As we all know, Virtual Assistant’s are extremely organised. So of course we’re already thinking about Christmas and what to do about Client gifts. Which leads us on to the all important question: To Buy or Not to Buy? And if you do decide to buy, how much do you spend? And what do you buy?
I’m sure most of you have already decided if you’re going to send your clients’, or some of your clients’, a Christmas gift. But for those of you who haven’t or are new Virtual Assistant’s I’ve outlined a few pro’s and con’s for each:
- It shows your client that you value their business.
- It can help to cement a strong working relationship.
- It can help to keep you and your services in mind when that client needs additional business support.
- It could be seen as a bribe or expectation of future business to come.
- It can become expensive if you’ve got 10+ clients.
- Your clients may be embarrassed if they haven’t reciprocated, or may feel obliged to reciprocate.
To help answer the ‘To buy or not to buy’ question ultimately depends on the working relationship you have with each client, and your budget. A relatively new client you’ve worked with on just 1 or 2 projects may not be the right person for many reasons. In contrast a client you’ve worked with on multiple tasks and interact with regularly is obviously of value to you and your business, and therefore you want to show your appreciation for that continued relationship.
The way I tend to work is on a revenue / relationship basis. All my clients get a hand-written card as a minimum. I think this is a lovely and personal way to show them that a) I value them, b) it gives me an opportunity to thank them for their business throughout the year, and c) to say that I look forward to working with them more in the coming months’ and years’ ahead.
For those clients who I’ve build up a strong working relationship with, who give me regular work, and who’s business I would not want to lose, I tend to send a gift. The gift will depend on three things:
- Who they are – male / female?
- How much I have to spend – what ‘gift’ budget do I have?
- How well I know them – just on a business level or have I got to know them on a personal level as well?
Whatever you decide, don’t end up being just another gift on their desk. If you don’t already know what the perfect gift within your budget would be, bring up a conversation with them to dig a little without them realising why! You could try asking them what their favourite bottle of wine is as you often stick with the same one and would like to try something new. If you know one of your clients’ loves to relax in a scented bath at the end of the hard day, you could send a scented candle or some bath crystals. Being Virtual Assistants we know a multitude of ways to get information out of people, so use those interrogational powers to find out the best gift to send.
But remember don’t spend what you don’t have. If you haven’t budgeted anything for client gifts, or you’ve spent your budget already, do something else. This gives you a nice opportunity to get creative, whilst at the same time letting your clients know you value them. For example sending a hand written card offering X amount of hours’ free-of-charge is a great way to ensure their continued business in the future – what client wouldn’t want to take advantage of free hours?
What do you do? Send a gift? A card? Are you more creative than that? Or do you not send anything at all? Leave your comments below; I’m keen to hear what everyone else thinks!