Here’s how a thoughtful gift can nurture leads and shorten your sales cycle.
The sales cycle can fall apart for a variety of reasons—budget issues, market saturation, timing, or a bolt from the blue. But one misstep that can easily be avoided? Failing to establish a personal bond with a potential client, prospect, or any other valuable business connection.
The strategic use of gifting is a smart way to create or strengthen such connections, especially if you follow an account-based marketing strategy. When done well, a professional and appropriate gift shows your recipient that you value the business you do together and want to invest in your partnership, whether it’s a new or long-standing connection. Sales gifts can also open the door to a follow-up conversation, or even serve as a simple way to help you stand out from the competition.
Finding, sending, and following up on a great sales gift at the right time can help keep your brand top-of-mind and shorten your sales cycle—and it’s easier than you might think.
Here are a few strategies for choosing a successful sales gift.
Start small, especially in the early stages.
Gifts can certainly be a way to get your foot in the door with a new business contact, but giving gifts before a relationship is officially inked can have complications. There’s a fine line between building a personal connection with an appreciative gesture and trying to influence a deal with an elaborate gift. So don’t overdo it early in a business relationship.
“With increased scrutiny on transparency, I err on the side of caution when pitching new business and giving gifts,” says Sharon Goldmacher, president and CEO of communications 21, a marketing and public relations firm in Atlanta. Accordingly, simple and cost-effective (yet sought after) gifts may be best when you are building a new relationship.
Use gifts to market your company’s strengths.
Once you’ve established a relationship, Goldmacher suggests using corporate gifts to show off your team’s greatest skills. “The gifts we send are meant to reinforce our creativity as a marketing agency and provide our clients with some added insight into the team’s personality,” Goldmacher says. The year the company sent an instant camera as a holiday gift, for example, they included a note that was also a savvy marketing tool. “Our card read: “We can change your image in an instant!,” she says.
An inventive gift can help established relationships flourish, or even lead to new connections down the line. “We won a client, based on the creativity of our gifts, when a former client moved to a new company,” says Goldmacher.
With a catalog of corporate gift options including food items, entertainment, home goods, fitness gear, and many more categories, our GiftNow Gift Concierge team can help you identify the perfect gift assortment—including branded items—for your next sales gifting campaign.
Don’t hesitate to be bold.
An untraditional gift might feel risky, but being a bit daring can help keep your company top of mind. New and attention-grabbing gift concepts that stand out from other gifts can help you differentiate yourself from other companies and cement your reputation as thoughtful and responsive.
Goldmacher and her team make a big impression with clients with their annual holiday gifts, which are always themed. They’ve become so popular with clients that she says their family members have even chimed in about how much they enjoy the tradition. Last year for example, Goldmacher’s company sent an awards-show themed gift package to her clients. “It included a book of cocktails featuring Hollywood stars, a popcorn popper, the popcorn itself, movie tickets and more,” says Goldmacher.
You could even opt for an experiential gift—such as a “pizza night” gift bundle that includes a selection of gift cards to favorite pizza spots for your recipient to enjoy. Such themed gift options are a great way to demonstrate your connection and provide an enjoyable surprise for your recipient.
Make it personal—and follow up.
Crafting your gift to fit your recipient’s interests will help it to be useful and enjoyed. If you’re not familiar with a business contact’s tastes or hobbies, asking a few thoughtful and unobtrusive questions can help guide you to a successful gift.
So if your client has mentioned that their drives always end up in the rough, send them a golf club that can help them uplevel their game. Or if they’re sending their first child off to college, send a sweatshirt from the university. Such thoughtful gifts show you’re paying attention—always a good quality in a business partner.
Knowing a bit about your recipient goes a long way, as does giving them the power to choose and customize a gift they’ll really love.
With a Gift Experience Management (GXM) partner, for example, you can send not just a gift, but rather create an entire gifting moment. GiftNow allows you to virtually send a curated selection of gifts or gift cards for your recipient to choose from. Your gift arrives by text or email in a completely branded experience, along with a personalized text, photo, or video message from you. You can let your business contact know how much you enjoyed the meeting you had, how you’re looking forward to developing a concept together, or simply say thanks. It’s a smart strategy for following up with a contact, and especially impactful after a memorable meeting or outing.
Using GiftNow also allows the recipient to customize the gift to their preferences, choosing the item’s size or color for example, and all before the gift ever ships. They can even respond to your message with a digital thank-you note through GiftNow. With such an easy and streamlined gifting process, a well-received gift becomes the perfect follow-up opportunity.
A simple gift giving process, a happy recipient, and a strengthened business relationship? Now that’s the way to gift.
Get in touch with our Gift Concierge team at firstname.lastname@example.org to give better, more impactful gifts.