Friday, December 17, 2010



The Salesperson's Guide to Gift-Giving
by Tina LoSasso
Finding the perfect gift for family or friends is no small chore. Business gift-giving is even more challenging. While you may be able to get away with Starbucks gift cards for your staff, thanking your clients for their business requires more time and thoughtfulness. How do you go about selecting exactly the right gift for that important client? Here are some time-honored rules of thumb:

• Thoughtful gifts will earn you huge dividends. If you're working a large account, check your notes on the key players. What are their hobbies? Do they golf, cook or play sports? For example, if you know someone loves to fish, send him a book on fly-fishing America's rivers.
• The ultimate in thoughtfulness is a gift you make yourself. This is especially true around the holidays. Unless your customer is a Martha Stewart type, she probably has little time to make much of anything. Gifts of homemade cookies, candy or preserves will be greatly appreciated. Packaging is important with homemade presents, so make them look pretty!
• Women love chocolate. In this case, think quality, not quantity. A small box of exquisite, handmade truffles will be appreciated far more than a big box of run-of-the-mill chocolates. Gourmet coffees and teas, crystal items and potted plants are usually a hit. A saleswoman may send more personal items—aromatherapy candles, a spa kit—to her stressed-out female buyers, but salesmen should not be so familiar. Sorry guys—that is life. You are not in the club.
• Men love gadgets, toys and food. Think of the latest electronics, or a clever desktop novelty. High-quality pens, nuts or jellybeans also score highly with men. Cigars are a great idea if you know he smokes them. Once again, think quality, not quantity. It's far better to send a few of the very best than a box of duds he will throw away.
• Think regional. Consider sending a gift from your region of the country: Ghirardelli chocolate from San Francisco, smoked salmon from the Northwest, cheese from Wisconsin, citrus fruit from Florida or California, authentic Cajun fixin's from Louisiana, or barbecue sauce from Texas. Cleverly packaged, these unique local gifts (and you) will be remembered far longer than a generic tin of cookies...

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