Thursday, November 15, 2007

Using Referral Gifts to Grow Your Business (Part 2 of 3)

"I have lived temperately ... I double the doctor's recommendation of a glass and a half of wine a day and even treble it with a friend." ~Thomas Jefferson

This is the second of a series of guest articles, written by me Jack Bergstrom, for my friends at BookCliff Vineyards. Tis getting near the season for giving and these articles are a bit about making the process of giving more effective and more fun! You can read more tips and techniques for your business at And now for the article...

I like to give referral gifts and I like to show gratitude for the clients that have used me in the past. I have experimented over the years with all manner of Christmas and referral gifts. Chocolates, tinned cookies, turkeys, hams, cash and gift certificates, food baskets and fine wines. Each of them has worked well for the right person. What does working well mean? They accepted the gift, they appreciated the gift, it was something they could use or enjoy consuming and it made them more even more likely to use me again or to refer me.

Let's look at each of these pieces:

  • They accepted the gift. You must be careful that your gift does not violate any company policy about accepting gifts from vendors. What does this mean? Don't give any sort of gifts to employees of large companies that you do not know well and you have not asked the person you would like to gift first. Since the atmosphere and the words that you use while giving a gift mean as much or more than the gift, this is easy to do. "I would really like to show you my appreciation for our work together. Are there any things that I should know about your ability to accept a gift?" Doing this over a nice lunch also helps.
  • They appreciated the gift. Hopefully you have collected some information about your client in the course of working with them. What do they like and dislike? Do they drink alcohol? Wine or liquor?
  • The gift was something they could use or enjoy consuming. Spend as much as you can justify on your gifts. How much is this? It depends on your clients and your average ticket and, if full tax deductibility is important to you, the IRS must be included in the calculation. I also want my name and image always associated with high quality...don't you?
  • It makes them even more likely to use me again or to refer me. The quality and appropriateness of the gift makes a difference here. Telling the client that you are genuinely grateful, and being genuinely grateful, for their past business and any referrals makes a difference.

You may notice that the quotes on today's entry are related to wine. I have used quality wine as a referral and thank you gift many times in the past and I continue to use it today. As long as I have verified first that my clients appreciate wine, then this is my go to gift. I wanted to recommend to you a Colorado based winery that I feel makes a truly superior product. (Their wine has won numerous awards so many others feel this way as well.) If you are thinking about wine as a thank you gift this season, then consider buying from BookCliff Vineyards. Start your exploration of their Colorado grown and produced line of wines right here on their blog.

I have know the owners since they started this company and the uniqueness of a great Colorado wine will do great things for the effectiveness of your gift. They will even create custom labeled wine for you.

I wanted to thank Robin Garr's Wine Lover's Page at for some ideas about quotes regarding wine. This is a nice site for wine lovers to visit.

"In Europe we thought of wine as something as healthy and normal as food and also a great giver of happiness and well being and delight. Drinking wine was not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary." ~Ernest Hemingway; A Moveable Feast

No comments: