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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 July 22, 2019

10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

A cover letter is an introduction to what will be found in the resume. In a cover letter, the applicant is able to use a conversational tone, to explain why the attached resume is worth reviewing, why the applicant is qualified, and to express that it’s the best application the reader will see for the open position.

Employers do read your cover letter, so consider the cover letter an elevator pitch. The cover letter is the overview of your professional experience. The information in the body presents the key qualifications, the things that matter. The cover letter is the “here is what will be found in my presentation”, which is the resume in this case.

Something really important to point out- a cover letter should be written from scratch each time. Great cover letters are the ones that express why the applicant is the best for the specific job being applied to. Using a general cover letter will not lead to great results.

This doesn’t mean that your cover letter should repeat your most valuable qualifications, it just means that you don’t want to recycle a templated, general letter, not specific to the position being applied to.

Here’re 10 cover letter tips to nail every interview.

1. Take a few minutes to learn about the company so that you use an appropriate tone

Like people, every company has its own culture and tone. Doing a bit of research to learn what that is will be extremely beneficial. For instance, a technology start-up has a different culture and tone than a law firm. Using the same tone for both would be a mistake.

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2. Don’t use generic cover letter terms — be specific to each company and position

Hiring managers and recruiters can easily identify generic cover letters. They read cover letters and resumes almost every day. Using words and terms like: “your company” instead of naming the actual company, and “your website” instead of “in your about us section on www.abc123.com”, are mistakes. Be as specific as possible, it’s worth the additional few minutes.

3. Address the reader directly if you can

It is an outdated practice to use “To Whom it May Concern” if you know the person that will be reviewing your documents. You may wonder how you’ll know this information; this is where attention to detail and/or a bit of research comes into play.

For example, if you are applying for a job using LinkedIn, many times, the job poster is listed within the job post. This is the person reading your documents when you “apply now”. Addressing that person directly will be much more effective than using a generic term.

4. Don’t repeat the information found in the resume

A resume is an action-based document. When presenting information in a resume, the tone isn’t conversational but leading with action instead, for example: “Analyze sales levels and trends, and initiate action as necessary to ensure attainment of sales objectives”.

In a cover letter, you have the opportunity to deliver your elevator pitch: “I have positively impacted business development and growth initiatives, having combined two regions into one and achieving 17% in compound growth over the following three-year period”.

Never use your resume qualifications summary as a paragraph in your resume. This would be repeating information. Keep in mind that your cover letter is the introduction to your resume- the elevator pitch- this is your opportunity to show more personality.

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5. Tell the company what you can do for them

As mentioned above, this is your chance to explain to the company why you are the best person for the open position. This is where you tell the company what you can do for them: “If hired as the next (job title) with (company name), I will cultivate important partnerships that will enhance operations while boosting revenue.”

Many times, we want to take the reader through the journey of our life. It is important to remember that the reader needs to know why you are the best person for the job. Lead with that.

6. Showcase the skills and qualifications specific to the position

A lot of people are Jack’s and Jill’s of all trades. This can be a great big picture, but not great to showcase in a cover letter or resume.

Going back to what was mentioned before, cover letters and resumes are scanned through ATS. Being as specific as possible to the position being applied to is important.

If you are applying for a coding position, it may not be important to mention your job in high school as a dog walker. Sticking to the exact job being applied to is the most effective way to write your cover letter.

7. Numbers are important — show proof

It always helps to show proof when stating facts: “I have a reputation for delivering top-level performance and supporting growth so that businesses can thrive; established industry relationships that generated double digit increase in branch revenues”.

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8. Use testimonials and letters of recommendations

A cover letter is a great place to add testimonials and information from your letter of recommendations. Mirroring the example above, here is a good way to use that information:

I have a history of consistently meeting and exceeding metrics: “(Name) rose through the company and became a Subject Matter Expert, steadily providing exceptional quality of work.”- Team Manager.

9. Find the balance between highlighting your achievements and bragging

There is fine line between telling someone about your achievements and bragging. My advice is to always use facts first, and support that with an achievement related to the fact, as shown in the examples above.

You don’t want to have a cover letter with nothing but bullet points of what you have achieved. I can’t stress this enough — cover letters are your elevator pitch, the introduction to your resume.

10. Check your length — you want to provide no more than an introduction

The general rule for most positions is one page in length. Positions such as professors and doctors will require more in length (and they actually use CV’s); however, for most positions, one page is sufficient. Remember, the cover letter is an introduction and elevator pitch. Follow the logic below to get you started:

Start with: “I am ready to deliver impeccable results as (name of company) next (Position Title).

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What you know and like about the company, what initiatives, missions, goals resonate with you: “I read/listened to an interview that your Chief of Staff did on www.abc123.com. His/her statement regarding important up and coming employee engagement initiatives really resonated with me”.

Overview of your qualifications and experience: “I have a strong background in developing, monitoring, and controlling annual processes and operational plans related to community relations and social initiatives”.

Highlight/ Back up your facts with achievements: “I’m a vision-driven leader, with a proven history of innovation and mentorship; I led an initiative that reduced homelessness in four counties and received recognition from the local Homeless Network and the County Commissioner”.

Close with what will you do for the company: “As your next (job title), I am focused on hitting the ground running as a transformational leader who is driven by challenge, undeterred by obstacles, and committed to the growth of (name of company).

Bonus Advice

When applying for a job online or in person, a resume and a cover letter are standard submissions. At least 98% of the time, both your resume and cover letter and scanned via ATS (applicant tracking systems). You can learn more about that process here.

The information provided in a cover letter should be written and organized to be compatible with these scans, so that it can make to a human; from there, you want to make sure that you capture the recruiter and/or hiring managers attention.

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Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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