This is the time of year that we are surrounded by commercials and marketing campaigns about gift giving. In years past, gift giving to clients seemed more of a no brainer. Today, with more compliance issues, corporate constraints and the fear of impropriety we may need to rethink how we say thank you to our clients in the form of gifts.
We will need to demonstrate more creative ways to stay in the spirit of the season but not over step:
From the company:
Tokens of appreciation: Make sure that gifts sporting your company's logo meet a certain standard: well made, in tasteful colors and with the logo understated enough not to look like an advertisement.
Charitable gifts: Many companies show their appreciation by giving a donation in the recipient's name. This is a win-win solution: the recipient is glad to be recognized; the company making the donation makes its appreciation known; and both companies contribute to the greater good of society.
From individuals to customers and clients:
Individuals in the company who give gifts to outsiders are usually at the executive to mid-manager level. Many companies forbid ANY corporate gift giving, or only allow employees to accept gifts valued less than $25. Be sure to follow your own company rules AND check with the HR department at the intended recipient's company first. Sending a gift to a client who's unable to keep it is awkward for both parties.
Never give a gift to an outside business associate who is either currently involved in a bidding process with your firm or receiving a bid from you or your company.
Find out (you should already know) what your clients interest are...do they like to read, drink that special coffee drink, garden, go see movies, travel and make the gift special to them. It doesn't have to be expensive but on target in regard to their hobbies.
Most of all find a way to thank you to all of the clients that trust and support you and your company with their business and projects!
43. Go the extra mile in serving the your clients' needs.
One of the best ways to do this is to follow through on all
action items that you and your client have established.
Address any client concerns when they arise. Be as attentive as possible to your clients' requests. Always write
them down immediately. Then keep a constant flow of
communication going, so you can let the client know as
soon as you satisfy each request.
There usually is a rhythm or dynamic at work with each client. Having had long relationships with these individuals, we've shared many experiences and probably bonded in a number of ways. But it is valuable to keep renewing the relationship - so find new, creative ways to increase clients' business or to save time for them. We can't allow ourselves the luxury of taking their business for granted. We must always remember that our clients are accountable for the profits they earn. Their loyalty to us will always be conditioned upon the quality of our efforts for them.
Here are a few tips on ways to keep in front of your clients - but do make sure that they are appropriate to your clients' temperament or personality:
a. Drop off a proposal to them personally; or, if they're far away, add a special personal touch to the delivery.
b. Take the time to send them a handwritten thank-you
c. Send them a gift, such as flowers, on their birthday.
d. Again, follow through on all your promises to them.
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