If you're a business owner who is debating whether or not to send gifts to your most loyal clients and customers after the close of 2011, you're not alone. In fact, many companies have trouble picking out a good business gift idea for their clients in addition to deciding whether or not to send one at all. To help you decide which route to take, here are some useful tips.
Reasons for giving
“There are two very real reasons to buy business gifts that are not necessarily warm and fuzzy," one etiquette specialist told The New York Times. "One is obviously to thank someone for their business for the year. The other is to make sure you remain top of mind, and to get your name in front.”
Giving presents to your clients can be good for your business for a variety of reasons. For one, you will be fostering a sense of happiness among your customers, which could ultimately boost their opinion of your company. Additionally, you'll be garnering their attention and showing them that you are thoughtful. This may foster a solid business-client relationship, which will likely offer a boost to your bottom line.
When to give
The Houston Chronicle points out that gifts should generally be given around the holidays, as sending presents to your clients at random times throughout the year may hint that you have an ulterior motive. For example, try not to send your clients a gift when you're working on a contract or business deal - doing so may be seen as a bribe. Also, the news source recommends to refrain from sending gifts to clients you've never worked with or ones that you have lost, as you'll likely seem as if you're trying to win back their business.
However, The New York Times brings up a good point when they suggest not to give gifts during the actual holiday season. Between Christmas and New Year's, no one is likely in the office, so your gift will likely sit around for a while. If your gift involves a plant or food, this might be problematic. Right before or after the holidays is the perfect time to send a little something in the mail.
What to give
The most important thing is to make sure that your gift is personal. This means making sure that you're spelling the recipient's name just right, taking into account his preferences and writing a custom note to accompany the present.
According to the Houston Chronicle, you should choose gender-neutral gifts like pen sets, gift baskets and plants for the office. Anything else could send the wrong message - especially alcohol.
As long as you make your business gifts personalized and thoughtful, now should be a great time to thank your clients for their loyalty in 2011.