“Last call for holiday gifts!” “Order before it’s too late!” This time of year can be overwhelming. Your inbox is FULL of emails pushing you to send client gifts ASAP, and you are rushing to complete your to-do list before year-end. You may be feeling the pressure…but what if we told you there was a better way?
We recommend that our clients consider sending business gifts in the new year and at non-traditional times throughout the year. Sending your gifts at strategic times creates unexpected and personal touch points. This opens opportunities to foster client relationships and achieves a perfect balance between surprise and delight.
Timing is everything. While it may seem obvious to send client appreciation gifts In December, it is smart to think beyond the typical “holiday” gifting season. When you send a thoughtful gift basket in January, your recipients are more likely to be in the office with time to actually enjoy your kind gesture. December can be hectic. No matter what field you work in, from the legal industry to financial services, clients are bound to be busy. You may not even know which holidays your clients celebrate, but it is a safe bet that everyone enjoys a little festivity around the New Year.
Leeatt Rothschild describes this opportunity in a recent piece for Property Casualty 360: “Sending your clients a thoughtful gift in January along with a note wishing them well for the new year may be more impactful than sending a branded notebook right before Christmas. Then in a follow-up conversation you can talk about your working relationship and contract for the coming year.”1 Doing so not only ensures your gift stands out, but it also enables you to seize the opportunity to discuss your business relationship and future growth opportunities.
Relationships are essential. You don’t have to limit your outreach and appreciation to the holiday season. The key to strong client and partner relationships is keeping them warm all year round, not just once a year when everyone sends the ubiquitous holiday gift. Gift-giving at non-traditional times will ensure that you stand out from the crowd, and it opens a conversation about plans for the year ahead.
Small Business Trends sums it up nicely: “You should cater the timing of gift giving to particular clients. Some clients might not celebrate Christmas. Try to cater your gift giving to clients’ preferences rather than your own.”2 You work hard to meet client needs all year round; gift giving should be no different. From celebrating contract renewals to marking business anniversaries, there are countless points year round when you can create meaningful client connections.
Here are several gifting occasions that will resonate with your clients:
- Key points in the client acquisition process
- Important client milestones such as program anniversaries or renewals
- After a major client success
- Client occasions like birthdays and weddings
- Non-peak holidays such as Thanksgiving or New Year’s
Unexpected is underrated. Imagine returning to the office in the new year and finding a delightful gift. When you wait until the holiday buzz has died down, your recipients will be pleasantly surprised. A thoughtful well-timed gift will leave a lasting positive impression. Inc. Magazine highlights another added benefit: “There is great value in giving unexpected gifts. It triggers reciprocity, which makes people think more highly of you and want to give back (or reciprocate the gesture).”3
When your client or prospect receives that unexpected delivery, they are more likely to take the opportunity to call or email you to express their gratitude and catch up. Now you are one step ahead of the competition, with a deeper client relationship and closer to achieving your future business goals.
We hope you are inspired to send client gifts at non-traditional times this coming year, because a meaningful gift + impeccable timing = a recipe for business success.