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February 26, 2014

Giving client gifts? Are they “unexpected?”

GiftOn my flight home from the MRA Conference in Las Vegas two weeks ago, I was watching an old movie on my iPad… Finding Forrester, with Sean Connery.  A really good movie, by the way, if you haven’t seen it.

In it, he’s giving advice to young man on the best way to a woman’s heart.  And his is advice is to give… “an unexpected gift at an unexpected time.”

Great advice… and it works for clients, too.

Many of us (our firm included) give gifts to some of our clients at Christmas time or for their birthdays. And that’s fine.  But beyond that, there are many other times when “an unexpected gift at an unexpected time” can really help to build, maintain or enhance your relationship with a client.  Think about:

  • As a thank you for a referral (even if that referral doesn’t become a client right away)
  • Just showing up with donuts or bagels one morning
  • When you happen to be in town and want to get together for a drink (yes, your presence is a gift, too)
  • When your contact (or spouse of a contact) is having a baby
  • When your contact has a work anniversary or gets a big promotion (easy to find on LinkedIn)
  • When you find out a client’s favorite sports team or hobby… and give a related gift
  • After a client sends you an unsolicited testimonial letter raving about your work
  • As a way to simply say “thank you for your business” to a first-time client
  • As a way to simply say “thank you for your business” to a long-standing client

What’s appropriate for a gift?  These “unexpected” gifts do not have to be elaborate or expensive.  But they do have to be from the heart.  This all gets back to one of the great truisms in business… “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

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