I’ve started a tradition of sending my clients a holiday gift. They all seem to appreciate it and I plan to continue for the foreseeable future. Sending these gifts is good for my business because the gift (in decreasing importance):
- shows my clients that I appreciate them. I do good work, but lots of people do good work, and I want to show my clients how much I appreciate the opportunity to do business with them. Giving them a gift, no matter how expensive, pales in comparison to the amount I’ve billed them over the year.
- strengthens the relationship. I’m selling not just the product of my time, but myself, and expressing gratitude shows another side of me that clean, well written requirements just can’t.
- makes me stand out, at least among other software contractors. This is only anecdotal, but I have had clients remark on how few of their contractors send any kind of gift or card.
- reminds my clients about me–some of the recipients might have not heard from me in months, so the gift is a reminder of my services.
It’s also good for me, for the following reasons:
- Gratitude feels good
- It’s fun to pick out gifts
- Going over invoices to get addresses serves as an excuse to review all the work I’ve done, as well as goals I may or may not have accomplished.
In 2008, I picked chocolates from It’s Only Natural Gifts, because I wanted to support a local company and their product looked good. They made it easy; all I had to do was give them a spreadsheet with client addresses, messages and type of gifts, and a credit card number. I also sent a card to a client that I did a small amount of business with.
I recommend doing this for your clients next time the holidays come around.