Business Gifts – Strictly Business?
Who says business and pleasure don’t mix well? Whoever said that must have had a bad experience cutting a deal. After all, do we not mix business with pleasure when we pop champagne after closing a deal or meeting a deadline.
The truth is that we always mix business with pleasure when doing business. Sweetening the deal, anyone! And this is done to put heart and soul in an otherwise cold world; where numbers make all the decisions. It is like putting a human face on a transaction or something similar to what the brilliant people at KLM did. The Royal Dutch Airlines pleasantly surprised their passengers by pasting personal messages from relatives on their headrests. Of course it took a lot of coordination, but they pulled it off and with great results. Now that’s how you do business!
Business after all, is not always a win-win activity; it sometimes turns out to be a zero-sum activity, where X makes money at the expense of Y. A business gift, in short, is like sugar coating.
If you’ve bought, sold or rented a property through a realtor, they will keep sending you their company’s calendar every year; well almost every year. This is a typical business tradition, which not only shows good will on their behalf but also reminds you that you are important to them. With the calendar what they are essentially saying is: “Hey! Don’t forget me when selling this property or getting a new one”. Yes, these gifts are a continuation of your business relations with a certain individual or company.
Trophies and awards are also given as business gifts. When someone who’s been with a company for a while retires or leaves, they are usually given an engraved shield, as a token of appreciation. Crystal paperweights, headphones, piggy banks, a coffee mug with an interesting inscription, cookie boxes, and even a sweater – if a certain Burberry sweater is good enough for an American President, it’s good enough for you – are all part of a long list of acceptable business gifts.
Now here is a question, if cookie boxes are acceptable then what about chocolates as a business gift. If the objective is to sweeten the deal, then what would be better than chocolates? Chocolates are usually thought of as romantic but there is no harm in sharing this joy when you genuinely like a person as a business associate.
Nobody is saying that you bribe that federal official to get that lucrative contract. That would be wrong and is punishable by a fine and a stint in federal prison. You do not want to do that. However if you ask permission and confirm if it’s ok you to send them a gift, then a box of chocolates or their favorite gourmet biscuits shouldn’t hurt.
Now as unbelievable as it may sound, some people don’t like chocolates, and in that case, you can give them a set of wine glasses instead (lets hope they like wine, at least).
Some of these glasses are made from recycled glass. You may even have the option of getting them engraved with your company’s name or logo. So the next time that person raises the glass, he’ll remember your sweet gesture.
Speaking of wine glasses, why not whiskey glasses as a gift? While other spirits like wine, champagne and brandy have their own distinct glasses, whiskey is an orphan. However, glasses specifically made for enjoying whiskey are now available. Such a gift would show that you went the extra mile. And think about those whiskey glasses with a bottle of their favorite whiskey. Would that seal the deal? It was probably Mark Twain who said “Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough.” Agreed!
Moving on from eatables and drinkables, mini golf set for office, also makes a great business gift. You must’ve seen it in the movies. Some smartly dressed big Wall Street hitter hitting (putting) golf balls in his plush office as he talks on his phone makes another million dollar transaction. Believe it or not, these golf sets wouldn’t cost you a fortune and would be greatly appreciated by someone who just wants to take a five minute breather during an otherwise hectic day.
In short, there is no right answer when it comes to giving a business gift. It could be anything, which shows that you cherish your business relations with that company or person. It could be a box of chocolates or a set of wine glasses. The message, in this case, should be strictly business with a personal touch.