Q: What are some ideas for holiday gifts that will benefit my business?
A: You want to think strategically. While there might not be any implicit quid pro quo, a thoughtful gift can nurture and expand business relationships.
I asked several business owners about their gift practices, which ultimately fell into three categories: personalized packages, socially conscious gifts and recurring gifts. All of their presents aim to keep the senders and receivers connected.
For example, graphic designer and illustrator Amy Morelli sends gifts that remind clients of herself and her unique products. She sends out many sets of her Compliment Postcards—one proclaims, “I love your style,” for example. “It’s a set of 20, so each time they use my product, they and their recipients are exposed to my work.”
Custom personalized gifts can wow recipients if you’re sure of their tastes. Heather Moran, owner of the jewelry company Heather Hemingway, creates jewelry for beauty pageant coaches who refer their clients to her. “They love receiving something that they can wear, that’s personalized to them,” says Moran, who spends considerable time researching the favored colors and styles of the intended recipients. “It reminds them regularly to refer prospects to me.”
Generating leads and sales as a small-business owner is often a challenge for New York-based fitness entrepreneur Amie Hoff. She has found that the best promotion and marketing tool is giving her product, FitKit, to prospective corporate customers. Hoff sends her FitKits to decision-makers at some 75 companies after New Year’s Day, which ties into New Year’s health goals and helps her land new business. “Getting FitKit into the hands of the decision-makers has served us really well. We have a 60 percent success rate using this approach.”
Sarah Palisi Chapin, CEO of Dallas-based Hail Merry, sends gifts in line with the philosophy of her company, which creates fresh gluten-free and vegan foods. Along with its newest healthy snacks, “we include a charitable tie-in in the form of a book, donation or other socially conscious product.” This tactic shows recipients that they are appreciated and lets them know the gift benefits a cause they care about.
Justin Krane, a financial planner in Calabasas, Calif., uses gifts to thank people he has worked with as well as to build or maintain business relationships. “I usually spend $50 to $200 per recipient on monthly subscription gift boxes. That way the recipient will think of me every single month. It keeps me top-of-mind to them. I stay in front of them, and it’s automated.”
Orlando, Fla.-based real estate broker Wendy Kennedy Krepak also sends a present that arrives once a month—an annual subscription to SUCCESS—to all of her potential buyers and sellers. “I want my clients to think of me 12 months a year.”
All of these business owners first determine their budgets and target lists. Then they send gifts that help their businesses while pleasing the recipients. With some thinking and planning along these lines, you can do the same.
This article appears in the December 2015 issue of SUCCESS magazine.