Gifts should be delightful surprises! They should be things people may not even know they want, probably wouldn't buy for themselves, but enjoy it once it's in their hands. They should be fun, delicious, and amusing!
Atlanta Wine School asks: What is a good estimate of client appreciation spending? Is there a good rule of thumb? For example, if we have a client that has an historical spending of $100,000 with us, is providing a wine country travel experience at $2000 fair to both of us? Are we spending too much--too little?
What first grabbed me upon reading this was the word "fair"—gifting shouldn't be about fairness... or a percentage of a client's spend exclusively. Sure, those can come into play, but that shouldn't be the first thing to come to mind.
A few things to keep in mind:
1. First things first, get to know who you're gifting—what do they like beyond work? How do they express their personality outside their job duties? Knowing what they dislike could sometimes be even more important (i.e. you wouldn't want to give someone who doesn't drink a bottle of wine).
2. A gift shouldn't be about how much you spend, but about how thankful you are. If you think your gift could make the recipient feel uncomfortable or obligated to reciprocate, then consider a more modest gift. There isn't such a thing as a gift that is too small if it genuinely expresses your gratitude. There also isn't a strict percentage to tell you what to do—you have to get to know your client and reflect on what you think is appropriate.
3. Gifts should be unexpected! There's something fun about the element of surprise—nothing kills a gift more than expecting the usual fruit basket at the same time of year with the same note. Why wait for the holidays?
4. Make it a thank you for the past—not a calculated investment in the future.
5. It should be distinctly YOU! Will they think of you and your company when they see it? And not just because you put your logo on it... get creative!