Giving Gifts to Referral Sources

It’s that time of year. You’ve been busy, extremely busy. As a small business owner you not only handle or at a minimum oversee everything going on in your business you also have a personal life. And this time of year is extra crazy both personally and professionally. You’ve started to panic because you have yet to think about gifts for employees or send out gifts to clients or to referral sources.

Step One, Stop Panicking

You don’t have to wait for the traditional holiday season to give gifts to associates and clients. In fact there’s an argument to be made for choosing an alternate time of the year. Chances are your gift is one of many they’ll be receiving during this time of the year. A thank you that appears in the middle of February all by itself is much more likely to be remembered. Or send a birthday gift instead of a traditional thank you. It’s bound to impress, since it show’s that you’ve bothered to learn a thing or two about the recipient.

Still Want to Send Something in Time For the Holidays?

Opt for food.  It’s easy to give and it’s easy to receive.  If it’s an assortment of food the recipient is bound to like something in the basket.  Take into consideration any dietary and/or religious restrictions (i.e. a kosher office).  Harry and David’s offers kosher baskets.  And cut yourself some slack.  A creative gift while great in theory, unless you know the recipient extremely well will often miss the mark.  Leaving the recipient with really no gift at all.

Remember, Gift Giving is Marketing

Any interaction with a client or referral source should be considered marketing and this should mostly definitely extend to gift giving.

From R. McKenna, Harvard Business Review

There is a paradigm for marketing, a model that depends on the marketer’s knowledge, experience, and ability to integrate the customer and the company. Six principles are at the heart of the new marketing. The first, “Marketing is everything and everything is marketing,” suggests that marketing is like quality. It is not a function but an all-pervasive way of doing business.
Thinking carefully about a gift for your client or referral has the potential to strengthen the relationship you already have so choose wisely.