Want to give EXTRA value to your customers in tough economic times?  Give great business gifts (free or low cost) now!  With cost cutting in most industries and everyone trying to do more with less, its refreshing to know that there are still easy and inexpensive ways to give value today.  And giving value today allows you to receive sales tomorrow.

Giving value to customers does not necessarily mean discounting your price, buying large gifts, or giving more of your product or service at no charge.  In the long run, giving value to the PERSON is more important than all of those things.

Three Extra Value gifts you can give:

Information.  With time pressure listed as one of the biggest stressors and constraints to further success, many people struggle with not enough time to keep up with the “latest”.  It could be the “latest” topic or information in:

  1. their industry trends
  2. what their competitors are doing
  3. something that is unique and specific to them (hobbies, interests)
  4. resources

Find useful information and send it them directly.  Books or links to articles, podcasts or forums that are helpful to them all work.  I sent a group of financial advisers I had worked with an ezine link for an expert on getting referrals in their industry.  Months later one of them wrote to me that they are still finding value in that expertise and getting more referrals for it.  They attributed the success to me, though all I did was make the “link” for them!

You can send the information electronically or surprise them and send them a hard copy of an article in the mail!

A caution on this tip is to make sure you verify the quailty of the information first to check the relevancy.  You don’t want to send them information that doesn’t fit and waste their time.

Tools to help them do something better, quicker or easier. A client that liked photography commented on the price of PhotoShop.  I found an article about Paintnet – a free download that does many of the same things as PhotoShop – and sent it to him.  He was so happy when I sent him a note with the link!

There are so many legal free-ware items available that can help people with nearly everything.  Do they like to travel?  Do they need to do something more efficient at work?

Think about specific customers and what you know about them, do some research and send them the tool.  Whether it be an electronic link or a “concrete” tool. I had a client trainer that loved my scented markers but her company wouldn’t let her purchase them.  She was thrilled when I sent her a box of scented markers!

Time.  Don’t underestimate the value of your time and attention.  Getting time from customers might be tough, unless they find that time with you is valuable to them!

Most people value someone taking an interest in them, asking some great open ended questions that aren’t directly tied to what you sell and then having the opportunity to talk.  The questions might be about the current status of their company, the security of their job, the effect of the economy on people they know.  If you are trusted, you may find you will hear about challenges, fears and “new” news because they want to talk to SOMEone about it.

Demonstrate restraint and don’t jump into “selling” them something right then and really listen. The perceived value of your relationship will increase.

Customers want value – even when they do not have budgets to support it.  They also want sales people to pay attention to THEM – not just when there is a sale at stake.  The type of attention they want is going to be very different depending on the person.  The closer you match what you give to what is important to them (because it still is about What’s in it for THEM?) the more VALUable the gift.