The holiday season tends to be the time we think most about expressing gratitude, and rightly so. But remembering to thank your clients for their business can become just another item on your to-do list — and one that can be easily forgotten with the season’s focus on friends and family. And it’s not just you that’s busy — it’s your clients, too! So here’s an idea: instead of filling up their mailboxes with perfunctory holiday greetings, why not send a thoughtful note around Valentine’s Day?
Clients Need Love, Too
Your list of people to whom to send Valentines is probably much shorter than your holiday greeting card list, and your clients likely aren’t expecting anything in the middle of February. That makes it a great time to surprise them with a heartfelt thank-you for their business. (Bonus: Business gifts are tax deductible up to $25 per person per year!)
Don’t Bother With Empty Gestures
Perfunctory greeting cards just don’t really cut it these days. In fact, they bring to mind this monologue from The X-Files’ Cigarette-Smoking Man. (I was going to post the video, but Fox has blocked it from youtube, which is a terrible Valentine to the show’s fans. Harumph.)
“Life is like a box of chocolates — a cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for. Unreturnable, because all you get back is another box of chocolates. So you’re stuck with this undefinable whipped-mint crap that you mindlessly wolf down when there’s nothing else left to eat. Sure, once in a while, there’s a peanut butter cup or an English toffee. But they’re gone too fast, and the taste is fleeting. So you end up with nothing but broken bits, filled with hardened jelly and teeth-shattering nuts, and if you’re desperate enough to eat those, all you’ve got left is a… is an empty box, filled with useless, brown paper wrappers.”
One More Time With Feeling
So how do you send a thoughtful gift? The first step is, well, to think. Here are some ideas.
Send a card.
I know I just said that a perfunctory card won’t cut it, but a quality, hand-picked card with a sincere handwritten note does. Find a card that you think your client might like, and then spend some time crafting a message that doesn’t sound like a robot wrote it.
Send a gift.
If you’ve got a particularly big client, consider sending a gift. Now, CSM may have railed against chocolates, but if you know your client loves them, then go for it. If they’ve got a thing for cupcakes or gourmet cookies, then have them delivered. Perhaps they’ve mentioned a restaurant they really like — can you arrange to have some appetizers delivered for a mid-morning or afternoon snack? The key here is, again, to think about what your client would like (i.e., if you’re thanking a fitness company, then sending sweets may not be the best tactic). Gift cards work well here, too.
Send a discount or a coupon.
This one not only says, “Thanks, I love doing business with you,” but also, “I’d love to do more.” Even for clients with whom you have locked-in business, it’s a nice gesture that shows your appreciation.
How do you thank your clients for their business? How would you like to be thanked? I’d love to hear your thoughts!