The best gifts are often the gifts that come unexpected. And what’s even better is the gift we receive that says I thought of you, I pay attention to your wants, You are valued. As business owners, when our current clients send referrals our way, we often like to think of ways to express our gratitude and that gratitude is often expressed in small gift cards to Starbucks or Target or very general places that most people shop or purchase from. Yet, the question still exists, how do you say “thank you” to a client and let them know You are Valued with a gift that goes above and beyond the norm? I was at an event last week and I was asked this same question by a business owner who wants to show his clients that their business (and the business they refer) means a lot to him.
The best way you can show a client you care is to pay attention. Yes, this is Sales 101 to most people, but actually doing this consistently as a small business owner can be a challenge when you’re already wearing so many other hats. First, make sure you keep some form of a contact sheet on all of your clients. Whether it’s a notebook or an electronic database, anytime you pick up useful information about a client it’s helpful to keep it in that database. Birthdays, their kids birthdays, anniversaries, hobbies, spouse’s hobbies, club memberships, are just a few examples of the kind of information you want to keep track of. When I was in sales for another company and I wanted to bond with my boss, I would always ask him how his kids were doing in each of their respective sports (soccer, volleyball, lacrosse). It never ceased to amaze me how he’d light up inside and begin to share how his son was touring across the Southeast in indoor soccer tournaments or how his daughter survived her first year of JV volleyball. I could tell that he appreciated that I remembered and cared. No, he wasn’t a client of mine, but that same skill that many of us do so naturally can be transferred to a database for our clients. Second, after the client has referred a new customer to you, make sure you send a handwritten thank you not along with the gift. Sending an email to acknowledge that you met with the new customer is okay, but you definitely want to follow up with a handwritten note.
I decided to come up with a list of little knick knacks that customer may value over the traditional gift card idea, although I am still a fan of gift cards to the appropriate places. Here we go:
Wine of the Month Club (available in 3, 6, 12 month increments)
Wine Tasting tickets
The Kindle (or an electronic book for a client’s kindle)
Personal Journal (the fancy, expensive kind)
Order a fresh baked cheesecake (or other tasty dessert) and have it delivered
Cooking class (often offered at local universities through the Continuing Ed department)
Personalized Mouse Pads (or other personalized desk accessories)
Pet Collar (personalized)
Family Memo Cards and Notepads, Calendars
Themed cuff links (golf themed, animal themed)
Dual zoned watch (for jet setters)
Yoga or Pilates Class (free session)
Personal Concierge for a day
Bike Rental gift certificate
Bottle of top shelf liquor (or alcohol of their choice)
And there’s so much more, but this is a great start!
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