When it comes to corporate gift giving, many people tell me they feel they are navigating a mine field. Spend too little and you risk seeming unappreciative; too much and you risk embarrassing both your client and yourself.
As the holidays approach, rather than feeling anxiety over what to give, look at this as an opportunity to strengthen the bond with your clients, and express how you appreciate working with them. It isn’t hard if you follow few simple do’s and don’ts.
Don’t assume that the more expensive a gift, the better. Many companies will have a policy around the maximum value of gift employees are permitted to receive. It would be a disservice to put your client in the awkward position of having to return it.
Do think back to conversations you’ve had with your client about weekend hobbies, special activities with the kids, new homes, or favourite restaurants when deciding on a gift. They will be so much more impressed receiving something personal, than say, a generic gift such as a bottle of wine or a gift basket. It will reinforce their opinion of you as a good listener.
Do go for quality over quantity. Here is where I received some good advice from Isabelle Fish, owner of Rue Pigalle, a Yorkville boutique that carries elegant gifts and décor items. Isabelle had a career as a corporate lawyer before following her dream to open her boutique, so is well versed in the etiquette of corporate gift giving.
“I spend a lot of time searching for reasonably priced home and décor items of exceptional pedigree” explains Isabelle. “The Ercuis and Raynaud collections are a perfect examples: both family owned companies create exquisite decorative items in silver and Limoges porcelain. A set of silver place card holders, or a hand painted porcelain dish in a smart fitted case would impress anyone as a very tasteful and useful gift – pretty flower arrangement delivered in one of our vases that could be used again and again is another good example of a unique gift – it demonstrate the extra time and care put into the gift selection. Italian glass is another timeless gift – the kind where the quality won’t go unnoticed.”
Feel free to contact Isabelle for more advice and ideas at (647) 352-8115, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget to ensure your offering is gift wrapped elegantly, and that it is labelled such that it will reach its intended recipient – as in all other areas of presentation, first impressions matter. It would be equally embarrassing if it was discovered that a curious person opened it mistakenly, and worse still if the recipients never found out that it was you who gave the perfect gift!