When you first start working with a new client, you might be unsure of how to handle certain situations. It takes a while to get to know someone, especially in a professional setting. While you want to impress them, and might feel inclined to show your appreciation with a gift, you’ll want to be cautious about the types of gifts you give.
Client gifts can be a powerful tool to help people remember you, and feel confident in your services. But a gift can quickly turn into an offensive deal breaker if handled improperly. Here are some examples of gifts that should never be given to a new client, and why you want to avoid them.
A bottle of wine is one of the most common gifts, and yet, if you don’t know your client that well, this gift could really put a rift between you. Not everyone is keen on alcohol, and if you aren’t 100 percent sure they’ll appreciate it (as in you’ve seen them drink before), it’s best to stay away.
A basket of food can be a great way to get client’s attention and show your gratitude, but be mindful. There are a few food items that are characterized as common allergies, such as tree nuts, shellfish, peanuts, soy, and dairy, among others. If you aren’t sure of a client’s allergies, it’s best to stick to fruit baskets or, better yet, fill a basket with other items like gift cards, candles, blankets, etc.
Everyone has a different definition of luxury, but most people would agree that a high-end watch, opera tickets, or dinner at a five-star restaurant qualifies as a luxurious gift. There’s nothing wrong with splurging a little on a gift for a client, but go too over the top and you could make them uncomfortable. It’s best to go with a gift that falls somewhere in the middle, like a dinner at one of your favorite restaurants or something you know they really need.
Gag gifts should be reserved for friends and family, only. Even if you believe you share a similar sense of humor, and genuinely believe the gift would come across as funny and not distasteful, you don’t want to risk sending the wrong message. Keep it professional, and avoid ruining your partnership before it truly begins.
The next time you want to impress a new client with a gift, be mindful. One false move and you could end up straining your relationship and eliminating the potential of repeat business and referrals.