To gift or not to gift

Cold calling is one of the hardest forms of sales generation but remains a necessary evil when trying to expand one’s client base. Second to that has to be turning a disgruntled client into a loyal client. Both require the sales and marketing teams to walk into situations that are unfamiliar or confrontational. Planning for circumstances such as these can go a long way in easing the ‘pain’. If you know what to expect and you know what you would like to say, it will be much easier to handle yourself in the meeting and your conversion rate generally tends to be higher. There is nothing more off putting than sitting in a meeting and the person who called it doesn’t really have much to say. Another great tactic is to come up with an ice-breaker or deal sweetener in terms of a small token of appreciation for the person’s time. Opinions are mixed as to whether or not this is still a good idea because there are always concerns of it being seen as an attempt at puckering up those lips of yours to some proverbial rear ends. I am definitely one of those marketers that firmly believe that if the situation calls for it and the gift is appropriate – then definitely GIFT! Don’t think that this means that you can just grab a cheap old pen or mouse pad from the promo store-room. Think about the client you are going to see and chose an item that will suit that client or will be useful to their work or home environment. What’s Hot Right Now: There are always gifting trends so get in on the action while you can. 1.Anything Solar Goes Considering the current load-shedding taking place – choose items that are solar powered and will make your clients life just that bit “brighter” – be it solar powered chargers, torches or light bulbs – it will be appreciated and relevant. 2.Power it Up Power is precious so stock up on USB power packs – they are a huge hit for business men and woman alike. Keeping cellphones and tablets charged on the go is an absolute bonus and the fact that your logo is displayed each time your client makes use of this convenient tool can’t hurt your relationship either. 3.Theme the Scene Another nice easy way of giving a client a gift is to theme it to a relevant event. Whether it is to be seen as uplifting the community by handing out sunflower bandanas for Leukaemia or trees to be planted at your clients’ office for arbour day – the gesture will more than likely be received in a positive light. Birthdays and anniversaries are another nice way of ‘gifting’ your client – be it with an upmarket hamper or good bottle of wine – people enjoy being made to feel special. 4.We all just wanna have fun Bringing in the fun factor (if your client fits the bill) can also be a nice light-hearted way of building client relations. From Ching-Chong-Cha dice to brain-teaser puzzles or stress-balls. You can lighten the mood in the office with the correct messaging attached to the gift. For example a card attached to a stress-ball stating ‘With XYZ on call your stresses will be relieved’ you can create a talking point in your clients office, ensuring your name will be remembered. The options and opportunities are endless and can suit all budgets – just spend a little time thinking out of the box to make those same-old-same gifts appear unique.