The holidays are just around the corner, and today’s WRA calls for you to begin planning ahead.
Do you send cards or gifts to your clients to mark the holidays? As you no doubt know, current clients and referral sources are your most immediate route to more business. Because business development is all about growing and maintaining relationships, recognizing those relationships in an appropriate way may further your rainmaking goals.
More importantly, it’s gracious to thank your clients for putting their trust in you and allowing you to serve their legal needs. Failing to do so probably won’t rupture a healthy relationship (nor will it repair a relationship on the rocks), but it’s a nicety that reminds your clients that you view them as more than a source of income.
So, what is an “appropriate way” to recognize your clients and referral sources? The answers are as varied as givers. A few guidelines for you to consider as we move toward the holiday season:
- If you send cards, write a short note (even just a few words) and sign the card yourself. A preprinted card with a preprinted message has all of the personal charm of spam. And don’t even get me started on e-cards. (I’m sure this will offend some, and I’m sorry for causing offense, but I assure you that I’m not the only person who feels this way about impersonal greeting cards.)
- If you send a gift, don’t send an over-the-top gift. Some corporate clients have policies that forbid employee acceptance of gifts over $X in value. Even if such policies aren’t in place, clients who receive expensive gifts are likely to think that they’ve overpaid if you can afford to send something expensive. Aim for nice and relatively modest, except in unusual circumstances.
- Select gifts that are selected for your specific recipient…
- Or gifts that are universally well-received or easily passed along. If you know your client or referral source well enough to send a book or CD set you know they’d enjoy, perfect. If not, don’t go out on a limb or send something that reflects your own tastes or brand.