Does Gifting Always Work?

Filed in Sales Enablement on July 8, 2016 by

Dimensional mail is a great way to make a real, human connection with a prospect. It builds empathy, shared experience and keeps you top of mind. We’ve cranked out a lot of content on why Intelligent Gifting™ is a valuable asset for every stage of the sales pipeline, but sometimes you shouldn’t send a gift.

How do you know when a prospect is ready for a gift? How do you know which gifts to send at which time? What do you lead with, what is a the best follow-up? A poorly thought-out gift can diminish your brand and turn your prospect off. So it pays to know the best time to leverage dimensional mail.

Know Who You’re Targeting

You have to know who your prospects are before you can send the right gift. If you’re drilling down on a specific prospect you may know a lot about them: their hobbies, alma mater, networks, concerns and dislikes. This lets you craft and send the perfect gift with the perfect note.

Start with firmographics. It is usually easier to build personas starting at the highest level, addressing the whole industry you’re targeting. What is important to people in this space? What types of messaging have they responded to during marketing campaigns? What are their unique pain points? Do these industries have regulations around gifting?

Developing high level personas gives you great insight into building an effective gifting strategy. For example, some industries have very strict regulations about what they can receive in the mail, so it is best to choose a few high-impact gifts very carefully. What if you’ve got hundreds of leads across different prospect companies and all you have is an email address and a mailing address? You are going to have break your prospects down into segments and start building personas around those segments.

Ask qualifying questions and figure out who is really influencing a decision and who will ultimately be the decision-maker. It may be a team that you won’t connect with easily, even worse, your prospects may not know who among them is the proper decision maker.

When to Send a Gift

Once you’ve got a sense of who your prospects are, it is time to map out when you should send a gift and when you shouldn’t. Gifts can open doors, start conversations and make you memorable. Here are some good times to send a gift:

  • When you need to get their attention or open a door. Gifts get attention, and leverage the law of reciprocity to boost your response rate.  
  • When you need to create buzz in a team. Why send one gift when you can send a Swag Bomb™ and hit everyone in a team? A great gift that reaches a whole team gets everyone in the team talking about your solution.
  • When you want to kickstart a stalled deal. A gift is a powerful reminder and helps get a conversation going if it has stalled out.
  • When you want to welcome them aboard. Sending a gift during the onboarding process is an good way to use gifting to build a fantastic customer experience.

When You Shouldn’t Send a Gift

Sometimes a gift can feel pressed, awkward or is just wrong. Don’t send a gift if:

  • If you’ve already sent one recently. This makes gifting look like a high pressure sales technique, not an honest recognition of the prospect’s time.
  • If the deal is in negotiation. If the deal is in the negotiation stages it is not a good idea to send a gift, this may look like you’re trying to soften their position up so you win at the negotiation table.
  • If the prospect has regulations on gifting. Some industries have tight rules on how they can receive gifts, be sure you’re fully aware of these before you send something.
  • When the gift doesn’t match the prospect’s authority, influence, or status. Don’t send the wrong gift to the wrong person, this can make you seem tacky, rude, or even worse: uninformed.
  • When you aren’t going to include a personal note. A gift without a note that acknowledges their role, your relationship, or why you sent the gift can be worse than no gift at all. Furthermore, they may not even know who sent it, which translates to a waste of money on your end.

Pick the Right Gift

Finally, you have to choose the right gift. When you’re choosing a gift keep these points in mind:

  • Match value and rank. The higher the prospect’s rank, the higher the dollar value or perceived value of their gift.
  • Give re-giftable gifts to high level decision-makers. Directors, managers, and other leaders may want to use their corporate gifts as rewards for their best team members. Indulge them with something popular and generic, not personalized.
  • Give usable gifts. Make sure the gifts you send are innovative and fun but also useful. A branded gift that gets used all of the time drives your message home.
  • Don’t go off-brand with your gift. Don’t give a gift that doesn’t fit your company’s brand. Especially avoid gifts that can cause a debate among the prospects.
  • Start small, build in price. Send smaller, cheaper gifts at first and reward your prospects with higher dollar gifts later.

Knowing when to send a gift and when to send an email or make a call is critical to your gifting strategy. You don’t have to do it alone, though. PFL can help with a gifting consult. If you decide to use our gifting solution, SwagIQ, we will give your team a gifting consult. We look at your target prospects, goals and budget and help you design the most effective campaign so you’re sending the right gift at the right time.

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