Giving your clients gifts during the holidays is a great way to show your appreciation for the successful work you did throughout the year. To leave a lasting impression, you have to think beyond ordinary presents like gourmet baskets and wine and purchase gifts that carefully curated to bring value to every client.
Here are four things to consider when purchasing client gifts:
1) Don’t Put Your Logo On Gifts
It’s tempting to brand your gifts so that clients remember that they are from you. However, the purpose of professional gifts is to show your appreciation - not to advertise your company. Taking a promotional approach makes your gift seem insincere and may render it useless since they probably don’t want to promote your company.
The only exception to this if you give them free products that you know they are interested in. In that case, they’ll appreciate that you’re giving them something valuable.
The one place you should incorporate your branding is on the card. Attach a custom holiday card to every gift and wish your clients happy holidays from your team. Since it’s the end of the year, you can briefly reflect on the great work you did together and express your anticipation for continuing to strengthen your relationship in the coming year.
2) Budget According to Each Client’s Worth
One of the most challenging parts of gift shopping is determining the fine line between spending enough on clients to impress them and avoiding spending so much that it hurts your finances and makes them feel awkward. To start with, narrow down your list of recipients to ones that fit into one of these categories:
- Clients who are loyal to our company because they either purchase from your company on a regular basis or they’ve been on your highest paid subscription service for several months.
- They’ve made one-time purchases of several thousand dollars or more and you want to maintain a relationship with them.
From there, narrow down your budget based on the amount they’ve spent. For example, someone who spent $50,000 on your company throughout the year should get a more expensive gift than one who spent $5,000. As a general rule of thumb, $50 - $100 is a fair budget for mid-sized clients. Purchase more expensive gifts for clients who are your primary source of revenue.
3) Give Gifts that are Useful
Your clients are busy, successful people. The best gifts for them are products that add value to their lives as opposed to a generic presents (gift baskets, random gift certificates, etc.) that they’re likely to re-gift.
Practical gifts leave a lasting impression because whenever your client uses them, they’ll think of you. Plus, it reinforces your image as a company that makes their lives better. Here are some examples:
- If they’re a frequent flyer, give them a luxury travel accessory.
- If they are a foodie, give a gourmet spice basket or certificate for a cooking class.
- If they’re a heavy note-taker, give them a finely crafted notebook.
- If they’re passionate about fitness, give them high-quality running earbuds or another fitness accessory that needs to be replaced periodically.
If you don’t know your clients well enough to give them tailored gifts, opt for creative and/or luxury (depending on their taste) versions of items that are generally useful to have in an office.
4) Give Gifts that Give Back
During the holiday season, most professionals receive lots of gifts that, no matter how well-intentioned, go to waste because they weren’t wanted or needed.
You can make your investment in client gifts much more meaningful by choosing products that contribute to causes are significant to you and/or your clients.
Purchasing gifts that give back is easier than you’d think. Companies like Gifts for Good offer professional gifts (such as wine, travel accessories, gourmet baskets, etc.) and allocate a portion of the proceeds to support charitable causes.
- 50 meals for neglected horses
- Plant one tree
- 1 hour of paid work for a homeless person in Los Angeles
Another option is to purchase fair-trade gifts. Unlike most consumer products that are produced with questionable labor practices, fair-trade certified goods guarantee that workers are paid fair wages and adhere to environmentally sustainable business practices.
Many fair-trade items are handmade by traditional artisans and are the types of unique gifts that clients want to keep.
Remember, the key to purchasing gifts that clients will leave a lasting impression is choosing products that are useful, non-promotional, and valued proportionally to what they spend with you.
About the author: Emily leads Prialto's content production and distribution team with a special passion for helping people realize success. Her work and collaborations have appeared in Entrepreneur, Inc. and the Observer among others.