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How to select and send Great Business Gifts

The right gift may allow a good business relationship to flourish, while the wrong gift can grind negotiations to a halt. The ideal business gifts will reflect your thoughtfulness, creativity, attention to detail and, perhaps most importantly, your good taste. Below are some Etiquette Tips and FAQ's to help guide you to the proper business gift.

General Etiquette

Things to consider:

"What if I am sending my gift overseas, business to business?" Many countries such as China and Japan have many etiquette rule surrounding the exchange of business gifts. International business etiquette allows you insight into what to buy, how to give a gift, how to receive, whether to open in front of the giver, and what gifts no to buy. Great examples of gifts to avoid are anything alcoholic in Muslim countries, anything with four of anything in Japan, and clocks in China. For more information on appropriate gifts worldwide, visit our "Gifting Across Cultures" guide for more information on appropriate international business gifting.

"How much should I spend?" This depends on your relationship with the client. Keep in mind that many industries and businesses have policies and laws that require a spending limit on business gifting. While you want to be sure that you give an appropriate, classic gift, be sure to check specific guidelines before shopping. However, there are some cases where a more expensive gift is appropriate, such as retirement. Your situation and budget is a very important indicator as to how much you should spend- over or under spending can send the wrong message to clients and customers.

"What types of gifts are appropriate in business?" Once you have established your gift-giving budget, the next challenge is what should I give? This depends on the occasion, holiday or situation. There are many options available. You want to keep it professional, not giving anything too personal, but something with thought is always appreciated. If you know a wine lover, a cheese and wine basket is lovely. Flowers are a festive way to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, babies, and many more. Classic arrangements or gift baskets are always appropriate choices.

"I have an important Visitor/Speaker/Dignitary coming- should I send a gift?" Yes. More traditional gifts are in order for an event such as this. Flowers and gift baskets sent ahead of time to the guest's hotel room, or awaiting the guest when they arrive at your place of business are always a welcome sight. These gifts not only welcome your guests, but are a wonderful way to show that you are willing to go above and beyond on both a personal and professional level.

"Should I use a logo?" Everyone enjoys seeing their company logo on a product, and yes, it is a form of advertising. However, when sending a gift, it is important to keep in mind that not every recipient is going to appreciate your company's logo emblazoned onto it. Depending on the situation, it may not be appropriate to include a logo. Sometimes it is better to save the logo merchandise for less expensive give away items such as key chains, coffee mugs, and calendars.

"What if I want to get a gift for my boss?" While important dates in a person's life deserve recognition, the number one thing to remember when purchasing gifts for your boss is; don't do it alone. It is best to buy with your co-workers, having all workers acknowledged on a card. A gift from only one employee can be misconstrued as a bribe to your boss and make the wrong impression on both the boss, and your co-workers. You may have good intentions, but it is most likely to send the wrong message.

As you probably have intelligently surmised, corporate gifting is not an exact science. Most importantly, keep track of your budget, your audience, and your goals. While you can be creative, don't stress over finding the "perfect" gift. Let do the work for you, and you will reap the rewards!


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