This article was first published in Lex Witness October 2015 issue.
It’s that time of the year again! And they say that the best of the deals happen over drinks!
With an abundance of regional festivals round the corner, and plenty of major national and global holidays like Diwali, Christmas and the New Year, it is imperative that we discuss the game plan on how to make the best of the holiday season.
Prepare a Comprehensive List
Prepare a list of your clients and contacts who you wish to either send cards or gifts. Every partner in the firm should have about 100-150 such contacts ready with them. If you already have a list in place from last year, make sure that it is updated in all forms keeping in mind people movements, updated portfolios or for that matter even promotions that your client contacts would have got in the last year. Of course, you should be adding new contacts as you meet them throughout the year.
Try and Steer Clear of the Clutter
It is easy to get lost in the holiday clutter. Time your cards and gift giving accordingly, that you receive most attention, instead of being one of the many who reached out. This will ensure that you make the best of the promotional budget you spend in this exercise.
If you choose to undertake the cumbersome process of wishing your clients and good contacts a happy and prosperous holiday season, make sure that you do it in the best possible manner. Avoid choosing run of the mill season’s greetings. Invest in good design aesthetics and customize your firm’s greeting cards and gift wrappers. Standing out in the clutter and being remembered even after the holiday rush is over is the key! Remember, it need not necessarily be a card or that old box of dry fruits. Do the New! There is no dearth of ideas in the world of gifting today.
Remember to Autograph
Nothing says better that ‘I care about you and your business’, more than a personal touch. Remember to sign the greeting cards you send. If it is a gift, add a small note that’s personal and shows that you went the extra mile.
Make sure that before you start sending out cards and gifts, you have prepared a master list. Avoid sending multiple cards to one contact, just because he partners in the firm have not collaborated and cross checked their lists, and a number of them has put the same contact in theirs. If a certain contact needs to be touch based by multiple partners, have them all sign the same card that gets sent out. Nothing can be more embarrassing than getting’s a call from a client telling you that they received six cards from your firm, all looking the same!
Make Special Efforts for the Big Ones
Identify your top 10 clients and contacts, and invest in gifting them something really special and of their respective personal tastes. It will only show that you paid attention to them, which went beyond just business. How you get these gifts to them is also important. A personal touch by the respective partner in delivering the gist in person will only help strengthen the bond for times to come.
Keep it Small to Make it Big
If your firm plans to host a holiday party for clients, consider having several smaller gatherings instead. Put some thought toward the guest list, the theme, the setting, gifts, etc. Make these more intimate events as interesting and memorable as possible. Smaller setting only helps create a bigger impact on the guest’s memories.
Party with a Purpose
You will possibly be invited to a number of gatherings this holiday season. Some will be purely social, while others will have business implications. Make sure you know the intent and interest behind each party you attend. Especially in the case of parties with an inclination for business and networking, keep in mind that your primary purpose is not to eat, drink and be merry. Rather, you are there to build and enhance important relationships. With that in perspective, be selective about the events you attend, arrive early, bring plenty of business cards, work the room, watch your manners, and get networking!
Appreciate What’s Inside
Like it is important to focus on business that comes to you, it is equally required to focus on those who help you run the business. Appreciate your team and make sure you show your gratitude for their loyalty and hard work. After all, you ‘human resource’ is your biggest asset.
With that said, remember that it is of utmost importance to not get caught up in the holiday stress. It is wise to make the best use of the holiday season to touch base with clients and contacts, and show them you care. However, it is more important to enjoy the festivities, let loose a little and relax. Happy Holiday Season!