It shouldn’t be a stressful experience…
Giving gifts is a perfect way to show appreciation to customers, clients, referral sources and employees. A quality business gift provides a memorable means of making contact or staying in touch. This is the time of year when many businesses start the “fire drill” of figuring out what the company’s corporate gift program will entail for year end. It can be a very simple process. Here are four steps to get you started:
- Determine the budget and gift recipient list
Start with the budget. When determining a budget, evaluate the size of your list of recipients and plan for quality. Sending a cheap gift tells the recipients you don’t really appreciate them. A budget will also help focus the types of gifts you consider. No sense looking at a particular item if it is beyond your budget. Some smaller companies will work with you to develop a spending plan and possibly segment the recipient list by size of client/customer and provide you a customized spending proposal.
- Research: look online AND poll your network
The Internet is helpful and a great start. However, word of mouth is even better. Poll your network (business associates and family) and find out what company others may have used. Ask about their service experience. Ask about the feedback from recipients. Better yet, look around town and find a local supplier that isn’t just some anonymous online Web site. Like anything else, word of mouth is the most meaningful recommendation. If the gift you choose is a food product like chocolate or cheese, be sure to check out customer comments about the quality of the company’s offerings.
- Choose a partner that provides value-added services
Make your life easy by choosing a corporate gift partner that not only provides quality gifts, but also provides additional time-saving services for you:
– Utilizing your recipient list in the way you wish to provide it (e.g. print or spreadsheet) vs. how it fits into their online system
– Developing custom gift selections to meet varying budgets linked to different segments of your gift list
– Personalizing your gifts through inclusion of your greeting card, business card or marketing materials
- Ask who will work on your order
You want to be confident that your order will be handled professionally and with attention to detail. If you can’t get the name of a key contact (i.e. not customer service), then move on. If the contact name you are given is the business owner, then you should feel confident placing the order. It is critical to have a contact person who will be responsible for ensuring that your order is completed on time and that each gift is packaged with care.
Follow these four simple steps and you will choose a partner that will make you and your corporate gift program a success. In the holiday season, you want to hear kudos from your customers or clients, not complaints about the quality of the gifts.