Corporate Gift Guide: 7 Tips For Buying Gifts Your Clients and Vendors Will Love
Picking out gifts for clients, (staff or vendors, too), can be stressful.
- What’s an appropriate gift?
- How much should you spend per client?
- Should you give them a gift with your logo and company name on it?
- Do you have the correct mailing addresses for all of your clients?
- What if they don’t like the gift?
These are just a handful of questions to consider when buying holiday gifts.
In this post, we’re going to walk you through some dos and don'ts as well as share some gift examples.
The Dos And Don’ts of Buying Gifts For Clients
If you are anything like us, you’ve probably received an awkward gift or two before. Maybe it was from your vendor, who means well, but insists on buying you the same coffee mug every year even though you don’t drink coffee. Or, the client who unknowingly sent you a giant holiday cookie basket three days after you started a new diet (umm, healthy eating plan!).
While you can’t control how your clients will react to the gifts you send them, here are some gift-giving tips that can stack the odds in your favor.
1. Add your clients’ names on the gift
This might seem obvious, but I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen people buy gifts and neglect key details. If you are going to send a gift, consider including each person’s name or initials. This would be great on custom journals for example. Put the gift over the top with a handwritten thank you note.
Pro Tip: While this costs extra - both in time and money, it can make a big impact on how your clients and vendors perceive the gift.
2. Know your budget
It is not about how much money you spend. In fact, spending a ton of money on each gift can actually backfire. If you run a service business (such as an agency, law firm, or web development shop), your clients should be impressed by your level of service and results NOT your gift-giving abilities. Nobody likes a brown-noser.
It also helps to keep things in perspective. If the lifetime value of a client is $500, don’t buy them a $600 espresso machine. In addition, we’d also encourage you to refrain from buying gift cards or other gifts where you can easily look up the price.
3. Know your Customers
Remember: you are buying gifts for clients, not your significant other, family members or best friends. While you probably know better than to send your client a cat onesie, a Kermit the Frog Chia Pet, or a Bob Ross bobblehead doll (unless you know they are a Bob Ross fan), there are plenty of mundane gifts that could be awkward if given in the wrong context. For example, sending a custom suitcase set to a client who is afraid of flying.
If you don’t know your customers that well, it is best to stick with safe, middle of the road gifts. Journals, upscale pens, tech gifts, insulated drinkware and luggage are always appreciated.
4. Think Twice Before Sending Food and Beverage Gifts
Fruit baskets, wine and cheese platters, holiday cookies, and bottles of wine are often seen as tried and true holiday gifts.
We’d argue that food and beverage gifts aren’t the safe options that most people think they are. There are lots of ways that food and beverage gifts can backfire, including:
- What if you send a gourmet pecan pie to a client who has a severe nut allergy? This “thoughtful holiday gift” could send them to the emergency room.
- Or, sending a giant box of chocolate-chip cookies or other assorted baked goods to a client a few days after they started a new diet.
- And, sending a crate of regional craft beers to a client who doesn’t drink because they are a recovering alcoholic
If you do go with a food gift, make sure to buy something like this Desktop Pen Holder with Gourmet Snacks that a client can use long after the sweet treats are gone.
5. Consider Presentation
A $10 gift can look like a $100 gift if it’s presented in an elegant box with a thoughtful note. For example, many of our customers love giving this tumbler that is packaged in a cylindrical box.
In addition, you can also stand out by sending gifts outside of the holiday season. For example, Thanksgiving in the U.S. It is a great time to send gifts. Another good time is the beginning of the year.
6. Follow Company Guidelines
Many large companies have gift policies in place. For example if you have clients, who work for professional associations such as law firms, banks or political organizations, many have caps on what kinds of gifts they are allowed to accept. Some can’t accept any gifts. It is a good idea to brush up on these policies before you buy gifts. (Insider tip: we think at least a few of these get ignored. We've heard of very few gifts refused from our clients!)
7. Sending Branded v. UnBranded Gifts
Will having your company logo or name on the item make people think twice about using the item in their daily lives?
If the answer is no, then sending branded gifts can work well. You just need to make sure they are high-quality, thoughtful, and useful.
However, in some cases, unbranded gifts to clients can work way better. If the item you are giving is unexpected, appealing and/or valuable enough to produce a strong connection, then your client will use the gift and associate it positively with you and your brand although there's not a logo in sight. Every year, we get some customers ordering holiday gifts for their customers and specifically telling us 'no logo.'
In sum, these are seven things to consider before you send out your holiday gifts to clients or vendors.
If you are looking for help picking the perfect gifts for all of the clients and vendors on your holiday list, we can help. Feel free to email us here or give us a call at 888-553-9569.
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