Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Remembering your clients & vendors this season

Regardless of what holidays or religions your clients and vendors observe, the holiday season is a great time to thank them for their business and their contributions to your success. Here are a few thoughtful and affordable ways to remember your clients this year:

1) Send personalized holiday cards between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. I go with a generic message such as Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings so they are all purpose, but I always sign each card personally and include a note thanking the client or vendor for working with me this year.

2) Send a gift of appreciation. I buy my ongoing and larger clients a small gift at Christmas - a nice pen & pencil set, a box of chocolates, a gift basket from Harry & David, or something else that I know that client would enjoy. For example, I have one client who prefers natural and organic products, so my gift to her will reflect that preference. For those who are far away, I ship the gifts. If they are local, however, I deliver the gift personally.

3) Make a donation on their behalf. This year because so many charities are struggling, I will make a toy or food donation on behalf of some of my clients. I know my clients will appreciate the gesture, and with so many people in need, this is a way for me to stretch my donation dollars too. To make the donation more personal, contact the client by phone or e-mail and ask for the name of their favorite nonprofit organization and make a donation to that charity in the client's name. Follow-up with a card noting the donation.

4) Present a homemade gift of cookies, chocolates or other gourmet treats that they can share. This is particularly nice if you do business with a group of people from one company.

5) Buy a gift card. If you know a particular client loves Starbucks or a local coffee shop or espresso stand like Kelly Latte's or Kona Kai (Kent, WA), buy a gift card in whatever amount you deem suitable. This way your client will think of you the next few times he or she purchases their favorite latte or mocha!

6) Offer free products or services as a thank you. If you aren't in a position this year to purchase gifts for your clients, consider offering them free products or services. Send them a gift certificate or coupon noting the freebie (Good for one free hour of marketing consultation to be used as you wish by May 1, 2009) along with a card thanking them for doing business with you.

7) Treat your client to lunch for a year-end wrap-up meeting, complimentary consultation or just to say thanks. If you space these out throughout the holiday season, this can be an affordable way to say thank you while also creating the opportunity to generate more business.

However you choose to remember your clients this holiday season, make sure the focus is on the client, not on you. Let them know you appreciate their business and hope to continue the relationship into the New Year.

Happy Holidays from the Virtually Yourz team - Dana, Gail & DeAnn!

Dana Blozis

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