Well, it's already October, and you know what that means. The holidays are right around the corner, and like many other business owners, you're starting to think about what types of gifts to give your clients. Getting a gift for a family member is difficult enough, but choosing the right thing for a client (let alone numerous clients) can be even harder. Below are some tips to help you make better decisions.

1. Spend the right amount.

This is perhaps the hardest part of the whole business gift-giving process. There is no uniform "right amount" to spend on a client, and it's possible that you'll want to spend different amounts on clients based on how much impact they've had on your business. Ultimately, it's a good idea to set a budget for all client gifts and then look at how much each client has contributed, and distribute that budget accordingly. You can spend the same on everyone if you like, but if you really want to show your appreciation, spending more on those who have made you more money just makes sense. Just keep your budget within the realm of what you can afford. Don't forget to consider your employees as long as you're in the holiday spirit. Your workforce should factor into your gift budget.

2. Consider levels of giving.

As mentioned, you might determine that some clients are worth spending a little more on. Rather than simply figuring out some specific amount for every single client, it could prove beneficial to consider several levels of giving. For instance, you could have 3 levels: those who have generated the least amount of profit, those who have brought in a mid-range amount, and those who have contributed the most. Maybe you just go with two levels: important clients and ordinary customers. Either way, you can choose a standard gift for each level, and buy enough of each item to cover everyone. You may able to get a price break from the supplier if you buy in bulk.

3. Remain professional.

Just make sure you keep things professional. The holidays are a time to show the more human side of your business for sure, and clients typically appreciate that. Still, there are lines that can be crossed. Your relationship is still one of business, so avoid getting too personal with your gifts. Certainly avoid anything racy that could cast you in an unprofessional light if not received as well as you may have intended.

4. Don't put your logo on it.

Whatever you buy your clients for the holidays, make sure it doesn't have your logo on it. Your business side may be tempted to stamp your brand on any client gifts, but in the end, it will simply be viewed as promotional, or worse yet, tacky.

5. Quality trumps quantity.

To some extent, the level of quality of your gifts will be based on your budget, of course. When faced with the choice between quality and quantity, however, it's always best to opt for quality. For example, if it's a choice between a small basket of gourmet foods and a large basket of grocery store products, it's wise to go with the former. For one, it shows class, and secondly, you're providing the client with something they likely don't get very often, and that's more memorable. It's also bound to be more greatly appreciated.

6. Keep clients' tastes in mind.

This can be tricky in some cases, depending on how well you know or don't know your client. If you can, however, try to keep their personal tastes in mind when picking out a gift. As you're going through your list of clients, stop and think about what you actually know about them personally, and consider that when making your purchase. If, for example, you know that the person doesn't drink, avoid giving them a bottle of wine, even if that's the standard gift you've chosen for a set of clients.

7. Be creative and stand out.

The holidays are all about the spirit of giving, but you're still a business, and it never hurts to look better than your competitors. One way to stand out is to be creative with your gifts, as well as with the packaging in which they come. Ultimately, it's unlikely that a client is going to choose who they do business with based on their holiday gift, but giving them something memorable can only help your image in their mind further down the road when they're comparing you with others.

8. Get them delivered at the right time.

The holiday season is generally considered to be from late November to early January, and you certainly don't want to be late with your gift. November could come off as a little too eager, but arranging to have gifts delivered during the first week of December is a pretty good time to shoot for. Once December arrives, pretty much everyone who celebrates is in holiday mode.

9. Get the presentation right.

Make sure the packaging is beautiful, and that people's names are spelled correctly. If you are concerned that you might be sending Christmas cards to people who don't celebrate Christmas,

It’s a good idea to write a generic Happy Holidays greeting on the card.  It’s better to do that than to exclude them from your holiday wishes. 

This may sound like an awful lot to worry about just to send some holiday gifts to your clients, but what you give and how you give it really can make a difference when it comes to your business image. Why not try to make a great impression?


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.