It is a popular business practice to give gifts to customers. Its effectiveness depends on how you manage to pull it off. Sometimes a gift can seem like a generous and thoughtful thing to give a customer. Sometimes it will just come off as a desperate plea for business. You want to achieve the former, and not the latter – therefore, you should follow certain guidelines when giving gifts to customers. Choosing the gift will also require some thought, and you will most likely never buy the same gift for any two customers.
First, you should decide whether or not the customer really deserves the gift. Be honest with yourself. Have you earned a significant amount of money because of them? Have they advanced your career remarkably? Both of these are good reasons to give a gift to a customer. There are few other reasons. You might be in the middle of a career-making deal negotiation, and it all hinges on getting your customer to agree. Resist your urge to buy them something nice – it will not alter your chance at a successful deal. Instead, you’ll just seem like you’re trying to be manipulative, instead of being truly sincere.
Next you’ll have the choice of what you will give your customer. The most obvious option is a nice glass of wine or champagne to celebrate a smooth deal. You can hardly go wrong with this gift, unless your customer is a recovering alcoholic. Determine if wine would be an appropriate gift (it might even be a good idea to ask outright). If not, there are still many other gifts that you could give. You can take both of your families out for dinner, or give a gift certificate if you don’t have the time to go yourself. If your deal with the customer isn’t very big, and you think that wine or dinner would be going overboard, then you can consider other options. Maybe a small gift basket, a box of gourmet chocolates, or a gift certificate for an ice cream parlor.
Gifts are a great way of showing your good will in a business scenario. As long as you handle them with proper etiquette to avoid giving off a strange vibe, you should have a successful experience. Just remember: Only give the customer a gift when they’ve done something to deserve it, and make sure to keep your gift appropriate for the occasion.
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