Every year around the holidays, our company breakroom fills to capacity with a mountain of indistinguishable gift baskets full of stuff―peanuts, pretzels, coffee, meats and cheeses, fruits, chocolate, and just about everything else that can be consumed by office vultures.
The baskets are sent to us by business partners, vendors, people that we’ve worked with, people that want to work with us, and everyone in-between. While we certainly appreciate the kind thoughts and gestures, the gifts fall far short of being memorable.
If you’re going to go through the effort and expense of giving a gift to people who matter the most to you, you want those gifts to be absolutely unforgettable. The next time you’re in the gift-giving spirit, follow these simple rules to make you AND your gift memorable:
If It Doesn’t Have Their Name on It, Forget About It
Dale Carnegie once said, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” A person’s name is important to them, their family and friends, their colleagues, and their business partners. Make sure your gift recognizes them personally. No more generic mass emails, cheesy trinkets with your name and logo, and heaven forbid, no more gift baskets with stale pretzels!
Bottom line, put their name on the gift. If you’re not willing to invest the extra time, energy, and money to address this important detail, then you’d be better off not sending a gift at all.
Win Over the Spouse
Power brokers, influencers, key decision makers, and powerful executives have been wooed in every conceivable manner by people trying to gain their favor. They’ve seen, heard, received, and consumed it all. Yet time and time again the person that carries the most influence in that person’s life is almost always ignored―their spouse or significant other.
It’s often been said that “behind every great man there’s a great woman.” The point of that saying is that every accomplished person has a confidant, a supporter and influencer. And more times than not, that person is a spouse or significant other.
If you want to gain favor and be memorable, win over the spouse! That power player trusts their spouse more than anyone else in the world. When deciding upon a gift, make deliberate considerations for the recipient’s spouse.
Do Some Social Media Sleuthing
So what exactly should you get for a gift? Without crossing the line and ending up as a feature story on Dateline, put your detective cap on and do some social media sleuthing! Track down the recipient and their spouse’s social media profiles. Look to see what they like, what they share, what they post about, and who they follow. Often times, social media platforms are chock full of information and clues as to what your recipients enjoy and value the most.
If they post a lot of food pictures, consider buying them a set of kitchen knives—customized with their names of course. And while you’re at it, give them two tickets to a local cooking class with a star chef. If they post and share content around their family outings, buy their family a VIP pass to their local professional sport team’s stadium. Not only will they get instant and memorable enjoyment from such an experience, they’ll also take photographs that will last forever.
Do Lunch Less Often
If you’re in business, you do lunch. It’s what you do. It’s what everyone does. However, consider doing lunch less often. If you were to add up the money you spent on business lunches and dinners last year, you might just throw up today’s lunch. Why? Because those $40 and $50 dollar meals add up.
Instead of spending money on meals and drinks, consider budgeting some of those dollars to spend on memorable gift giving. Let’s face it, you and your clients will only remember that lunch until lunch time tomorrow. Why not put that money towards something that will serve as a constant reminder of your relationship for years to come?
Time & Timing Is Everything
When choosing a gift, consider how much it will be used and for how long. If the item you’re considering only provides a one-and-done experience, shelve it for a better option. Remember the knives and cooking class for food lovers? Well, not only will they take pictures of their time in the kitchen, they will also use those personally branded knives for years to come. And each time they go for the knife, they’ll think of you. And the family at the ballpark, well, those memories and the pictures will be proudly shared with family and friends every time someone visits their home. And you’ll be part of that story.
As for timing, remember the scene I set for you in the opening? The breakroom full of gift baskets during the holidays? Well, timing is everything. Regardless of the occasion, whether it’s anniversaries, holidays, or some other calendar event, get your memorable gift in the mail weeks before everyone else. Your gift will stand alone for days before anyone else’s arrives. And if you’ve followed the advice given here, you and your gift will stand the test of time, making you absolutely unforgettable.