Even Business Gifts Should Be Emotional

April 24, 20150 Comments

OLIVE OIL3First, this is not a commercial for the swag you see above. But I have to tell you the brand name because it’s relevant to the story. Secondly, this is not a story about food. It’s about relevance on a couple of levels. Ok, disclaimers turned in. Let’s move on to the tale.

As some of you know, I speak to a lot of different companies, businesses and associations; which means I see a lot of different hotels and meet even more meeting planners. Occasionally, when I check in there is a welcome gift waiting for me. Sometimes, the “swag” as Hollywood calls it, is not especially useful. A gift basket might be filled with random promotional items an assistant borrowed from the office. I am talking about a ball cap, a retractable pen, a post-it note pad, or a pack of 3-month old cookies. Each item has been previously emblazoned with the business’ logo. These “gifts” are not very special or emotional to me because it is obvious they were originally purchased as handouts for the UPS driver and/or copy machine repair guy. (The awkward gifts are the ones that are too big to pack in my carry on – or metal; which never pass inspection at airport security. Still, it’s supposed to be the thought that counts, right?

However, once in a while I walk into a hotel room and see a gift basket that strikes me as wildly unique and thoughtful. Like today. The gift basket pictured above certainly qualifies. The basket contained a nice bottle of cabernet, a fresh loaf of focaccia bread, and four small bottles of different flavored olive oils. I’ve never received such a thing; not even from my family…so this is special. What made it emotional was that the meeting planner sifted information he had gleaned from me whenwe were talking on the phone four weeks ago. At the end of the call, he asked, “Any plans for the weekend?” I offhandedly mentioned that I was looking forward to being with my family at our favorite restaurant, have a nice glass of red, and some of their famous olive bread.

Four weeks later, everything I’d mentioned was in my room…in Charlotte, North Carolina. The gifts came from The Olive Tap (see, there’s the brand name). The Olive Tap is a local manufacturer of homemade olive bread and Olive Oils. Brilliant and delicious! What did my gift basket cost the client? I don’t know but it was probably about the same as a random basket of promotional hats and pens.

The reason I say this story is relevant on a couple of levels is this:

(1) During a phone call, my host listened to what made me happy. Then, he delivered the unexpected.

(2) The gift came from a local vendor so now I have an emotional connection to an olive oil purveyor in Charlotte, NC.

Every moment of human interaction has the opportunity to become special and emotional. And, when it comes to other people, don’t just do what is convenient for cheaper for you. Think about making an extraordinary impression.

Your turn.
Leave a comment about something special or emotional that somebody gave you. A gift? We might inspire others to follow in kind.

Ross Shafer is a popular keynote speaker and author of Are You Relevant? Absolutely Necessary, Nobody Moved Your Cheese, The Customer Shouts Back, and Grab More Market Share.

To contact Ross: Call (910) 256-3495 or email Helen@RossShafer.com

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