Monday, November 26, 2007

Five Business Gift Giving Mistakes to Avoid this Holiday Season

Anyone braving the shopping malls during the holiday season knows that finding the perfect gift for family or friends is not easy. Business gift giving can be even more challenging. "Choosing the right business gift actually requires more time and thoughtfulness," says Tina LoSasso, Managing Editor of SalesDog.com, in one of 80 sales lessons in the new business book, Top Dog Sales Secrets. LoSasso identifies five common business gift-giving gaffes:

Quality trumps quantity. "A small box of exquisite, handmade truffles will be appreciated far more than a big box of run-of-the-mill chocolates," LoSasso advises. "If the head honcho at your biggest account is a wine connoisseur, remember, it's far better to send one bottle of the very best than several ordinary bottles he'll never uncork."

Reject run-of-the-mill. Shun the ho hum food baskets and opt for a more memorable gift. "Check your client notes," suggests LoSasso. "What are his hobbies? Does he golf, cook or play sports? If your client, the gourmet cook, is still raving about the meals he enjoyed during his vacation in Tuscany, send him a beautifully illustrated regional cookbook. Your gift, and you, will be remembered far longer than a generic tin of cookies."

Don't even think of advertising. "Sending gifts with your company's logo on them makes you look stingier than Scrooge," says LoSasso. "Save the logo-imprinted pens, paperweights, mouse pads and calculators for your next trade show. Instead, send a gift from your region of the country: Ghirardelli chocolate from San Francisco, smoked salmon from the Northwest, citrus from Florida or California or barbecue sauce from Texas."

Beware of booze. "Alcoholic beverages are usually risky business," warns LoSasso. "The one exception is when you know someone loves a certain brand of rare Scotch, a particular wine, or a regional microbrew. Never send a bottle of champagne to that key account in Salt Lake City, or for that matter, frozen steaks to your customer who is a vegetarian. Don't laugh - it happens."

The gender trap. Gender differences present their own gift-giving dangers. While it is generally acceptable for a saleswoman to send her stressed-out women clients personal items, like lotions or a spa kit, salesmen should not be so familiar. "Sorry guys," says LoSasso. "You're not in the club."

LoSasso's advice is excerpted from the bestselling book, Top Dog Sales Secrets, authored by 50 renowned sales lecturers, consultants, and corporate trainers.
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