How to Show Gratitude This Holiday Season
Here it is, November already. Not much more than a month until the holidays start. Christmas decorations have been decking the halls of the big box stores for weeks now as retailers attempt to get you to think about that which you want to deny.
Many professionals traditionally like to acknowledge their clients and show gratitude for their business relationships at this time of year. If you are of that mindset, it’s time to make your decisions and get the ball rolling. Here are some ideas to help you make the best choices.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money
Not everyone is earning the net profits of say Pfizer or Viacom, but gifts don’t need to be expensive or extravagant. One place to start is thinking about how much a client is worth to you, not just today, but over the lifetime of your relationship. Now how much are you willing to spend to keep that client? If a client is worth $50,000 to you, can you “get away with” giving a $10 gift card? Do you want to?
Granted, not all clients are equal, so maybe you have an A-list, B-list and C-list of clients. A-list clients get a large gift basket, B-list clients get a smaller box of treats and C-list clients get a card. And by the way, if you are going to send a card, for gosh sakes, make it personal and don’t send something printed and signed by a computer!
Consumables are great, but keep sensitivity in mind
Back in the day of Mad Men, it was totally acceptable, perhaps even expected, that holiday gifts would be alcoholic. Bottles of Jim Beam for everyone! Today, giving alcohol is extremely risky. Be sensitive to the fact that, for a variety of reasons, many people choose not to drink.
You’re better off giving a food gift. Year after year, specialty foods are the most popular type of holiday gift. While you can’t always know if your recipient eats no more than tree bark, roots and nuts, he or she won’t be offended by receiving an edible treat and can easily share your gift with others in the office. Coffee, loose leaf tins of tea or fruit arrangements are also considerate choices.
Just say NO to promo items
If a food gift is not your style, a business book or biography of someone you admire is a thoughtful pick. Or how about journals, note cards, digital photo frames, games or plants? Whatever you do, resist the urge to use promotional items as holiday gifts! Mugs, towels, golf balls or anything else with your company’s logo on is advertising for you, not a genuine way to say how much you value a customer.
Understand your limits
Some companies and specifically government organizations, but many others as well, set limits around what employees can and cannot accept. If you’re not sure, ask. If you don’t want to ask, then sending a card is probably your safest course of action (in which case, see above regarding handwritten cards).
Follow these guidelines, celebrate the season and let your clients and business associates know how much you appreciate them this year.
Lori Saitz founded Zen Rabbit and helped business owners and corporate professionals say thank you to their clients with The Gratitude Cookie™ for 11 years. To help your business stand out, she believes it’s even better to send gifts and show appreciation for clients throughout the year, not just in December.
In addition to doing voice-overs and interviews with entrepreneurs, she still consults with and crafts appreciation marketing strategies and systems for many types of service businesses. Her current website is www.LoriSaitz.com. Reach her via email at Lori@ZenRabbit.com.