Finding and maintaining strong client relationships is the bread and butter of any business-to-business operation. One of the best ways to stand out in a crowded market, and make yourself memorable to clients new and old, is gifting.
But it’s easy to make mistakes with gifting if it gets left to the last minute. Businesses are busier than ever these days, and with so much on the go, gifting can promptly pivot from a proactive plan to a panic. And a bad gift is, arguably, worse than no gift at all. So, if you want to take advantage of all the benefits good gifting can bring to your client relationships, it’s important to be proactive.
While the same broad themes are also relevant to employee gifting, the details are different. When it comes to your clients, here’s how to avoid five of the biggest last-minute gifting mistakes.
Don’t Be a Perfectionist
Perfectionism gets a bad rap sometimes, but it has its places. Perfectionism is great for people working in nuclear reactors, for example. But when it comes to gifting, the flack it receives is well-deserved.
Fact is, there probably isn’t a perfect gift you can get for a client. There are better, worse, and totally inappropriate gifts though, and in this case, perfect is the enemy of good. We’ve all gotten good, great, or even excellent gifts. The really thoughtful ones stick in our minds years later.
So, don’t be a perfectionist. If you’re panic-scrolling through last-minute options and muttering to yourself as the clock ticks ever louder, stop, take a breath, and consider what you’re actually trying to accomplish with the gift. It’s probably not as grandiose as your last-minute panic is making it out to be. It should be thoughtful and take your clients’ key stakeholders into account.
Not to mention that your relationship is, largely, professional, not personal. A good gift is icing on the cake, not the whole cake itself.
Something Isn’t Better Than Nothing
Ok, so you’ve gotten together with your colleagues and decided that gifting one of your clients is a good idea. Now that you’ve decided this, obviously that means you are legally and contractually bound to give that gift. That’s how ideas work: once you have them, you are bound by the ineffable laws of the universe to carry them to fruition.
We’re not suggesting you simply throw in the towel if a great gift idea doesn’t come immediately to mind. But you also shouldn’t be thinking in the back of your mind that you can always just print out a copy of a digital gift card and call it a day. Everyone’s gotten that gift, and everyone’s been vaguely disappointed by it.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t treat client gifting as frivolous or unimportant because it’s not. It’s a key differentiator for your business because gifts always make an impression. So, it’s worth taking the time and effort to make sure the gift you give is a good one.
Don’t Trust Your Brain
Ok, bear with us: when you’re anxious, the parts of your brain that help you make high-level, abstract decisions slow down.
This is great if you’re being chased by a pack of velociraptors because that really isn’t the time for philosophizing about the road less traveled. But high-level abstract thinking is the meat and potatoes of decision-making in the modern world.
So, if you’re in a state of last-minute panic, you can’t and shouldn’t trust your brain. If you’re looking for a last-minute gift, trust what you know about your client and key stakeholders. And check your notes and records if you can’t remember key details because stress messes with your memory as well.
Keep Your Budget Front and Center
In a last-minute scramble, it’s easy to lose track of the details your brain deems unimportant. Again, if you’re dodging velociraptors, whether you put your campfire out is, shall we say, not front-of-mind.
Unfortunately, budget is one detail you can’t afford to lose track of. Going over budget is bad for everyone: it’s obviously bad from a business perspective, but it can also skew your client’s expectations. If you ever want to do another round of gifting, you don’t want to get their hopes up and let them down. Sometimes, a good way to build a strong relationship is to under promise and overdeliver.
But you should also make sure you’re taking advantage of your budget. After all, you budgeted for the gift, so use the funds you have. Just remember that a more expensive gift doesn’t always mean a better one. A healthy budget just means you have more options, making it easier to maximize the chance you will get the best possible gift(s).
Don’t Shop Last Minute
Ok, this one is kind of cheating. But the single biggest mistake you can make is leaving things too late. If you leave yourself enough time, you can easily solve all these problems and the countless others involved in choosing a memorable, impactful gift.
But you’re busy running your main business, so how do you find the time?
The best thing you can do is choose the right partner, someone for whom gifting is what they do, and leave it to them.
We offer services to customize gifts around themes to make sure clients get good, appropriate, memorable gifts. We work with the info you send us to make sure we’re curating gifts thoughtfully, and we work within your budget. With storing capabilities and gifting portals, we make it easy to set up flexible rosters of gifts in advance and get them out on time.Check out our solutions to find out how you can streamline your client gifting.