Business Gifts Etiquette Tips
Business Gifts Etiquette Tips
The right gift may allow a good business relationship to flourish, while the wrong gift can grind negotiations to a halt. The ideal business gifts will reflect your thoughtfulness, creativity, attention to detail and, perhaps most importantly, your good taste. Below are some Etiquette Tips to help you guide you to the proper business gift.
- Check with the recipient's company concerning its gift policy before sending a business gift. This will avoid potential embarrassment in case certain companies don’t allow employees to accept gifts or may place a limit on the gift amount.
- Send a business gift that reflects both yourself and your company’s image.
- Personalize your business gift whenever possible for maximum impact. Use imagination, creativity and customization to make your gift stand out.
- Exhibit good timing by giving business gifts when they are pertinent, especially “thank you” gifts.
- From food to flowers, choosing high-quality, gourmet products for business gift-giving—in any price range—exhibits good taste and will more likely result in an acknowledgment.
- Factor in the recipient’s location, job function, and outside interests when deciding on your business gifts. Don’t hesitate to shop entire selections or to consult a Gift Advisor before making your choice.
- Gifts should reflect the value you place on the relationship. Highly respected clients should receive more attention and a more personal gift.
Business Gifts Across Cultures
- When giving holiday gifts, show respect for all religions that celebrate during the holidays. Use "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" as your seasonal messages, and avoid gifts with direct religious overtones.
- When sending food gifts, be aware of any dietary restrictions your recipient may have due to religious, medical or ethical reasons. See Religious Concerns below.
- When sending gifts overseas, learn about the local customs of your recipient first, to avoid either offending your recipient or causing them to pay any tax or duty on the gift.
- Be aware of cross-cultural protocol. If you’re unsure about how a recipient will accept your gift due to religious or ethnic differences, research their culture first!
Specific Cultural Concerns
- When sending a sympathy gift to offer condolences to a Jewish family, it is appropriate to send a food gift to the home. Be respectful of cultural dietary restrictions. If sending a food gift to a Jewish or Israeli client, you may want to consider a kosher gift.
- When sending flower gifts to a business partner in Europe, be aware it is considered bad luck to send an even number of flowers.
- Be careful about sending certain colors of flowers overseas. For instance, white chrysanthemums are mainly used for funerals in Belgium, Spain and France. White flowers symbolize death in Japan. Yellow flowers symbolize death in Mexico and infidelity in France.
- Some cultures stress the importance of numbers. In China, giving gifts in single or odd numbers may imply loneliness or separation, while gifts given in a pair signify good luck.
- In Russian corporate culture, a small business gift is always appropriate, but traditionally its value should be related to the businessperson’s rank.
- Always remember French business culture dictates that you do not include your business card with a gift.
- Sending or bringing food gifts to a dinner party hosted by someone of Indonesian descent may imply the hospitality is inadequate and insult your host—unless it is agreed upon beforehand. Send a thank-you gift of candy or a fruit basket afterwards instead.
- When first meeting an Indonesian client, presenting them with small gifts is a great way to display your sincere interest in establishing a long-term business relationship. The gifts should be modest and thoughtful, and should represent your country or feature your company logo.
- It is a Chinese custom to refuse a gift three times before accepting, to prevent from appearing greedy. Continue to insist until they accept, then say you are pleased they have done so. If you receive a gift, it is expected you will follow the same routine.
- When sending flower gifts to recipients of Chinese descent, avoid sending white flowers, specifically chrysanthemums, which signify tears or death.
- To the Chinese, it is considered bad etiquette to not reciprocate gifts.
- In Japan, the exchange of gifts is an important part of doing business and often symbolizes the strength of a business relationship.
- In Taiwanese business culture, the exchange of business gifts is very popular. When presenting gifts in person, be sure to take an assortment, so that you can have at least one gift for any occasion, and so that you can reciprocate if unexpectedly presented with a gift.
- In Asia, gifts are used as expressions of friendship and the hope of future business prosperity. They are traditionally given at the end of a successful meeting, or at the start of a new business relationship.
- Only send gifts that are appropriate. It is considered improper to give gifts that might embarrass the recipient or interrupt others’ work day.
- Sending gifts to recipients whose company has a no-gift policy could lead to awkward situations if they have to decline or return the gift.
- Sending considerable gifts to a business partner you’re in the middle of negotiations with could be interpreted as bribery.
- Don’t forget your Administrative Professional! According to the International Association of Administrative Professionals, three out of four admins say “nothing” is the worst gift they’ve ever received during Administrative Professionals Week.
- Check and double-check the spelling of recipients’ name and company name when sending personalized gifts.
- When dealing with a consistent client list, send different gifts each year to avoid repetition or predictability. For instance, send a gourmet gift basket one year and a chocolate gift tower the next.
- Don’t overuse major holidays as an excuse to send gifts—get noticed by sending something at an unexpected time or during a holiday important to the recipient.
- Make a list of gifts you have sent, along with the names of recipients, in order to avoid duplication.
- Send a gift basket filled with a generous supply of the recipient’s favorite snack or gourmet treat. A tasty idea for the business associate with a sweet tooth!
- For the environmentally-conscious business associate, send environmentally responsible items such as organic fruit or flowers.
- When sending gifts to different co-workers for the same types of occasions throughout the year, avoid predictability by customizing or personalizing the gift.
- Make an impression on your boss by sending a gift during Christmas or a special Birthday. To avoid competition with co-workers, perhaps take donations from the office staff to be used towards a more memorable gift.
- Always remember your existing clients—who will spend more money and offer more contacts and referrals—with gifts of appreciation.
- Employees are also your business partners. Nurture your relationship with them by sending gifts for performance recognition or motivation.
- If you want a client to continue remembering you throughout the year, send something from one of our Monthly Gift Clubs. From fresh fruit to gourmet cookies, we have something for every taste.
- Promotions, raises or major accomplishments in the business world are causes for celebration. They also provide you the perfect opportunity to send your congratulations with a handsome gift basket or a blooming plant.
- For the client who is proud of his wine cellar, make a positive impression by sending a gourmet wine basket or a Wine of the Month Club.
- Make sure every gift you give is wrapped. Taking a moment to include a personalized note shows you care, and adds warmth and sincerity to your holiday gift.
Holiday Gifting Etiquette
- Make your holiday business gifts stand out whenever possible by staggering delivery dates. For example, try sending a Christmas gift on Thanksgiving or New Year’s instead of Christmas week when they’ll be overrun with gifts.
- Celebrate holidays and boost morale by giving a gift to the entire office— floral bouquets for meeting rooms and a gourmet gift basket to share at department luncheons.
- Food items are among the most popular holiday business gifts. If you choose to send a gift basket of gourmet snacks or sweets, have it delivered earlier so it’s not lost in the shuffle.
- When sending a wine gift to a business partner to toast the holiday, avoid complications by checking the legal guidelines for wine deliveries in the recipient’s state.
- Holiday shopping can be hectic. If you’re short on time or imagination, contact a Gift Advisor to help you find the perfect holiday business gift.
These tips should help to make your business gifting experience easy, enjoyable and help you to stand out for the competition. Please send with your questions or comments to email@example.com