Tina LoSasso, Managing Editor of SalesDog.com, an online resource for sales professionals, recently sent me some valuable tips entitled, The Salesperson’s Guide to Gift-Giving. And it certainly has some noteworthy points to consider during this holiday season. Here they are:
Anyone braving the shopping malls during the holiday season knows that finding the perfect gift for family or friends is not easy. Business gift-giving can be even more challenging. Choosing the right business gift requires more time and thoughtfulness. How do you go about selecting exactly the right gift for that important client? Here are some time-honored rules of thumb from the new sales advice book, Top Dog Sales Secrets.
• Reject run-of-the-mill. Shun the ho hum food baskets and opt for a more memorable gift. Check your client notes. What are his hobbies? Does he golf, cook or play sports? If your client, the gourmet cook, is still raving about the meals he enjoyed during his vacation in Tuscany, send him a beautifully illustrated regional cookbook. Your gift, and you, will be remembered far longer than a generic tin of cookies.
• No advertising! When is a gift not a gift? When it comes with your company’s logo on it. Save the logo-imprinted pens, paperweights, mouse pads and calculators for trade shows. And gift certificates from your own company are not really gifts. They’re promotions that make you look stingier than Scrooge. Instead, send a gift certificate from a national department store or ecommerce site.
• The ultimate in thoughtfulness is a gift you make yourself. This is especially true around the holidays. Unless your customer is a Martha Stewart type, she probably has little time to make much of anything. Gifts of homemade cookies, candy or preserves will be greatly appreciated. Packaging is important with homemade presents, so make them look pretty!
• Women love chocolate. In this case, think quality, not quantity. A small box of exquisite, handmade truffles will be appreciated far more than a big box of run-of-the-mill chocolates. Gourmet coffees and teas, crystal items and potted plants are usually a hit. Remember, a saleswoman may send more personal items—aromatherapy candles, a spa kit—to her stressed-out female clients, but salesmen should not be so familiar. Sorry guys—that is life. You are not in the club.
• Men love gadgets, toys and food. Think of the latest electronics, or a clever desktop novelty. High-quality pens, nuts or jellybeans also score highly with men. Cigars are a great idea if you know he smokes them. Once again, think quality, not quantity. It’s far better to send a few of the very best than a box of duds he will throw away.
• Think regional. Consider sending a gift from your region of the country: Ghirardelli chocolate from San Francisco, smoked salmon from the Northwest, cheese from Wisconsin, citrus fruit from Florida or California, authentic Cajun fixin’s from Louisiana, or barbecue sauce from Texas. Cleverly packaged, these unique local gifts (and you) will be remembered far longer than a generic tin of cookies.