Successful client relationships are built on many factors: honesty, clear communication, mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s time. Basically, if you remember to apply the Golden Rule in all of your day-to-day business interactions, you should have it covered.
When it comes to holiday time, though, we all have an added opportunity to let our clients know how much we appreciate their choosing to work with us over the past year. You can send a thank you email or a holiday card, but if you really want to capture your clients’ attention, a great token of appreciation is to send an actual holiday gift. Gift giving shows those people who do business with you that your brand stands for relationships, thoughtfulness and going the extra mile.
But be thoughtful when selecting your client gifts and try not to take the easy way out. We’re willing to bet that your clients will get enough company-branded stress balls from vendors to last them an entire decade of racing toward their own deadlines. You can never go wrong by sending a fruit basket, a box full of tasty snacks or some locally made goodies, but why not think outside the (gift) box and send them something with real meaning behind it?
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Socially responsible gifts can show your clients that you not only care about them, but also that your company cares about giving back. You can select gifts from organizations that have meaning to your company, such as a local nonprofit that your team volunteers with. Or, if you really want to go that extra mile, research the charities that are important to the recipient and select gifts from them or make a donation in their honor.
One important caveat: make sure your clients are allowed to accept gifts before you send them! Some companies have restrictions on the dollar amount of a gift their employees can accept to minimize the appearance of conflicts of interest or special treatment by vendors. If you can get your logo engraved or printed on your holiday gifts, even better: Most accountants agree that the gift is intended for business use and wouldn’t be subject to gift policy limits.