As the holiday season approaches one might ponder, should I send a gift to my customers and prospects or shouldn't I? The economy is bad, is it good to show a little extravagance to get my name ahead of someone else's or should I send something a bit more modest? Maybe just a card? Maybe a charitable donation?
Some time ago I sent flowers to someone who I hadn't spoken to in a while for the holidays. I had hoped it would provide a renewed connection and the person would think of me in a brighter light. I have to say, it backfired. The person was nice enough about it, but the lack of contact had sunk in and the flowers did not have the desired effect.
So my advice, send something to people who you have contact regularly. Send something that is appropriate for your relationship - food, plants or flowers are always good choices. They can be shared by the entire office and your goodwill is multiplied by all the people munching on the goodies you sent or admiring the flowers or plant that has arrived. Please don't forget that many customers cannot accept gifts, a donation to a favorite charity might be seen as a kind and thoughtful way to share the holiday cheer.
Your gift is as much a marketing device as the pens you personalize, the stationary you use or any other property that calls out your name. Make sure the gift reflects your business in a great light, that it is a little unique and that people will genuinely enjoy. In this economy modesty is probably the best guide for holiday gift giving.
Using a holiday gift as a way of getting attention from a diminished contact may have the exact results from my past experience - 'thanks, but I am doing business with someone else.' I think for those who throughout the year you have little contact, send a card. Acknowledge you have been out of touch and explain that you will be reaching out after the first of the year. This way, you have put your name in front of the contact and they know you will be in touch. Then follow through with your intentions. Sending the card without action will not bring the desired results.
Remember, there is never a bad time to thank you customers for their business. Thanking your customers and reminding them that they are part of your success cannot be over stated. So with that being said, thank you from all of us at Staffing Industry Analysts. We appreciate your loyalty, your feedback and the usage of our services. Without your business, we would not be successful. We wish you the very best for the New Year and hope in 2009 we will very much be a part of your success!
Let us know about your holiday gifts. Let us know what has worked for you and what hasn't. As always we welcome your thoughts and comments.