The majority of businesses give gifts; these may be at specific times of the year; such as Christmas or at annual celebrations. Research shows that most of these gifts are issued to business clients; this is to cement the commitment each business has to each other and continue to build on their existing relationship. Long serving employees or those who have performed exceptionally well also receive gifts. Most businesses also give gifts to prospective new customers.
There is limited research into the effectiveness of gift giving as an incentive to new customers but the studies which have been completed show business which give gifts do gain more customer enquiries.
Gift or Incentive?
A gift must be seen as something which is unexpected and delivered spontaneously. An incentive is a designated prize or gift for achieving a specified goal. It is important to know the difference as one is used to motivate employees whilst the other builds relationships.
Different businesses have different rules regarding giving and receiving gifts. This can be particularly true when dealing with different countries and different lifestyles. There are also tax implications of certain gifts or value of gifts and you need to be aware of these. There are several occasions when you should never give gifts as they may be misinterpreted:
- During the bidding process; a gift may be considered a bribe
- Expensive gifts can send the wrong message and question both the business and the receiver’s motivation. It will also be likely to fall foul of modern gift regulations.
- Gifts given publicly can cause embarrassment, particularly if they are inappropriate or provide the wrong impression.
Giving the Right Gift
It is very easy to give a gift which will cause more harm to a relationship than good. It is important to stick to the following guidelines:
- The gift must be appropriate. This is not a matter of cost but rather of whether the gift will be gratefully received by the recipient. If you attempt to use a gift to break the ice with a new client it is likely to backfire. Gifts should be given no more than two or three times a year and should never be excessively lavish.
- The gift should be relevant to the receiver, this way they will both appreciate the gift and the effort undertaken by you.
- Timing is essential. A gift should only be given when there is a solid reason; preferably one that recognizes the value of the relationship. This could be the anniversary of a business relationship or their birthday.
- Present the gift nicely. After having put some serious thought into what gift to give you will need to present it nicely. This includes deciding whether it is more appropriate to mail the gift to their work or home address; it may even be better to deliver it in person.
Knowing how to give and when to give is not enough! You must also choose what to give. There are many options and the following are some of the best:
- Food items, particularly baskets can be a good choice as they can be enjoyed with family and friends. However, some of the selections can be very bland and not speak directly to a person. A little more thought may help. It is also worth considering whether the gift will get past the receptionist or whether it will simply feed the admin staff!
- Alcohol has always been a favorite gift although it is imperative to pick something that the receiver will enjoy. This is a gift which should be considered carefully, wine or whiskey collectors will appreciate a good bottle, other people will not.
- Tickets for sporting events can be an excellent gift. As long as your client has an interest in the show or event it will be a great thrill and a great gift. Provided you pick an event they will actually enjoy!
Whatever gift you choose it is essential to think hard and choose the gift carefully. The gift must be something that the recipient will like, not something that you like. If gifts are not appropriate it may be worth making a donation on their behalf to their favorite charity.
By John Smith and VeritasGifts.co.uk!