5 Great (and Inexpensive) Business Gifts for Long-Term Customer Relationships
Are business gifts still ‘a thing’? They most certainly are, says Forbes contributor John Hall. In fact, the writer stresses the importance of letting long-term customers know you’re thinking about them by sending out gifts even when the time hasn’t come for the holidays. Most resources on the matter advise sending thoughtful presents about once a year. ‘Thoughtful’ is a key word here: you don’t want to risk jeopardizing an otherwise important business relationship. Steer clear of risqué items, try to select things that you know the client would appreciate, and avoid cheap, run-of-the-mill presents (like branded pens, for instance!). That being said, you don’t need to splurge a fortune on a gift for a customer. In fact, the best gifts are personal and thoughtful. Here’s a helpful list of suggestions:
1. Small indulgences
Got a client who’s a wine aficionado? Then feel free to send them a customized selection of fine quality wines – a single bottle will do, as long as you know it’s a vintage or brand they would appreciate. Along the same lines, you can opt for a gift certificate from Birminghamcigars.com, if you know that one of your customers sometimes enjoys indulging in this type of pastime. Gift certificates are the most easily custom-izable type of gift and you can’t really go wrong on the business scene with a gift of fine tobacco.
2. Something truly unique
Never underestimate the power of personalized, hand-made or otherwise uniquely tailored gifts. As exemplified by this list on thisblogrules.com, a gift based on someone’s likeness is a sweet, considerate thought that will not go unnoticed – not even in the business world. Keep it PG and family-friendly, but don’t shy away from a lightly humorous gift, such as customized t-shirts, artwork, or framed photos of you and your clients.
3. Gadgetry galore
Let’s face it, gadgets are the must-have items of the century. Where would we all be without our FitBits, smartwatches, or other types of wearable tech. The potential problem with gifting gadgets is that some of them tend to run a bit on the expensive side – but at least these totally unique ones that we found featured on mancertified.com look like they provide the bang for the buck. Again, you don’t need to splurge. A very thoughtful business gift I received was an encrypted USB stick (about $100) from a crowd funding team. It did not cost a month’s rent, but it tied in neatly with the concept behind the campaign itself.
Wine tastings, barista classes, a night out at the opera, the drive-in, or a good restaurant. These are all highly unique, unrepeatable gifts that will literally keep on giving. There’s little else that says, “I value you” to a business client as well as an experience does. Again, bear the common rules of courtesy in mind and try to select an experience that is aligned with the customer’s lifestyle choices and preferences, inasmuch as you have gleaned them. Don’t hesitate to shop around for vouchers and discounted events, because when you give the gift of an experience, it shouldn’t be about budgeting as much as it should be about quality.
That’s right: one of the best gifts you can give a business client is attention, care, and concern. A perfect example of a gift that embodies all these qualities is a donation to one of your clients’ favorite causes. Not only does that donation have the potential to change the world in a certain way, but it also communicates, loudly and clearly, that you resonate with their core values and principles. The rule of thumb here is that the more personal the cause is, the more valuable the gift will seem, too.
– Terry Findley