December is the time of year when companies around the globe take stock. They take time to measure results for the past 12 months, look at trends in their market and forecast corporate performance for the coming year.
Always, but particularly during turbulent market cycles, it's important to factor the client into the mix. Taking time to obtain feedback from clients and express appreciation, especially to top-tier clients, will pay off in huge dividends.
A smart strategy is to set aside a percentage of revenue for client appreciation. If this was not done last year and there is money left in the budget, allocate a portion of it to client appreciation.
Client appreciation can start with:
- A letter of thanks
- Discount coupon for future services (It should have an expiry date in the first quarter to boost revenue.)
- Gift bags
For events, ideally it is an activity that brings top-tier clients, executives and key members of the sales team together in a relaxed setting. These may include:
- Joint charity events to give back to the community
- Gourmet lunch
- Afternoon Tea
- Pub night with billiards and dart competitions
Client appreciation events can include a brief update re: new services and products. (It can take the form of a presentation, mailing or take-away from a corporate event, however, brief is the operative word. Presentations should be 10 minutes tops, 5 minutes even better.)
The earlier in the year a company schedules a client appreciation event the more impact they will have.
A supplier invited me to a wine tasting. It was unexpected, out of the box, and a great evening of fun. Best of all it was an affordable local event to say thank you.
So make the arrangements now for an event in mid to late January. Mail the invitations just before you leave for the holidays. Give your clients a great surprise when they return from the holiday break.
For more compelling reasons to book your client appreciation and other corporate events now, consult The Perks of Booking Before the Year's End.
Photo Credits: Rachel from Cupcakes Take the Cake