Reaching out to your clients during the holidays is one of the best ways to reinforce your relationship with them. But some of your clients have really touched you in some way this year, whether because a crisis emerged that you were able to help them through or because they went above and beyond in helping bring you business. The best gifts are always those selected with a personal touch. Those are up to you. Here are some great thank-you and thinking-of-you gifts for your clients—as well as for your staff. You can use this list any time of year to help you find the perfect gift for any occasion.
- Unforgettable edibles: The way to a person’s heart is through the stomach, so they say—whoever “they” are. If you’re looking to thank a group of people, there are a host of bouquet options that don’t include flowers. For a sweet touch, check out Cookies By Design or Corso’s Cookies. Healthier arrangements with berries, melons and other fruits are available from Edible Arrangements. And for more sophisticated palates, check out the wine and cheese offerings from Wine Country Gift Baskets or the gourmet pasta-bilities at The Flying Noodle.
- Pragmatic gadgets: You send customized calendars to your clients hoping they’ll look at them every day, and you have your contact information emblazoned on pens and refrigerator magnets so that people won’t lose them. But imagine what those special clients will think when you hand them something they’ll use more often. For instance, stop by Branders.com, which offers more than the typical run of items you can customize with your logo: Christmas ornaments, lunch coolers, tote bags, Frisbees, personal organizers, umbrellas—you name it, they have it. In addition, many retail companies offer personalized corporate gift options. L.L. Bean, Land’s End and Brookstone are just a few that are out there.
- Books in bulk: If a book or audio title has caught your eye (or ear, as the case may be), consider buying several copies for your gift list. But head to the bookstore early, when it’s quiet, and get yourself a corporate account so you can get those titles at a discount. Borders, for instance, offers 20 percent off for store purchases, and 25 percent off if the purchase is more than $1,000. If you want more flexibility, Barnes and Noble has gift cards that you can cobrand with your logo, and offers volume discounts that vary with the title being purchased. Check with your local independent bookseller as well—they love working with local businesspeople.
- Unique boutiques: For the really one-of-a-kind treasures you want to give for important birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and other opportunities to reach out, check out these neat things to give your super-special clients. They’re a little pricey, but completely unique: MGC Puzzles can turn your favorite pictures into a wood-cut jigsaw puzzle. Or, have some fun on Google’s Froogle tracking down something for everyone on your list. Happy hunting!