When a Gift Isn’t Really a Gift

When was the last time you received a gift from a company? They may have sent you something as a thank you gift or it may have been a promotional item. It might have been something that they were sending out to everybody like a calendar.


If you’re going to send out gifts to clients, don’t send a promotional product, like a pen with your logo and contact information on it. There’s a place for these kinds of pens and that’s at a trade show event.  When you’re giving something like that out to someone, it isn’t a gift. A promotional product is all about you. It’s about your business, and a gift should be all about the recipient, not about you. An item with your logo on it is self-serving, and a gift should not be serving the recipient, not yourself.

A gift should be thinking about the other person 100%. Think about the person. How can you make them feel special? What would they like to receive? Whenever possible, keep your logo off of it. Keep your information off of it. The minute you add your logo or your contact information to it, it becomes a promotional piece and it becomes self-serving. That takes away from the purpose of making your clients feel special.

A Gift can Create Buzz and Generate Referrals

When a gift is done right, it can create a buzz. Clients will be so delighted that they’ll take a picture of it. They’ll post it on social media and say, “Look what I got. This made me feel special.” If it is done right, it will cause them to want to stay with you and do more business with you. They will feel like you care about them, and that should be the real purpose of a gift.

If a gift is done right, it can also result in more referrals for you if they post about it on social media or tell a friend or colleague. People will start to ask, “hey, where did you get that? Who gave it to you?” It gives them a reason to talk about your business in a good way.

Even if referrals don’t come right away from social media, the good will of sending out a kind gift can still result in referrals. Later when they’re talking to a friend who needs whatever it is you do, the first person they’re going to think of is you, because you showed them kindness.

When you’re going to give out gifts, make sure it’s done from the kindness of your heart. Focus on the recipient and not yourself. Promotional products have their place, just not as a gift. Make your clients feel special by sending them something that’s just for them. Share in the comments below – what is the best thing you have received from a business? Why did you like it?

If you need help knowing how to fit gifting into your strategic relationship marketing plan, schedule a Client Loyalty Audit. We can help you authentically build business relationships that result in a return on investment.


  1. Gail Propson says

    Great post! I totally agree. I hope to see you at the next Professional Sales Association meeting!

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