set your shipping so that the items arrive when you want them to. Plus, getting the task out of the way helps you mark another thing off that very long to-do list!
Make buying gifts for your clients an annual tradition for your company. They’ll appreciate you for it, and make sure to bring you repeat business.
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Nellie Akalp is the CEO of CorpNet.com, an online incorporation filing service where she helps entrepreneurs Incorporate, Form an LLC, or set up Sole Proprietorships (DBAs) for their new businesses.