Corporate Gifts: Choosing the right gift for your professional contacts

by Irune

Choosing a gift for a business client or associate is never easy, specially for a small business owner who has never found himself needing to send gifts for business reasons.

Among the things to know before starting a business, a bit of training on business etiquette should be included but is often overlooked. This can cause problems when, come Christmas, you start receiving baskets and other gifts from your clients and business associates, and have no idea how to reciprocicate (or even if you should!). If you are lucky enough to count some big names among your business contacts don't be surprised if the subject of choosing the right corporate gift for your professional contacts comes up sooner than later.

Corporate gifts are often exchanged as a way of saying thanks to a client or business associate, or as a way of strengthening your business ties with them, such as Christmas gift giving. Buying a corporate gift that is suitable, appropriate and appreciated can be quite complicated, especially now that there's the Bribery Act to keep in mind as well.

Check out the company policy

Some companies are dead set against gift giving, and your recipient may land himself in trouble if you send him a business gift. Many companies have at least some sort of limits on the value of the item, and anything more expensive than that will be returned.

Packaging and presentation

Good packaging can make or break the impression somebody gets of a gift. An expensive box of chocolates wrapped in what seems to be last week newspaper's will probably cause a worse impression than cheaper chocolates in a luxury packaging. Since a gift that looks too cheap may cause the recipient to believe you don't really appreciate him and can be counterproductive, make sure your gifts are presented appropriately.

Attach a card

If you want the person receiving your gift to actually feel that you have made an effort to find something she'd like, make sure you attach a hand written card, or at least sign it yourself. It's a small detail that just takes a few seconds but will guarantee your gift actually creates the desired impression.

Think of the recipient

If you know the person the gift is for, make a point of choosing something suitable, or go with a risk free corporate gift. Do not send chocolates to somebody who is on a diet, for example, as they may think you are trying to make fun of them. Also, if you are sending a gift to somebody from a different cultural background than yours check out any potential meaning your gift or gift presentation may have that could cause offense.

If you can, deliver it in person

If you are sending a gift to a professional contact as a way of saying thank you or to celebrate a holiday, you will cause an even better and longer lasting impression if you go and deliver it in person.

Don't be cheap

A corporate gift will reflect on your company image, and the last thing you want is to be associated with something cheap or bad quality. If your budget is limited go for something smaller, but don't sacrifice quality in order to present a more impressive gift, since it can backfire. It's also worth looking at who is receiving your gift, and doing a bit of personal research on the person to be able to find a gift that doesn't feel generic.

 The key to selecting and sending the right business gift is always keeping in mind the recipient and going for something that is high quality without looking so expensive that it's out of place or in bad taste.

Updated: 10/30/2011, Irune
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