Operating your business goes beyond a firm handshake and following up on phone calls. You need to build a business relationship and build trust. At some point you will need to purchase a gift. This, in itself, is a challenge. What exactly is an appropriate gift? What are the rules of corporate gift giving? What kind of message do you want to convey? Corporate gift giving is serious business. It needs to be done properly, politely and be politically correct.
Proper gift giving can strengthen your relationship, build trust, increase loyalty and stimulate referrals. You can enhance your image with an impressive gift and set yourself apart from the crowd.
When gift giving is done incorrectly, it can deteriorate the rapport you once had, enrage an already upset client, jeopardize any future business or referrals and worse, create a lack of respect among your colleagues.
Gift giving etiquette should be understood or serious consequences will result. These etiquette guidelines will ensure you become a successful corporate gift giver.
- Do not give a gift that touches your skin: Perfume, jewelry, clothing. The message may be conveyed as inappropriate and unintended.
- Gifts from males to females should not be personal at all...Again, nothing should touch the skin.
- Gifts from females to males should avoid any unintended messages. A bouquet of mixed flowers is acceptable, however, roses are not.
- Giving alcohol or wine sends an inappropriate message.
- Do not give your boss a gift of any kind. This may only be done as a group. Gifts from individuals may be seen as soliciting for a raise.
- Gifts only for fellow employees or colleagues that are at your level are acceptable. Gifts for upper management should be presented as a group.
- A company logo should be subtle and not seem like blatant advertising.
- Gifts should reflect the occasion it is intended for, (no logo mugs in a Birthday gift).
- When giving gifts to a department, give the same gift to each individual or a large gift for the entire office to share.
- The gift should have the recipient's personality in mind, not yours.
- If possible, hand write a card instead of a "computerized" version. This conveys sincerity.
With all the challenges facing us on a daily basis, we can't afford to destroy a business relationship due to lack of basic gift giving etiquette. These simple guidelines will build your business relationships and strengthen your employee loyalty.