Telling clients you appreciate them goes a long way in building loyalty. For less than $2 per client you can also give a unique and affordable gift. Follow these tips during busy season and make all of your client meetings a little more rewarding.
Act now! Thinking about a gift for your clients may not rank high on your priority list, but don't wait on this one. Carve out a few minutes to plan ahead and order a gift; take into consideration the lifecycle of the gift, branding you want included, lead time on the order and order quantities.
Team up with a local business. Supporting a local business is good for the local economy and builds goodwill between your business and theirs. Call and connect with a local business owner or manager to discuss mutually beneficial gift ideas. Get creative and work with any local business that is interested in teaming up for the season.
Give the gift and make the client feel appreciated. Resist the temptation to devalue the gift by not telling them it is a gift as a gesture of your appreciation for their business. Giving the gift at the start of the client meeting will set the tone for a better meeting. Practice what you will say ahead of time. For example, "Before we get started, I want to take this opportunity to thank you and tell you that we appreciate your business. I have a coupon for you good towards a free dessert from Restaurant XYZ."
Consumable or non-consumable? Consumable items like chocolates, gift cards or coupons for local restaurants have a limited shelf-life, but are often appreciated. Non-consumable items typically have a longer shelf-life and can be branded or not branded, depending on your preference. Gifting a client with a non-consumable item that is not typically part of a regular routine (i.e. rubber-band rocket or a light-up gadget) may result in the item being discarded rather than used, so also take that into consideration.
Branding and ordering. Adding your logo, website and social media sites like "Follow us on Facebook" to a gift item is good for branding and to build followership, but it is not always necessary. When ordering items with branding, factor in:
Larger order quantities typically mean lower price-per item;
Plan for a minimum of 2-4 weeks lead time;
There may be shipping and handling fees;
There may be set-up fees for your logo to print on the item, typically $50 - $75; and
There may be a delay in shipping the product from the supplier if the item goes on backorder.
Looking for ideas for local business coupons?
Single (boxed or bagged) truffle or gourmet chocolate
Free cup of coffee
Vehicle service station add-ons:
Free tire rotation with oil change
Free towing with [engine, transmission, accident repair] service
Windshield wiper replacement with new tire purchase