Is it best practice to offer a discount or get your regulars a gift?
From my experience in the hospitality/tourism industry, I see this pretty regularly at either the beginning or end of our high peak season. If you agree, what's an appropriate or reasonable gift/discount for your most valued and regular customers?
We recommend sending them out a reusable debit card with your Brand, business info, and website...Somewhat like a $25, $50, or $100 appreciation http://brofarops.giftcards.com
But it should be noted that every industry, laws and best practices, differs.
If you want gifts to your clients to be valued by them, you need to give them something that you know they need or want. Many people make the mistake of giving "valuable" gifts to clients/prospects. These gifts are based upon monetary value -- gifts need to be based on the needs and wants of the person receiving them.
Sometimes the most appreciated gift is a book or article that directly relates to the client's situation.
When you give a group of selected clients all the same gift, your message goes from "this is for you," to "look at how I can spend money on you."
Watch for compliance with company policies for both the giver and the receiver. In general, token gifts of less than $25 are not a problem, but I prefer the age-old taking clients to lunch. Face to face helps to cement the relationship and leads to more business.
Richard Stern-I think it is good to acknowledge good cstomers. The gift should not be personal. Gift baskets of fruit, wine, muffins show a client how much you value their busiess.
That depends on how you treat them most of the time, but as a rule, I would say no. If you really value your clients you will have a very good close relationship with them, one that engenders trust and respect. In that environment gifts are frankly unnecessary, and can become a burden if a sense of expectation begins to arise which will only serve to undermine the relationship. If that closeness does not exist, then gift-giving is tantamount to desperation.
In my view, let the relationship with the client blossom, and if (and only if) a unique occasion arises that warrants a gift, give it freely and in the spirit intended, and make sure it is a gift that is suitable and appropriate to both the client and the occasion. No expectation of reciprocation will come from this type of event, and it will serve to further build the relationship. Otherwise, steer well away.
things are good or bad its totally depends on your ideology and your explanation,...
Culture does have some bearing on what is done in the way of gifts between suppliers and clients. It also depends somewhat on the industry.
However...Gift giving is a slippery slope that can be taken as an enticement for further business that is not on the merit of the business. It is an ethics problem that does not go away, even with rules of limitations.
You want to reward your clients for their business? Show them a report of how you met their expectations and how everything they paid for is exactly what they wanted. give the customer no more and no less than what he is willing to pay for.
I can tell you that as a client, when I get an unexpected gift from a vendor, first I return it, but then I take a closer look at what I paid for to see if I can find where I paid too much.
Gift is an investment. The most exciting part is the outcome of the investment.
Best practices - will give you normal result ...little surprise expected
Unethical approach - either great result or poor result ...lots of surprises
A common but not sincere gift will be free trips or cruises during off-peak times.
My previous company did not allow us to take gifts from vendors except for few occasions in India like Diwali or New Year and the value should not be more than Few Dollars or things like a Calender, Pen, Sweets / Chocolates were ok.. An Iphone was a clear NO.. Its fine when you offer a gift but at the receiving end they should take a call because they get obligated and could end up in wrong decisions..
Whaat I recommend is a a trail of a product or service or some sort of added bonus rather than a gift which can be interpreted as a bribe.
I think it's better to get them discount or more free goods.
First, be sure of the laws affecting gift giving for your industry. It is possible that gifts could be considered "pay per indluence" and that could have legal ramifications.
Otherwise, I would do more to find out from you colleagues what is done already in your business and what might be done by competitors. Here is a case where you should considered your gift as "of the type given", else you might be seen as currying favor (influence) as opposed to gifting for the business relationship already expressed.
In my view, it is best to give gifts to "friends", which means you should already be sure the person recieving the gift will percieve it so. At any other business level, you are "paying" for past or future performance (access.) IMO
Gifts are cute. Relationships are profitable. Understanding and having a real relationship (interpersonal, email, phone conversations) and figuring out what a customer does after working hours goes a lot further than gifts.
A CEO/Salesperson that clearly demonstrates that they know a valued client by wishing their wife a happy birthday with a 5% off discount for their birthday month keeps money in-house (they may not spend it) and fosters a deeper more meaningful brand connection.
Ask first if the customer has a policy about accepting gifts from suppliers or vendors...A gift that is focused on advertising your brand is of course acceptable, and then if there is no policy against giving a gift then make sure its done in good taste and that others don't look at it as "buying the business"...In good taste and thanking for the relationship over the past...Nothing needed to say about the future
Hi Jason, best practices are to let your client know that you truly appreciate them and thank them often. How you do it is certainly situational. No reason to follow the crowd here. Make it useful and deliver it personally for desired impact. Reasonable value in gift items is important for impression and policy. Best Richard
It is a good business practice to show how much you appreciate the clients by sending a small gift. I usually reserve that for the end of the year. I may send a nice pen set or something like that. Nothing extravagant. If your company has some type of awards ceremony present the client with an award or plaque. That gesture goes a long way.
something made of card, with natural scent oils, wood or flowers - a seasonal reminder - a chart of growth of animals or plants.
There is no reason NOT to give a thoughtful gift to a valued client. Are you crazy? Do you know how far a well thought out gift goes? Clients often expect them. There's no industry I've seen that this doesn't apply to...
Sometimes gifting can be tough, especially in certain industries where there are strict limitations. Alternatives to gifting may be as small as personal thank you cards or as big as a celebration dinner or social event. There are myriad ways to get a great result for your investment in networking and client relationships if you cannot or choose not to gift.
Having said that, if you do gift, it's nice to try and tie in with a big event or occasion. Sometimes the timing and the effort are more memorable than the object.
For example, one of my close business acquaintances always makes sure to send 10 second videos from wherever he is (work, gym, restaurant) with a birthday greeting. He posts them on people's Facebook pages, and they are a huge hit. It doesn't cost anything but a minute of time, and it makes a huge impression.
For the objects themselves: A basket of treats for the office is also a good way to make a lot of people appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Small items from really tony brands work well, too. Like a desktop item from Alessi, or a key fob from Hermes, or a coffee table book from Phaidon. Sometimes the box it's in is as impressive as the gift itself.
For referrals and nurturing the relationship, absolutely. Sendoutcards is a great way to accomplish this and conveniently and affordably keeping up with birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions with personalized greeting cards and gifting. If interested, I'm happy to help you learn more.