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The end of the year is drawing closer. Do you have a gift-giving strategy? Do you know what to give your most valued clients? Are you Gift Savvy in time for Xmas? What about a promotional exercise that’ll leave a lasting memory of your product or service? If you didn’t know it yet, here’s a secret: gifts and mass giveaways can be used as a sales tool.

Yes that’s right. Gifts and promotional items can be leveraged in your selling favour – it’s simply a question of getting the mix, and the match, right. To make sure you’re on the safe side of the fence, it’s imperative that you follow the unsaid rules of gift-giving.

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Give a gift that you’d like to receive
If you’re planning to give a customer something for simply doing business with you, understand that no matter what you give, it’ll appear cheap if it’s not matched to them as a person. The idea behind gift giving is still associated with the word ‘gift’. “Make sure you give someone

something you’d like to receive,” advises Bryan Peach, director of The Promo Group. “Giving a generic bottle of whiskey is a no-no,” he says. “The receiver may not like the specific brand you bought, they may not even drink whiskey – and you’re left looking like a fool.”

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Give an item to show that you appreciate the business, not to swing a deal in your direction.
There’s a very fine line between bribery and gift giving. Give a gift to show your appreciation for the business that’s been done, not to initiate a deal. If you walk in to see the client with a bottle under your arm, expect to get axed. If you don’t get axed, expect to dish out a fair few

bottles before the customer even acknowledges you – nobody wants to be bought.

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Be different
Gift-giving has become standard in the corporate sphere, largely in two dimensions: as gifts and as promotional items or giveaway products. We give gifts to say thank you for a year’s worth of business, we do promotional giveaways to create awareness of a brand. While the products themselves may be high-end or lower-end in price, their main objective remains the same: brand exposure. Peach sums it up nicely by saying, “It’s not about Christmas, it’s about advertising.” So opt for

something other than the norm – you want the customer to remember you.

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It’s not about Christmas
Mass giveaways and corporate gifts shouldn’t be associated with Christmas – they’re about business. That means that December is not necessarily the best time – rather opt for all-year-round brand exposure. “Imagine having spent three weeks on holiday during the festive season. You get back to work, everyone is settling in to their respective jobs. By the end of January things start heating up a little. Then, imagine if, in February, someone popped around and gave you a really tasteful gift?

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Hey, it’d be the one gift you remembered – not the six that you received in December,” Peach says. In terms of giveaways, leverage lies in the mass exposure element. “If you’ve launched a new product, opened a new store or changed contact details, mass giveaways are the way to go,” says Julia Mack from Lumoss Mouldings.


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It must be useful and appropriate“There are different gifts for different occasions,” says Peach. “But at the moment, you can’t go wrong with gadgets.* Everyone has a cell phone, everyone has a computer and everyone’s on the move, so gifts related to mobility, technology and telecommunications are hot favourites.” Memory sticks are a great gift idea. They can be customised into almost everyone’s working day. A favourite? The sticky drive, a memory stick with a difference. It works like a typical USB, but a patch links the USB to a webpage. The webpage can be updated as often as you want, and it reflects on screen each time the user pops the USB into their computer.

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If you’re giving away promotional items, get it right
Lumoss Mouldings is a local manufacturer of below-the-line promotional items and giveaways targeted for a mass audience. In terms of giveaways, leverage lies in the mass exposure element. “If you’re selling a new product, or if you’ve changed contact details, mass giveaways are the way to go,” says Mack. According to her, Lumoss’ top sellers include their sports bottle range, lanyards, key rings, rulers and kiddies’ promotional items like yoyos, frisbees and lunch boxes. “They’re fun and they add an entertaining dimension to your brand,” she says. Plus they are useful and won’t break the sales team budget.

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Only brand if it fits
Imagine a pair of luxury binoculars…now imagine a brand emblazoned on the outside. It cheapens the product, doesn’t it? The key is to understand that the gift carries its own subliminal advertising. In the case of high quality gift items, they are superior products of luxury. You don’t necessarily have to cheapen the product because you’re adamant that your brand needs to appear on it. “If I want to give out Montblanc pens, there’s no point putting company branding on it,” says Peach. “It’s a Montblanc! YOUR name should be on it.”

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It’s all about matching the gift to the brand and to the receiver

– this way you’ll succeed in being top of mind and the giver, and you’re more likely to be regarded as a friend and not a pest that hands out cheap and nasty freebies. Before you order gifts or devise a promotional giveaway, it’s important that you can answer the following questions and tailor the order accordingly:
• Are the receivers male or female? Is the gift generic?
• What is the purpose of the gift? (Don’t buy a cheap golf shirt – golf is a game of prestige) – don’t give out a cheap gift to your top buyers.
• Is it going to be mailed out?
• Is it going to be handed out?
• What is the current brand image – don’t give out cheap key rings at a BMW launch. If they break after two months, that’s a bad reflection on a superior brand.
• Do you want the item to stay at the workplace for visibility, or do you want the receivers to take it home with them?
• Is there stock?
• Can it be branded in time?


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You will ALWAYS get what you pay for
You don’t have to have a fortune to come up with something different, but if you’re only prepared to pay R1 per gift, you’re going to get what you paid for. Are you simply doing an exercise in brand awareness, or giving a gift to acknowledge the business done over the past year? For salespeople tasked with delivering gifts, Mack advises that they check an online catalogue and start thinking ahead of an innovative way to brand an item and get the product out into the target market. Mack also suggests contacting Lumoss for a sample kit – and spending time interactively dealing with a variety of products.

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Gifting is also selling: Know your client, buy specifically and tailor the perfect solution

If you can’t do it right, don’t do it, because the effect of a misplaced gifting idea is more detrimental to your future business than a lack of a gift. Gifts should be differentiated if they’re an appreciation of business – the person who interacts with the client should have the insight to buy what they think is appropriate. What not to give as a gift
• Products that may offend certain cultures,
• Products that are not safety and health compliant,
• Products that may offend or embarrass,
• Products that are not sex, age or race appropriate. For the customer who has everything Personalised books: Find out what the customer is interested in – be it birding, canoeing or Pilates – then buy a book that is relevant to that discipline. Get the book leather-bound and their name embossed on the inside.

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