Business-to-business gift giving can be a touchy subject. Some companies have no issues with it, others have specific rules and limits, and others are dead set against it. Even though your intention is to show your appreciation to a colleague for their hard work or a client for their loyalty and business, it can be a challenge to know if you should give out gifts, to whom, and which type of gift to give.
Common Questions About Holiday Gift Giving in Business
The holiday season often has small business owners asking themselves questions about gift giving:
• Should you give gifts?
• Who should you give gifts to? Who is it not appropriate to give gifts to?
• How much should you spend? How much is too much? What is your budget?
• When should you give it to them? How soon is too soon to give out a gift?
7 Business-to-Business Gift Giving Etiquette Tips
Choosing an appropriate gift for a client or colleague can be a challenge. It’s important to follow business-to-business gift giving etiquette.
“Giving gifts to clients or business associates can be an awkward experience if you don’t know the etiquette behind it. If you purchase a gift that is too expensive or not aligned with the recipient’s interests, your good intentions may be overshadowed by the gaffe,” says Annie Pilon on Small Business Trends.
These gift giving tips will help you this holiday season:
Have a holiday gift giving policy: This will ensure that everyone understands the gift giving rules and limits for your company. Also, respect other companies’ gift giving policies if you plan to give gifts to business partners or business clients.
Don’t overspend: A small token of your appreciation will let people know that you are gracious. It’s the little things that count, like a handwritten note communicating that you appreciate a person’s contribution.
Be consistent: Year to year, it’s important to be consistent with gift giving. If you’ve done it for the past 5 years, people are going to come to expect it this year too. If they don’t receive a gift, they may worry that there is an issue.
Make it personal: Over the course of the year, you have likely had conversations with employees, clients, and other business contacts about their personal interests. Giving a personal gift shows that you care. For example, if you know Bob loves golf, a set of golf tees or golf balls is a great gift idea.
If you do for one, do for all: Office politics are always in play. The holiday season is not the time to play favorites. If you run a team of employees, either don’t give out gifts, or give them to everyone on the team.
Respect people’s religious beliefs: Not all of your clients and colleagues celebrate Christmas, and you need to be sensitive to this. “Giving a holiday gift to someone who can’t accept it because of their beliefs can make both you and them uncomfortable. To avoid this, you can simply ask if they celebrate Christmas, without getting into specifics about their religious preferences,” says Pilon.
Don’t lose sight of the purpose of gift giving: It’s not a competition to see who gives out or receives the most gifts. It’s about showing your appreciation and gratitude to the people you work with.
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