When it comes to building business relationships, one of the most effective ways to do so is through a strategic gifting strategy.
In our experience, a gifting strategy can do three things for your business relationships.
First, it can help you cut through the noise and grab the attention of a potential client or employee who can move the needle for you.
Second, it can be an effective sales tool to help you win over a client.
And third, it can help you increase the lifetime value of a potential client.
But first, we have to go over the key ingredients of a successful gifting program.
7 Key Ingredients to a Gifting Strategy to Building Business Relationships
Over the years of running gifting campiagns, we’ve compiled a list of what we think are the key ingredients to a successful campaign. We’ve written a comprehensive article on it here.
Best-in-class: the highest quality money can buy. It must last forever. Our rule of thumb is this: can you see your VIP’s grandkids using the gift?
Practical: ideally used 3-5x per week in the home. The more they use the gift, the more they’ll think of you.
Luxury: something your recipient would love, but might not buy for themselves.
Personalized: Engraved, monogrammed, handcrafted, or an origin story. A gift card doesn’t count as a thoughtful gift.
Include inner circle: must enhance the lives of the spouse, kids, or assistants. This is where your gift can be an incredible sales tool. Imagine your VIP’s significant other loving your gift and asking when they’re going to start working with you.
Continuity theme: Has the ability to be part of a sequence. This will give you an excuse to give them a gift over and over again.
Handwritten note: The gift must include this essential, final, meaningful touch.
With that, let’s talk about some ways you can use gifting to build business relationships.
Get Your Client’s Attention
The first step to building a relationship with a new client is actually getting their attention. Let’s face it, the folks who can move the needle for your business are absolutely inundated with emails, and marketing campaigns all day long.
And chances are, they have a secretary or assistant whose job it is to make sure they don’t see your email.
This is where the start of a gifting campaign can help.
Instead of sending an email or some kind of telegram or even swag, why not send them a little gift that they will absolutely love?
One of our favorite gifts to send to someone you’re trying to win the attention of is a customized Refresh Glass Set. (Each piece of glass is custom made from a recycled wine bottle.)
Most people who send gifts are going to send some sort of swag that is going to be collecting dust in the bottom of some drawer at best or most likely thrown away.
But your Refresh Glass set is going to have your VIP’s logo on it and it’s going to come with a handwritten note telling them the story of the glass set is saving the environment… and how your product or service can grow their business.
The best part of the Refresh Glass is that you’re prospect and family will be able to use it every single day.
What to Send after First Meeting
Now that you’ve had your first meeting with them, it’s time to nudge them closer to a deal. In order to do this, we’d like to keep a kitchen theme going.
So, we’ll probably send a nice cutlery set to our prospect.
Why keep the kitchen theme? Because we want every member of the family to use the gifts.
I can’t tell you how many times someone has come to us and said:
“My wife is your biggest sales advocate. Every time they use the cutlery set, they ask if we’re working with you yet.”
You don’t even have to sell anymore. Your gift and their spouse will do the selling for you.
The best part about the cutlery set is that you can engage each piece with a little note telling them how much you appreciated your meeting.
How to Nudge a Follow Up
If you’ve had your meeting and sent your post-meeting gift, and the prospect hasn’t returned your call, then it’s time to follow up.
They say it takes seven touchpoints for a prospect to become a client.
And like we’ve said before, your prospect is probably extremely busy. We just need to remind them that you’re still interested in working with them.
So we suggest a little nudge. Again, this is going to be a kitchen-themed gift in the form of a carafe and glass set from Refresh.
They will be getting a beautiful carafe to complete their set that you started when you first got in touch with them and they know that there is a cool story behind it.
So by the time you’re ready to sign the prospect on as a client, you’ve basically given them a new kitchen set that they can use every single time they sit down to eat.
Officially a Client
Once they are officially a client, you can start to step up your gifting program. Most gift campaigns stop once the prospect becomes a client. But we believe that a gift is something you give without the expectation of receiving anything in return.
This is going to be fundamental in keeping your relationship strong and having a client for life (assuming you do good work.)
We typically like to start what we like to call a “luggage” campaign. Once they become a client, we send over a nice piece of luggage just to say thank you. This is usually a carry-on or personal type bag.
A nice luggage set is one of those gifts that is going to be an heirloom that your client’s grandkids are going to fight over in 30 years.
One year into the relationship is the perfect opportunity to send that second piece of luggage in the set.
This is going to be the under the seat bag.
Again, the purpose of this gift isn’t to get anything in return. It’s to continue to strengthen the relationship and constantly remain in the hearts and minds of your client and their family.
Always be thinking of the family. If the wife and kids love you, the client will love you.
The thought here is this. You’re going to spend a few hundred, maybe even a thousand, on a client who’s worth high 6 figures or more per year.
You want to make sure they stay a client forever. OK, that might be impossible, but you want to keep them as a client as long as possible.
The ROI of sending a nice piece of luggage on the anniversary of you working together without asking for anything directly in return is sky-high.
Last but not least, if you want to increase the lifetime value of the client, you are going to want to have some sort of upsell or cross-sell program.
What better way to introduce an upsell opportunity than by completing the luggage set?
You can gift your client the third piece of the luggage set – the piece that gets checked in when they travel.
Gifting is a powerful way to manage business relationships, especially if you follow the 7 key ingredients outlined in this article.