Traditionally, law firms have used the holidays as an opportunity to say thank you to their clients. And nothing shows your utmost gratitude for your clients like a generic holiday card or useless token gift, right? Not so much.
If you truly appreciate your clients (and in this saturated legal market – you had better truly appreciate them!), don’t give them a gift that sucks. Another letter opener or [insert lame keepsake] with your name and logo on it is not exactly going to wow and delight them.
Why Should You Wow and Delight Your Clients?
Because your business exists in a small town. The name of that small town is The Internet, as Gary Vaynerchuk points out in his book The Thank You Economy. Thanks to social media, word of mouth is back with a vengeance. Years ago, if a business treated a client or customer poorly, everyone in the small town would soon know it and may choose to stop patronizing that business as a result. Nowadays, your clients don’t just have the ability to share their experiences with your firm with a few co-workers and their best friend. Now, via social media channels, your clients can tell their 367 Facebook friends and 852 Twitter followers whether or not they liked working with you in 5 seconds or less. That makes what your clients think of you more important than it has ever been.
What Does All This Have to Do with Holiday Gifts?
Clients and customers don’t bother to share their experience with a business unless its exceedingly great or exceedingly terrible. Mediocre is not worth sharing. When you do something remarkable for your clients, you give them something to tweet about it. So give your clients a gift that will invoke shock and awe or at least wow and delight them. It will improve your client’s experience with your business, making them happy and cause them to share their experience. Which in turn makes you happy because of all the referrals that will come streaming in.
How Do You Give a Remarkable Gift?
Here are a few strategies I have used for holiday gift giving:
• Use Twitter to find out what they like. Check out your client’s Twitter stream. Chances are she is talking about things she likes, stores she loves or her favorite sports team. With this information you can surprise your client with a gift that you know she’ll love. This tactic works particularly well for giving special gifts to your top clients but you can also take the collective interests of several clients to come up with a good gift for your general roster of clients.
• Give them something inspiring. (No, a 2012 calendar with your law firm’s number on it is not inspiring.) Examples of inspirational gifts might be a framed quote about overcoming for clients of a divorce lawyer or a beautiful frame with instructions to insert their favorite family photo from an estate planning attorney.
• Give them a good book. Your favorite novel or non-fiction book makes a nice, personal gift and gives you something to connect with your clients on. For example, last year I gave all of my entrepreneur clients a bestselling book on marketing. Several of them called me or sent me an email to tell me how much they loved the book and how they had devoured the book and set up a new marketing plan as a result. It was such a hit that I have decided to make it a tradition to give my clients an inspirational business book each year.
• Give them good food. People get really excited about good food. Consider ordering something sweet for your clients from Fairytale Brownies (I’ve sent these as a gift and received rave reviews) or something unique like Sweet Potato Butter (its one of Oprah’s favorite things). Another idea is to put the ingredients of a cookie recipe or spice rub in a glass jar and include the recipe card. Or, if you enjoy baking and have a local practice, make a pie for each of your clients and ask them to stop by your office to pick it up one day. It will make for a festive afternoon.
• Don’t give a holiday gift. Instead of waiting until Christmas to show your gratitude, send a gift to clients on Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving or just any random day. This works especially well if you have a large list of clients because you can send one or two gifts per week throughout the year instead of sending gifts to all of your clients at once.
Maybe these ideas won’t work for your particular clients but the point is the same. Make your annual client gift an opportunity to stand out and give a thoughtful gift that will make them remember your firm better than any fridge magnet ever could.
About the author
Rachel Rodgers helps Gen Y entrepreneurs handle their (legal) business in her practice, Rachel Rodgers Law Office. When she’s not working with young entrepreneurs, she’s writing about online-based law practice and how to stick it to The Man on her blog, Freedom Is The New Rich. Make sure your website doesn’t suck by downloading her free guide, Essential Elements of a Profitable & Kickass Virtual Law Office Website.