For many business owners, the notion of giving gifts to clients is a controversial one. After all, you’ve probably lived your whole life hearing that you should never mix business and pleasure. Buying presents for the same people who pay you for your products or services would appear to be skirting a boundary line between professionalism and personal involvement that’s better left uncrossed.
It, therefore, comes as a surprise for many entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, and members of upper management to learn that the practice of gift-giving in business can be highly effective for building a bigger, more dedicated, and more harmonious clientele base.
Five less-than-obvious benefits of giving gifts to your clients
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the lesser-known truth is that a client gift can send a strong message about your brand and your commitment to building rock-solid client relationships. Whether the message sent is positive or negative depends on your adherence to client gifting best practices.
Are you sending a gift as soon as the client relationship has been established, or are you procrastinating your gift-giving efforts until it’s too late? Does your gift come packaged with a call-to-action, or are you missing a prime opportunity to start a conversation? If you’re avoiding personal gifts, reading corporate policies back to front, and setting yourself apart from other corporate gift-givers, the benefits of your gifts will be plentiful.
It’s a great way to say thanks.
As a business owner, you say “thank you” until you’re blue in the face. You say it in emails, phone calls, and social media posts. You say it following in-store transactions and at the end of all your branded newsletters and other periodicals. Chances are, though, that it will mean a lot more when it comes as a material tribute. Gift-giving is an inherently thoughtful practice that requires you to think about another person and act in their service.
It fosters a personal connection.
While it’s true that getting too familiar with your clients can be problematic, it’s also true that people appreciate being treated as fellow human beings and not just individual sources of revenue. When you interact with your patrons on a more personal level, it makes them feel seen and acknowledged in a much deeper way, reassuring clients that your relationship is more than transactional. That sort of recognition is often the basis of lasting and meaningful connections.
It encourages loyalty.
If you could only give your business to one company, would you choose the one that sees you as just another potential customer? Or the one that sacrificed a portion of their time, money, and energy to pick out and send you a personalized gift? Exactly. Some might characterize this behavior as a form of bribery, but that’s putting an ugly spin on what’s ultimately a considerate gesture.
It’s good advertising.
Acts of casual benevolence don’t just say something about how you feel toward your recipient—they also say something about who you are as a company. No-strings-attached generosity is a loud and clear signal that your values run beyond the bottom line, and people like associating with people that have strong, selfless values. As such, gift-giving can prove to be a hugely impactful marketing tactic, even if that wasn’t your primary intention.
It shakes things up.
The final reason why you should consider rewarding your clients with modest—and tasteful—swag is that so many other businesses elect not to. Doing things differently is a surefire way to stand out. Once you’ve won their attention, they’ll be more likely to check you out and see what you have to offer. If they feel the urge to tell their friends and relatives about you, all the better.
Gifting is the universal language of gratitude, and there’s nothing inappropriate about letting your clients know that you’re grateful for their support. Actively displaying your appreciation is something that everyone should strive to do more often, whether there’s profit on the line or not.
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