When you're trying to stand out from the crowd, you've got to be doing something that no one else is doing. But it’s easy to be different - it’s being better that's the hard part.
Everybody talks about building relationships. Very few businesses invest in those relationships in ways that really matter. It’s not that they’re ungrateful. I think culturally, taking the time to express our gratitude and build each other up is just not something that we know how to do well.
“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
- Philosopher and psychologist, William James
If you don't understand people, you don't understand business
Each business has a unique opportunity to make a meaningful impact on other human beings. Whether they’re a customer yet or not, gifts are a tangible way to surprise and delight in a way that no other business does. One gift can completely change the dynamics of the relationship, forever.
Most businesses send a cheap bottle of wine or generic hamper at Christmas with whatever they have left in the budget; but those who understand the power in strategic gifting are intentional about showing their gratitude for the clients or customers who drive their success all year round.
Make it about them
Gift giving is an art. Be strategic and give gifts that are representative of the relationship. Remember that gifting and generosity are about creating joy so figure out what your customer truly values so that the gifts that you give are meaningful to them, and they’ll keep them forever.
Gifts of appreciation not only need to be personal, they need to be world-class, and delivered at a time that’s not expected. Don't give gifts when everyone else is in a business context (eg. at Christmas, out of obligation); give gifts when it'll be a true surprise and delight.
Strengthen the connection
When done well, gifts welcome the receiver into the inner circle. Gifts can also educate, or empower customers to get the most out of what you have to offer. We love the way nutrition and health coach Lauren Moroney empowers people to live The Wellness Life with these beautifully designed recipe cards, given as an extra thank you for joining her community.
Here's another example - a few weeks ago I bought a DIY 'clean living' kit online, it arrived straight away and I immediately made one thing. I loved using it but I hadn't tried everything in the kit, until last week when a parcel arrived from the owner of the online store I bought the kit from. She'd made me a gift using the kit, with instructions for me to make it (and more) myself in a beautiful custom gift bag. Plus she'd handwritten a 'thank you' postcard and made an extra little something with a product that wasn't in the kit for me to try.
It was such a sweet surprise, and it inspired me to not only make the same gifts for my friends and family, using up the kit I already had, but to also jump online and buy that product that wasn't in the kit, that night. Thanks to that one gift, I've fallen in love with the product and I will be shopping there again very soon.
Don’t forget about your own team
The two most important groups of people for your business are your customers, and your employees. Research has found that when leaders show appreciation for what their people are doing well when things are running smoothly, those same people are more likely to go the extra mile for them when things aren't going well, digging deeper during crisis because they know that their efforts aren't going unnoticed.
“Customers will never love a company until its employees love it first.”
- Simon Sinek
Show your team members that they are a valued part of your success, reward them for their efforts, and provide them with the tools they need, equipping them to be brand ambassadors. It doesn't have to break the bank - we get excited just putting together new employee welcome packs with just a few practical items like writing utensils and notebooks, a water bottle, and headphones. A little appreciation can go a long way in helping your team feel valued in what they do - and when they believe in the brand, they’ll tell their friends and family why they should believe in it too.
Whatever business you’re in, it’s important to focus your efforts where you’ll have the most impact on your success. So go deep, create a plan, and discover the power in giving gifts of appreciation to a core group of clients, customers and team members. When done well, every time they see or use your gift - or someone else asks them about it - they’ll remember you and how your gift made them feel, years from now.