The holiday season is almost here and the inevitable debate over gifts will begin. People are wondering who they should send gifts to and whether it’s appropriate to send gifts to certain people. Even if you aren’t that interested in Christmas yourself, it’s important to make the right impression. If your competitors are sending gifts to their clients, for example, you may want to think about getting in on this.
The problem a lot of freelancers agonise over is whether they’re going to seem needy or pushy if they send gifts to their clients. After all, they may have only seen their clients in person a few times.
In this article, we’re going to provide some thoughts on what you should and shouldn’t do.
Look at the Big Picture
Our first thought is how far you should cast your net. Your editor is an obvious target, but ideally you need to look further afield than that. Look at some of your contacts who have done you a favour this year. Consider sending them some sort of thank you for the holidays.
It’s not about feeling compelled to do it. It’s about keeping you fresh in their minds so they may do you some more favours later on. A gift should be seen as a renewing of the relationship. And this can lead to big things in the future.
Forming a Personal Connection
Your goal is to form that personal connection. You want to become more than a face in the crowd. You want to become more than someone they’ve met through an email. Don’t send an email as a form of gift. It’s a boring template and the chances are everyone is doing this. If you have the time, send a small token of appreciation through snail mail.
Even if you just send a handwritten letter, it demonstrates your commitment and how much you appreciate them. Of course, you don’t have to do this with everyone. Concentrate on those you’ve worked closely with.
Freelancers often worry about gifts being perceived as an attempt to market themselves. Whilst you don’t want to send someone a price plan for Christmas, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with some subtle marketing. The fact of the matter is everything you send someone you’ve worked with is a type of marketing. You’re reminding them of your existence.
Even if it’s just a brief note to thank them for what they’ve done this year, it’s a type of marketing. Use it well. This tactic is especially effective if you haven’t worked with someone for a few months.
Showing Your Personal Side
The problem most freelancers have is they’re nothing more than an email account that occasionally sends work over to people. They don’t figure as anything more than a name without a face. December can help you change this by sending gifts, but you really need to work on forming these personal relationships the whole year round.
It doesn’t take much to take an interest in the personal lives of those you work with. For example, let’s say your editor has had a new child and they’re busy celebrating. A quick message to congratulate them is your chance to make a good impression.
You may well run into someone who doesn’t appreciate getting this close to someone. These people are few and far between, but all it means is you just never have to do it again. Don’t get offended because someone takes your gesture of goodwill the wrong way. Just move along and hope you end up working with someone who has a bigger heart.
Image source: Forbes