When it comes to managing business relationships, we’ve seen nothing work better than gifting. That’s why we’ve built an entire agency and community around it.
We’ve even written the book on gifting as a way to manage relationships.
The thing that most people get wrong in managing business relationships is the “relationship” part.
Relationships take time and effort to build and maintain.
They take thought and care without the expectation of getting something in return.
But in the end, you will wind up getting EVERYTHING in return – with the right strategy.
What is Gifting
Gifting is a way to build, manage, maintain, and grow relationships throughout your business life.
It’s a way to win over the hearts and minds of the key players who will move your business forward – whether they be star employees, key clients, are sought-after prospects.
Here’s a scenario that clients bring to us all of the time.
There is a key prospect that the client really wants to work with. Winning the account will probably net them a high six figure or even a million dollar yearly contract.
But our client is struggling to get in touch with them.
They can’t seem to connect at trade shows or events. The secretary is making sure our emails and direct mailers aren’t making it to his desk.
But they desperately need to get in front of this client.
We set about putting together a gifting strategy for the client so they can get the attention of their prospect, build a relationship with them.
Then, once the groundwork has been laid, the relationship is strong, our client can “easily” close that million dollar deal with the prospect.
The 7 Keys to Managing Business Relationships with Gifting
When it comes to a successful gifting strategy, we’ve developed 7 key ingredients that will make sure to have the highest possible impact.
The first quality that we’ve found is that the gift has to be the highest quality that money can buy. The gift must last forever.
One question that you might want to ask yourself: Will the recipient’s grandchildren be able to use your gift?
One of our favorite types of gifts to give is a beautifully designed Cutco set. And while there are a number of reasons why this is (we’ll get to that more in a bit), one of our favorite reasons is because Cutco cutlery will last forever.
These cutlery sets are the types of sets that the recipient’s kids and grandkids will use – an heirloom so to speak.
A gift that breaks isn’t going to leave the positive impression in your recipient’s mind that you want it to, and tarnish the relationship that you’ve worked so hard to build.
If a gift is never used, then the recipient is going to forget about you.
So many gifts will be “novelty” gift items like a piece of china for the china cabinet. Unfortunately, this is such a bad way to leverage gifting as a way to manage a business relationship.
Gifting becomes a powerful relationship-building tool when the recipient is using the gift at least 3-5 times per week.
Again, it’s one of the reasons we love Cutco cutlery. Every time your recipient prepares a meal, which is 3-5 times per day, the recipient is going to think of you. You’re going to become entrenched in their mind as someone who cares about them.
Here’s another example:
We have a client who bought their star employee a Bowflex workout system. The employee works out 5 days a week. So every time the employee works out, they will have our client in their mind – reinforcing the relationship and building loyalty.
A luxury gift is one that your VIP will absolutely love but probably won’t buy for themselves.
For instance, a gift that I recently received is a Lego set of the Shuttle Discovery. (We don’t have to debate the merits of a grown man playing with Legos. Just bear with me for a second.)
This is a Lego set that costs $200. There’s no way I would ever spend $200 for a “kid’s” toy.
But I absolutely loved it.
As I was spending the week putting all 2024 pieces of the shuttle together, I couldn’t help but think fondly of the person who gave it to me. It was pure joy.
To this day, even when I look at the completed project, I still think with joy about that person.
They have a friend, and business partner, for life.
When most people think of “luxury”, they think expensive. And while $200 might be expensive for some Legos, it’s not that expensive in the grand scheme of things – especially when you consider the amount of business that we have done together.
Personalizing your gift will take the gift, and your relationship, to the next level. It shows an extra level of care.
It says to your recipient “hey, I’ve really been thinking about you.”
Include inner circle
“My wife is your biggest salesperson.”
That’s a message one of our clients received from a prospect he was trying to win over.
Here’s the story.
One of our client’s was trying to win the business a key prospect. They’d spent months trying to close the deal.
So we started a comprehensive gifting program in order to help “move” the sales process along and started with a beautifully designed and personalized cutlery set.
It turns out, the prospect’s wife ABSOLUTELY loves the new set. And every time she uses the set to prepare the family meals, she asks her husband (the prospect we’re trying to win over) if they’ve started working with our client yet.
Imagine building relationships so powerful that your prospect’s family is becoming your biggest advocate.
The inner circle includes the people who have the most influence over your VIP. They’re the people who can help make or break your relationship with them. By winning them over, you’ll always have an advocate on your side.
These are people like assistants/secretaries, significant others, children, parents, etc.
When it comes to gifting as a way to manage business relationships, 1+1 = 4.
In other words, the more you gift someone, the stronger the imprint you leave them, the stronger your relationship will become.
By providing high-end luggage to professionals who frequently travel for business trips and conferences, you can become an integral part of their travel experience.
You can start with a carry-on bag, then move into a small piece to stow away, and complete the set with the large bag that gets checked.
And each time you send them a gift, you’ll endear yourself to them.
If you really want to show your VIP that you truly care and manage your relationships through gifting, then go the extra effort and write a handwritten note.
It’s more personal and shows that you’ve taken the time out of your day to get a pen and paper, and took the time to write your thoughts down.
Most of us don’t get handwritten notes anymore. Christmas cards and thank you cards are usually just sent en masse.
But a handwritten note shows that extra care went into your gift.
Gifting is a powerful way to manage business relationships, especially if you follow the 7 key ingredients outlined in this article.