To gift or not to gift that is the question. My opinion is that when it comes to giving gifts in a business environment it is the thought that counts more than the gift. Why? Unlike giving gifts to family to celebrate an event, a gift can be misconstrued by the recipient and there always seems to be strings attached.
Geoffrey James, an accomplished business writer and author of “The Tao of Programming” interviewed Jerry Acuff author of “The Relationship Edge in Business” about gift giving and here are their thoughts:
Gifts are for friends not contacts
You use a gift to deepen a relationship not to develop one. Giving a gift too early in a relationship seems phony and desperate.
Gifts are for customers not prospects
In most cases, you won’t have enough of a relationship with a prospect to justify the giving of a gift. So don’t even think about gifting until you’ve got an ongoing business relationship.
Gifts must be inexpensive or free
If a gift is too big, it’s going to be perceived as a bribe. You want to show that you care, not make the customer feel obligated to buy.
Gifts should be highly personalized
Think about their interests and try to find something that shows you know them and that you have a sincere connection.
Promotional items are not gifts
If a “gift” has your logo on it, you are asking the recipient to provide you with free advertising, so it is not really a gift.
Some of the best ways to show your appreciation is a simple thank card, a lunch, a round of golf, taking your client to an event or dropping off lunch for the office.
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