Business gift-giving is more than a way to show you appreciate a relationship, it's also a smart way to strengthen your core revenue stream. That's why it's very important that the gift you choose is appropriate. So what's the right choice when deciding on a business gift? Or better yet, what question should you be asking in advance of purchasing anything for your clients? Michael Dermer, president of 1-800-GIFT CERTIFICATE, offers the following advice:

  • First and foremost, determine if your client can even accept a gift. Often, companies or industries institute policies that prohibit employees from accepting gifts from business colleagues. You'd be embarrassed to have your gift returned because you were none the wiser. A simple phone call to an assistant or the client himself can resolve this question.
  • Find out the client's home address. If sending a gift is permitted, send it where the recipient's co-workers won't notice. Again, call the department and just ask. If you're questioned, it's all right to say that you're compiling a holiday gift list.
  • Try to narrow the field of the recipient's interest and hobbies. For example, you wouldn't want to send a vegetarian a sampler of frozen steaks. If you don't have the type of relationship where such personalization is possible, choose a gift that will never offend and will always please. For instance, 1-800-GIFT CERTIFICATE offers their own gift certificate that allows the recipient to choose gift certificates from hundreds of national retailers.
  • Acknowledge hierarchies. It's important to get a gift for the most senior person who is your main client, but don't forget that clients are often comprised of a team of people who should be acknowledged as well.
  • Don't forget assistants. They're often underappreciated at holiday time but can be powerful allies all year.