OK procrastinators, it’s time to finally bust a move and get busy with the holiday cards and maybe gifts, too, that Freelance consultants MUST send to every client you’ve worked with over the past five years. Relationships are everything in life and it’s up to the Freelancer to cultivate and sustain business relationships that help you grow your client list. It’s important to periodically communicate with clients past and present and the good news is that at holiday time, there’s no need to invent a reason to reach out. The December holidays are an important element of every Freelancer’s client retention strategy.
I’m happy to report that my business holiday cards were mailed on December 12. So far, I haven’t felt the need to give client gifts. BTW regarding cards, the vast majority of your clients are Christian and they’ll celebrate Christmas to some extent. However, 2014 data shows that 30% of adults in the U.S. do not practice Christianity and it is for that reason your holiday cards should avoid a specific religious theme and instead refer to “the holiday season.” Because you know your clients, the brief message that you’ll write in each card (whether or not you order them pre-printed) can reference Christmas, Ramadan (which can occur in December), or Hanukkah.
If you feel that presenting selected clients with a gift (to acknowledge your gratitude for generous billable hours), take action and order today. Corporate gifts are mailed, as are cards, so you must allow for shipping time. Start with a call to the client’s HR department to inquire about corporate gift restrictions. There may be a cap on the amount, or alcoholic beverages may be prohibited. Once you’ve confirmed the policy, decide what you feel is appropriate to spend, consider your gift options and choose the company you should order from.
When you’ve identified two or three companies that seem to be good possibilities, do an online search to find out if there have been problems with customer service, delivery times, or the quality of the merchandise. The company should track the delivery of the gifts you’ve ordered from them and let you know when they’ve been received by your clients. Alternatively, the company should make it possible for you to track your gifts and confirm receipt.
Furthermore, the company you order from should not include its promotional material in the gift box. Not even your company promotional material will be in the gift box. Your purpose is to thank your clients for the business relationship. The company can include a sticker or business card so that it can be identified as the source of the gift.
Every corporate gift company will allow you to include a personal note, so be sure to draft one before you place your order. A note expressed in your words will communicate your thoughtfulness and respect to the recipient.
Finally, look for a company that will guarantee the gifts with a refund policy for missed delivery times or damaged goods. Here are a few corporate gift suggestions at various prices:
- Texting gloves —keep hands warm on frosty winter days and give fingers touch screen conductivity $10.00 – $80
- Uber or Lyft gift card— sure to be appreciated and quickly used $20 minimum
- Plant—scientific research shows that adding greenery to the environment boosts a person’s mood and energizes the overall ambience of the space. Choose a plant that’s easy to care for and not fussy about the light required. A geranium could work and they flower year round. Call a local greenhouse to order. $20 – $50
- Docking station—You may want to oder one for your home office! It’s a sleek charging station for your mobile devices. $20 – $100
- Spiral notebook and mobile charging station from Time Traveler USA $65 http://timetravelerusa.com/notebook-powerbank-corporate/
Thanks for reading,
Image: The New Bonnet (1858) Francis William Edmonds Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, NY