Published December 24, 2010 by
If someone has just sent over a new client to your business, chances are you’re thrilled. You want to thank your business associate for the referral, but may not know how to do it. What’s appropriate? Should you send just a note? Is that too little?
It’s never a bad idea to say thank you in a number of ways. You may have thanked your colleague on the phone or in person, but another good way is to send a gift basket along with a note.
You need not go overboard. Depending on the situation, you’ll want to decide just how much to spend. If you can afford to do more, do it. But if you are just a start-up business with little working cash, it’s ok to go small and elegant.
What do you put in a thank you gift basket to a business associate? Think about the recipient. How do you know him or her? Is it purely business, or do you also know them from socializing outside of work?
If you know the recipient’s personal interests, tailor the basket contents to them. If he’s an avid golfer, include golf balls, a new set of golf gloves, tees and maybe a gift certificate to a meal at his country club. If she’s a high-level executive, give her a spa basket to relax with. Include a gift certificate to a spa for a manicure and massage. Include a terrycloth headband, face mask or nice soaps. You can include high-end items, but be sure not to get too personal. It’s all in the way you present it. If it looks like you just flung some items together, it may seem inappropriate. But if your gift looks like it came from another business, then it’s perfectly acceptable.
Remember, business people have personal lives too. So they love to receive items that are fun and perhaps they can share with their families. That’s when a tin of popcorn and some of the latest DVDs or a coupon for rentals is fine. If you know they have young children, tailor the gift to what they might enjoy doing as well like passes to a zoo. It will show you care about their family life as well as your work relationship.
Err on the side of caution. Anything liquor related should be left out as well as cigars or anything that could be considered in poor taste. This is not the time for gag gifts or off-color humor. Think high-end. If you’re at all uncertain, ask a store clerk to help you select items that are appropriate for business people and have her make the basket for you.
Order baskets premade online to be sure that you are selecting items that are meant to go together. Online gift basket sites have already done the work of collecting all the items for you. Select by category like coffee, candy, etc. It’s much easier to narrow your choice down and then just hit send than to run around looking for the contents yourself.
Be sure to include a sincere thank you note on nice stationery in your own handwriting. This is not the time to use a printer. Be short and sweet about it.