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Giving Gifts to Clients: How to Avoid a Generic Choice

Giving Gifts to Clients: How to Avoid a Generic Choice

The holidays may be over, but that doesn’t mean your days of gift giving have come to an end. In fact, a recent survey of major corporations showed that more than 70% of people prefer to get gifts for major milestones such as a work anniversary or a birthday rather than a Christmas present. Gift giving is difficult for a lot of people, and it can have a direct impact on your business. It requires major research, and if you have a bevy of clients, that can be tough. However, a well-timed gift can mean a lot to a client and can help keep a client relationship strong.

The perils of poor gifting

Think about how you feel when you get a gift that you know you’re never going to use.

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Maybe you get a fancy bottle of wine, but you gave up drinking a while ago. Maybe you get a batch of expensive brownies when you’re health conscious. Maybe you appreciate the fact that someone thought of you at all, but clients (for the most part) do not feel particularly excited when they receive a gift that clearly is not aligned with their interests. And, too often, this is what happens!

A poorly chosen gift can have the reverse effect from showing a client that you care; instead it sends the signal that they are not valuable enough to receive a gift that actually means anything to them. This happens with gift giving on a large scale as well as personalized gifts. Too often, at a conference or convention, the 500 branded stress balls you hand out are destined to be repurposed as pet chew toys.

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An opportunity to ‘wow’

With every gift given, you have to think carefully about the exact message you’re sending to the client. Perhaps your company has beautiful, expensive jackets made for specific clients in their size — with your company’s name plastered all over them. The underlying subtext here is that you want more business, and that you’d like the client to do the advertising for you.

Research from the 2016 Alyce Corporate Gifting Survey reveals that 90% of people simply aren’t interested in swag. Yet, a large portion of the $120 billion annually spent on corporate gifts still goes towards these unwelcome gifts. It’s a waste of time and money on a monumental scale.

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Instead, business owners, account managers, and sales reps should choose to give clients a personalized gift that tells them how much you value them as a person first and as a customer second.

How to deliver a gift at the right time

When you give a gift matters; examples of inopportune times include the day you announce a price increase or when you decide to reach out to a customer to pitch them a new product or service. Rather, you should be looking for reasons to give gifts several weeks before a major deal goes through or a new product launches.

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These gifts should come across as a gesture of goodwill rather than a bid for new business. It’s especially crucial that your top clients are treated with extra care when it comes the timing of your gift delivery. This can be done in a number of ways, such as celebrating unconventional dates like the one-year anniversary of your first contact with that customer. The key is knowing the client and what they’ll be most likely to respond to.

Curbing your costs

The best thing about thoughtful gift giving on this kind of scale (in addition to the development of stronger relationships with buyers) is that it can end up saving you money overall.

Regardless of whether you’re giving out hundreds of pens or one $300 bottle of champagne, you can find ways to cut your costs while maintaining a strong reputation. It could mean offering a client a $50 cooking lesson rather than spending $100 on a gift certificate to a fancy restaurant they have no interest in dining at.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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