Published December 09, 2010 by
It’s the holiday season, and you’re not sure what to do about corporate gifts. Maybe you’re new to the company or the industry. Or maybe you’re just not sure what’s appropriate. It’s good to get advice before you send any gifts, so here are some things you should think about.
Before a single gift goes out your doors, make sure to check with each recipient’s company policy. Are they allowed to accept gifts? If gifts are under a certain dollar value (such as $25) is it okay? Each company is different, so assign an employee the task of calling each company to find out. It may take someone all day to call every company on the list, but it will save you embarrassment in the end. Even if you’ve got the greatest gift in mind and can’t wait to send it, you’ll find it’s returned to you if the recipient is prohibited from receiving it.
Do you have to give gifts? No. No one is expecting, or has a right to expect, a gift from your company. The reason you’d want to give a gift is purely because you value the relationship with the recipient. Have they been a good client all year? Have they helped you with rush orders? Have they been an indispensable part of your supply chain? Then by all means, recognize their good work with a gift.
This is the only good reason to send business holiday gifts. Any gift sent with the intention of “buying” a client’s allegiance is wasted. You’d be better off taking that account to lunch instead to talk business. People will see through your less than honest intentions if you send an expensive gift as a way of wooing them.
So, you’re sure you want to give gifts, now what should you give? This all depends on your unique situation. Are you a new company with little cash flow? Then you’re not going to be able to do the same sort of gifts a large corporation could. Nor should you have to. A simple, thoughtful gift is fine. Send a fruit basket the entire office at the recipient’s end can enjoy. Make sure the card includes all those who are owed a thank you. A sentiment such as, “For everyone at XYZ Company, Thank you for making this our best year ever. Enjoy!” is perfect. In fact, even if your company has tons of reserve cash, you may still want to send food. Office workers love an unexpected treat like long stem cookies, gourmet brownies or exotic coffees. Splurge a little and recognize each department that’s helped you out.
Include a hand written note. Never print out a note. It may come off as impersonal. Take a few minutes to hand write on nice card stock a heartfelt note. It may make all the difference in whether you’re still in business with the recipient when the next budget cuts come around.
While giving a business gift won’t ensure that you retain clients or accounts, it will help others to see you as generous and grateful for their relationship with your company. If you can’t send something nice, don’t send anything at all. It’s better to just send a thoughtful card than a shoddy gift.