OK troops, you have just a few days left to take advantage of the biggest and easiest client outreach, retention and relationship building opportunity that we’ll have all year—the December holidays. No doubt you have favorite clients whom you’d like to thank as well as retain, occasional clients with whom you’d like to work more often and lapsed clients whom you’d be thrilled to welcome back and December is the time to activate this most important component of your client outreach plan. Whether you will limit your outreach to sending a card, or you’ll present a well-chosen gift to special clients, you must act very soon. I recommend that you mail cards and distribute gifts no later than December 15, to promote the impression that you are always on top of things.
Congratulations to those of you who wisely placed an order in early November for a holiday card that has your business name professionally printed inside and printed on the envelope, the recipient name and address, plus your business return address. You’re all set to add a brief note of thanks, stamp, seal and mail.
Those who are not quite so organized still have a handful of days to find a box or two of cards that are suitable for clients, meaning the card will contain neither an overt Christmas theme nor religious message. Good tidings that “celebrate the season” are best for business relationships.
In addition, clients with whom you have a long-term relationship, or who provide you with generous billable hours (or you’d like to increase the chance that you will soon be on the receiving end of same) consider sending a holiday gift. Your gift is a lovely gesture that demonstrates gratitude for the business you’ve received and the relationship that has developed. You needn’t spend a lot of money. Many useful or attractive gifts can be bought for $50.00 or less.
This year, I’ll give two jars of jam that are made by an acquaintance and I’ll hand deliver them to a short list of clients no later than December 18, with my holiday card tucked into the gift bag. Home made chutney or artisanal honey also make excellent gifts. Fruit or other gift baskets are a perennial holiday favorite and I’ve seen prices range from $40.00 to $400.00, depending on contents. An appealing take on the holiday gift basket is the California Sunflower arrangement of premium dried fruits, priced at $50.00 + shipping.
If you know that a client still finds traditional pocket calendars more convenient, I recommend the pocket diary by Time Traveler USA. I’ve happily used the brand for several years. The calendar offers a one-month view and has space to write in appointments. There’s also include a weekly view that’s spread over two pages. Diaries come in several colors and are $15 each, plus $2.50 for the gift box.
Then again, you might consider buying a tech gift. Even non-techies might appreciate potentially useful gifts such as Skullcandy wireless headphones , priced at $35.00 + shipping. Finally, if you have little time and money to spend on client gifts, look at air plants that come in attractive containters (and be sure to include the care instructions). Mahoney’s Garden Center has a nice selection at various prices and they’ll ship.
Thanks for reading,
Image: 18th century Rajasthani painting by Nihau Chand