Giving great business gifts.

Gifts are a wonderful way to show you care. That’s why we give them on birthdays, holidays and to mark special events like graduations or weddings. And they can be a valuable part of business too. As part of a well-considered program, business gifts help build or reinforce relationships, recognize important associates and generate goodwill.

If your organization doesn’t currently have a business gift program, you should start one immediately. But don’t just head out to your local department store and start buying things willy-nilly. There’s an etiquette to professional gifts.

Here’s what you need to know to make sure your business gifts are a hit:

Make them personal – A gift speaking to each recipient’s interests or needs is much more impactful than a mass gift. Your clients and colleagues will feel extra appreciated with items that was selected with just them in mind.

Don’t go overboard – Gifts are supposed to show gratitude, not show off how successful you are. Lavish gifts can send the wrong message, and even imply that you’re trying to buy business or loyalty.  You can give elegant and luxurious gifts without breaking the bank. When in doubt, err on the side of modesty.

Don’t forget the packaging – One of the best parts of receiving a gift is opening it. This is doubly true when it’s elegantly packaged. Consider the overall impact of your gift and how it’s presented to make it a sure hit.

Consider the recipient – Do you plan of giving gifts to your clients? Associates? Business Partners? All of the above? Different recipients require different approaches to gifts.

  • Clients should receive something relatively small at least once a year. It’s a great way to touch base and stay at the front of mind. Many companies choose to deliver presents around the holidays, but it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle then. A mid-year gift is a delightful surprise that won’t be easily forgotten. One caveat – many organizations have strict rules regarding gifts their employees can receive. Find out what it is before you send something they’ll reluctantly have to return.
  • Employees have, in many cases, come to expect a small token of appreciation from their employers. A cash bonus is always appreciated, but a useful or trendy item branded with your company’s logo can resonate as well. The most important thing to remember about employee gifts is not to overlook anyone.
  • Giving gifts to Business Partners is a great way to reinforce your relationship, remind them that they’re important to you, and encourage your continued mutually beneficial relationship. What you give them is completely up to you, though they’ll appreciate thoughtful gestures and personalization.

Giving business gifts can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be wrought with pitfalls. Take your time and put some thought into it, and you can be sure you’ll always be a hit.

For even more ideas and inspiration on business gifts, check out the 2016 Executive Experience guide.