So, you’ve been tasked with client gift ideas for the holidays.
You know your clients loved last year’s gift, as they still rave about them to your sales team.
You’ve been googling, scrolling through Instagram, and saving perfect gift ideas to Pinterest.
But then you feel a tug of self-doubt.
What if you can’t top last year’s gift? What if your gift ideas suck and your sales team is embarrassed?
Coming up with unique client gift ideas every year can paralyze even the most seasoned gift giver.
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You’ve Got This
As professional gift givers, you and I know that finding unique gifts is only half the battle.
We need to stand out from the sea of holiday gift baskets. We need to evoke the brand personality. We need to surprise and delight clients and stakeholders, all while sticking to the budget.
Sometimes, it feels like it can’t be done. How can we put together a gift so memorable it leaves a lasting impression?
Well, here’s some good news.
In the past several years, I’ve curated thousands of gifts for clients, big and small. And I’ve found a three-step formula to help you wow your clients without breaking the bank.
Plus, we’ll look at 5 client gift ideas you can steal to inspire and dazzle your clients.
Step 1: Know Your Customer
Whether you have 10 clients or hundreds of clients, thinking about what to gift all of them can be intimidating.
So, forget about all of your clients. Instead, focus on your top client.
She treats you like a partner. He values your expertise. They’re a true brand advocate.
Instead of looking for a gift that appeals to everyone, think about one person. You talk to her regularly. You share inside jokes. And you wish you had several more clients just like her.
When you curate for one person, your gift can’t help but feel more impressive and personal.
Your top client can be an individual or a persona of various clients. But think beyond job titles. Get to know her hopes and dreams and even what keeps her up at night.
That’s how you’ll WOW her.
Free download (no email required)Client Persona Template
Step 2: Don’t Be The Hero In This Story
Your client gifts might help you meet your objectives—raise visibility, increase customer lifetime value, or get more referrals.
But do you know what’s in it for your top client? Why would she want your gift?
She isn’t interested in your company year-end letter, a holiday discount on your services, or even your branded merchandise.
She simply wants something to help her achieve her goals. How can you help her get what she wants? How will your gift bring more joy or success to her life?
For instance, try this quick brainstorm. Write 5-10 versions of this sentence:
My client uses my gift because I help her [fill in the blank]
- A venture capitalist wants to reach more female founders, so you give goods that support women-owned companies.
- A traveling salesperson keeps losing phone juice midway through calls, so you give a pocket-sized portable charger.
- A manufacturing manager wants to stop drinking cold coffee because of frequent interruptions on the production floor, so you give a temperature-controlled smart mug.
By defining your gift’s purpose, it’s much easier to come up with ideas that are unique, useful, and long-lasting.
In other words, that’s how you make your client the hero and keep your brand memorable.
Step 3: Build Anticipation Before Your Gift Is Opened
Whew. You’ve finished brainstorming ways to help your clients.
You’ve narrowed it down to the most unique gifts. Your team is excited at how clients will respond. These might be your best client gift ideas ever. Yaaasss!
But you can’t call it a wrap yet—you still need to pin down the delivery.
You don’t want your gift to fall flat with shabby packaging. A lackluster unboxing could undermine the whole gesture.
You might think it’s only what’s inside that counts. But that’s a myth.
You can’t just put the gift in a brown shipping box with bubble wrap and expect your clients to feel appreciated. Unforgettable gifts are well-thought-out experiences.
That means spending hours on the packaging, instead of 10 minutes.
That means including a personal card, instead of a pre-written Hallmark.
That means figuring out how to arrange the items, in what order to reveal them, and being intentional about whether to include your logo (or not).
You have to realize that your client gift is more than just stuff in a box. It represents a desire to deepen your relationship. Therefore, the biggest mistake you can make is leaving packaging as an afterthought.
See related:Little Guide to Corporate Gifting
Steal These 5 Client Gift Ideas
To nurture relationships, you have to show people you’re sincere.
Don’t put the emphasis on your company. Don’t give over the top gifts that make everyone feel uncomfortable. And don’t forget that behind every great client there’s usually a team supporting him.
Here are five client gift ideas to show you genuinely care.
- Think quality over quantity. Gifts are a reflection of your company. So, it’s better to pick one high-quality item, like a high-speed portable charger, versus lots of cheap trinkets that leave a bad impression of your brand.
- Make it useful. Items that are frequently used, like an artfully crafted water bottle, are more likely to be kept within arm’s reach—keeping you top of mind.
- Give something to share. Add 1-2 small items to your client gift so she can share the holiday spirit with the rest of the team. Gourmet coffee, small-batch cookies, and slow-cooked caramels are perfect fillers.
- Be sensitive. Your recipient list may include people from different cultures, different genders, and different religious traditions. Therefore, the safest route is a gender-neutral gift, like a sleek wood-coated canteen, that doesn’t reference a specific holiday.
- Keep it Personal. It is often easier and more cost-effective to give everyone the same gift. So, select a high-quality card stock and allow time to handwrite a personal message. If your list is simply too large, at the very least, schedule time to hand-sign each card.
See related3 Steps To Unisex Gifts Everyone Will Love
Keep It Real
You’ve carefully curated your client gifts. You’re within budget. Your holiday message is personalized and signed by a real person.
Here’s the truth:
No set of rules or best practices will show you how to be genuine. No template exists to make your client feel valued.
But you can prevent common gifting mistakes. Avoid faux pas. And not be boring.
Above all, show your clients you care about them. Invest the time and energy into meaningful gifts and you’ll create an emotional connection to your brand.
You know your clients better than anyone. So, trust your gut. You’ve got this!
Last updated: November 11, 20201