7 Guidelines for Giving Gifts to Clients at Christmas

giftsIt’s the most wonderful time of the year… and if you’ve been lucky enough to work with great clients this year, you likely want to say thank you with a holiday gift.

Leveraging the holidays to say thank you is great for several reasons. First, it allows you to show them your appreciation for being a service provider for them. I’m not sure about you, but I am vested in my clients’ success. In a lot of ways, I am a good friend and a trusted advisor at the same time and that means a lot to me. As a result, I carefully choose what I will give them to express my gratitude for the opportunity to work with them. Second, giving your clients a gift at Christmas keeps you top of mind. While I don’t recommend that sending the gift be about staying top of mind, it is a nice byproduct of recognizing how much you appreciate working with them. Third, sending a holiday gift offers a great reason to check in on a client to see how you can continue to serve them.

Check out this episode of Incredible Factor TV for some quick tips on gifting clients this season:

Even if you’re just sending a holiday card, take the time to reach out to your clients and share the season of giving with them. As you do, here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

1. Determining how much to spend should be less about the amount and more about the sentiment. Don’t feel compelled to show how much you appreciate them monetarily. Most people subscribe to the doctrine that it’s the little things that add up to the unassailable difference. Think small, but thoughtful. What can they use to continue to solve their problem? How can you help them to become the best version of themselves? Based on these answers, choose your gift.

2. Be personal but remember that your relationship is professional. Whatever you do, don’t give a gift that is too personal in nature. Avoid perfume, jewelry and other items that could be easily misconstrued. And remember to write a personal note with your gift. That can make all the difference.

3. Don’t give them branded merchandise as a gift. If it’s got your logo on it, it’s really not a gift, it’s a promotional item. And promotional items just don’t say “I appreciate you.” My recommendation is that you avoid sending them and instead focus on adding value to the lives of your clients by giving them gifts that say exactly what you want to convey.

4. Avoid sending food or alcohol. This may go without saying but it is seldom a good idea to give a client food or alcohol as a gift, unless they’ve told you that is what they want.

5. Quality is important. If you’re going to give a gift, make sure that you are reminded of your brand and the value of the client. Be sure that no matter what, what you give is a quality representation of you, your client, and your brand.

6. Determine if the client’s company has a threshold for the value of the gift. As a rule of thumb, spending less than $25 per gift is best as some companies state that any gift about $25 must be disclosed to management. Additionally, many companies forbid gift giving or only allow employees to accept gifts valued at less than $25.

7. Check the IRS regulations on gift giving. This sounds like a bah humbug type of thing at the holiday season, but to keep yourself out of hot water with the IRS, check their gift regulations before you decide on holiday gifts for your customers. IRS Publication 463 addresses business gifts. They are usually limited to $25, but read this publication for all the details.

So, now I want to hear from you. What’s your two cents? What guidelines do you adhere to when giving gifts to your clients at this time of year?

©2015 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, The Incredible Factor Business Optimization Coach and Mentor, is the founder of Incredible One Enterprises®, Incredible Factor University® and the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System®, a proven step-by-step program so you experience financial and spiritual abundance in your life because of your business. For more information and a FREE audio CD “7 Critical Mistakes Even Smart Entrepreneurs Must Avoid for Clients, Connection and Cash Flow!” just fill out the form below.

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