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A-Ha Moments

Small Packages Make Big Impressions

Written by: Bill Sherman on Tuesday, 4 March 2008, 3:00 AM

Almost everyone loves an unexpected gift. It awakens the gleeful five-year old inside of us. When you work with people across the country or the world, you can’t take someone out to lunch on their birthday.

Over the years, I’ve found that the mail offers a great way to build virtual professional relationships. You have to adapt the gifting to the person, but here are some examples that really stand out.

  • A friend/colleague in New York mentioned on a phone call that he’d gotten an Xbox 360 for his son in December. So, for his birthday, I sent him a game which I knew matched his personality and interest. He called me to tell me how he was now sneaking his own game time around his son’s playing time.
  • A friend in Chicago needed help with a proposal. So, I dove in and helped her. The following week, I received an unexpected package. Inside were a set of customized spatulas that were perfectly suited to my passion for baking.
  • A client in Ohio leads her company’s HR presence for a 8,000 person facility. We had a phone conversation about the challenges of making the company’s brand real to the employees, so I went online and sent her a copy of Libby Sartain’s Brand from the Inside. Amazon.com serves as a great way to deliver books, and I send a couple each month to friends/clients on average.
  • At the end of each year, I bake many traditional German hoiday goods, such as springerle, lebkuchen, and stollen. While I bake for family and friends, I also bake for clients and colleagues. This past year, I baked with 50 lbs of flour, 20 lbs of sugar, 2 gallons of milk, 4 lbs of butter, etc. Clients know that my December revolves around baking, and so they’re eagerly asking me how the baking is coming along.

Birthdays, holidays, life-events, and “just-because” surprises all offer opportunities to send a package that will produce surprise and delight within a colleague or a client. The gift, as always, should be specific to the person you are gifting–or it should reflect a very personal side of you. The more time and thought you put into the gift, the more you’ll make an impression!

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