How to Give Clients Gifts: Part 1

It’s tradition for businesses to reach out to affiliates and clients during the holiday season to say thank you for one more year together. It is also a prime time to prompt communication, especially if it’s been awhile since you last stoked the existing relationship. And of course, the gesture shows generosity and gratitude. But there are always some questions that come with the process of promotional gift-giving.

What if clients have a no-gift policy?

Receiving gifts from certain work partners may challenge ethical boundaries. Sometimes, companies would prefer just a card. Other times, a company won’t accept tangibles but will welcome a donation to a charity in its name. You may wish to check gift-giving policies with someone like an office manager in advance. This can be done subtly by simply calling to check the address and hours for sending a holiday gift.

What if I can’t afford to give gifts to all of my clients?

Instead of choosing one kind of gift and then deciding who should receive it, you may want to choose three kinds of gifts in varying price points and then break up your client list in terms of priority. Priority can be determined by the amount that the client has brought you during the fiscal year or by the weight of their name and association; it’s up to you to decide. Staggering price points is one way to stretch your gift-giving budget and reach out to more people. Just be on the lookout for clients who are in close contact with one another who may compare gifts. And be sure everyone at least receives a nice card.

What if I’m not sure who should receive the gift?

A related concern is who to address the gift to if you’re working with numerous people from one office—but don’t want to send eight gifts for one client. Sometimes, sending communal gifts like a food basket or an item for the office itself—such as a kitchen gadget or wall ornament—is the best way to handle this situation. Another idea is treating the office to some kind of group experience, such as seeing a show or going out together. It can even be turned into a group event between your office and theirs for networking.

Next week, check back for more of Mad 4’s advice on client gift-giving.

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