You pride yourself on going above and beyond in planning your clients’ events, providing additional services when they make a request. So when they ask you to find gifts for their event, you may think to yourself: “How hard can it be?”
But many event planners end up wasting their valuable time as well as their clients’ because they didn’t have all the information needed before suggesting ideas. Rather than being helpful and adding value to the event, you risk frustrating your client with inappropriate suggestions.
Here are a few dos, don’ts and suggestions to ensure your clients are reassured they made the right choice to select you to handle all the details.
Do dig for answers. You may know how many items are needed and by what date, however you also need other details including whether the gifts are for men or women or both. What is the business or industry? Is there a theme for the event? Is there a plan about how the gifts will be displayed or delivered? Will they be arranged together on a table to be picked up by the guests, or waiting for them in their hotel rooms upon arrival, or shipped later? Do gifts need to be airplane friendly in size or materials? Recipients may be travelling with only a carry-on bag. We helped one event planner avoid a sticky situation by making sure the gift of maple syrup was custom packaged in airplane- friendly-size bottles complete with the required food labeling.
Do check cultural etiquette. A set of four coasters would not be appreciated by Asian recipients as the number four is associated with death. Providing a gift set of five coasters gift wrapped in bright red paper is more appropriate. Red is the luckiest colour and is widely used at weddings and festivals to bring good luck. Knowing dates of religious or cultural observances is important because manufacturers and couriers might be closed which can affect meeting delivery deadlines.
Do ask for a budget. This is a must that I liken to shoe shopping. I can show you shoes at $1,000 and shoes at $20. Being shown an option that is outside the budget, but is not realistic price point, will only disappoint and upset your client who has now seen the more expensive option.
That being said. . .
Do ask if you can show ideas over the budget. Find out a range, and by how much.
Don’t shop around among several gift vendors. Choose one vendor. Some vendors may provide options without a commitment but you want to be upfront with your vendors to build and foster a successful relationship.
Do ask your gift vendor what their capabilities are. There are occasions you may just need someone to take an order. But you will also have occasions when more details are required including hand written cards, fulfillment and shipping to international addresses, and follow up thank you notes.
Do consider extra options. This includes designing and printing insert gift cards with your client’s logo on the front, gift wrapping items in their corporate colors, shipping or couriered to recipients’ office or home if requested. These details will be appreciated by the recipients, and reflect well on your client, not to mention save you and your client hours searching for wrap and cards and bubble wrap!
Don’t think you have to do it all. The gift vendor should know or find out for you important information about shipping and completing necessary documentation such as commercial invoices. Recently we shipped internationally 150 hand-crafted maple serving boards. We found out we needed the boards inspected prior to shipping. It was extra paperwork, but the gifts arrived on time and were not held up in quarantine!
Do logo or don’t logo? A well chosen gift will be appreciated and talked about. When there isn’t a logo displayed, the item invites a conversation about the origins of the gift, including where and why the recipient has it. Logos do have their place as an important part of a company’s branding and positioning. Use logos on the insert cards that accompany the gift and for promotional give-away items. If you want your gift to convey a meaningful message or want it to be on display in an office or home without looking like a corporate advertisement, restrain from using logos.
Done correctly, gift giving is a cost effective way and thoughtful way to build a relationship with value. Choosing the right gift is serious business. A gift that shows thought and creativity will help establish and enhance relationships. Gift giving should be meaningful and easy, not a chore.
About the author:
In 1998, Janet Helm identified an opportunity to revolutionize workplace recognition from off the shelf, standard catalogue ideas to designing and providing creative, authentic awards and gifts that reflected companies’ values and culture. Today, the award winning company continues to help forward thinking companies including Coca-Cola, Colliers International and Canfor Forest Products build a culture of gratitude with creative solutions. Janet speaks to corporations about the power of gratitude, and why having a gratitude culture may be the best thing you ever do for your business. Connect with Janet through her website www.janethelm.com and social media: LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/janethelm1; Twitter @janetmhelm; Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JanetMHelm/.