Top Tips Regarding Business Gift Etiquette

Gift giving can be part of the process of finding and securing a customer – it is very popular in the USA and in other countries where gifts are expected as part of this process. Sensible organisations operate a Gift Register where any gift to an employee has to be declared so as to avoid any charge of collusion or undue influence in the commercial process.

Token gifts are acceptable in most scenarios but are there “right or wrong” ways of handling this process?

The following guidelines are a useful start to negotiate your way through this potential minefield!

  1. Do not give gifts before doing business with a potential customer; this gift should never be seen as a substitute for effective and professional selling methods.
  2. Never imply that you are “buying” the customer’s business with gifts. In this difficult situation the gift becomes effectively a bribe and nothing more.
  3. When done correctly the customer will view the gift as symbolic of your appreciation and that it is a no-strings attached goodwill gesture.
  4. Be sure that the gift is not a violation of any policy of both your organisation and that of the customer’s organisation. This would seriously jeopardise any potential business relationship.

The best and most sensible advice would be that if you have any second thoughts concerning making a gift then do not do it. When you are sure that some small token is appropriate then proceed making the gift both simple and thoughtful.

Good Luck!

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