Holiday gift-giving to referrers is an excellent chance to help foster relationships and build potential business for the year ahead. Even if you or your referrers don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s an opportunity to show them that they’ve made an impact on your practice in the last year and that you value their referrals.
If you’re still deciding on what to send to your referrers, here’s a few things to keep in mind when making the selection.
1. Think of how many people will get it
If your holiday gift is addressed to more than one person or a practice as a whole, consider sending something that can be easily shared. It’s much more pleasant to divvy out a box of chocolates than fight over who gets to take a keychain or gift card home.
A gift addressed to more than one person has a little more leeway and could be shareable or singular. If you are unsure, opt for something shareable: one person can comfortably enjoy several treats, but it’s difficult for several people to share one mug.
2. Be mindful of perishables
Flowers may look lovely in the reception, but they only last a few weeks and may be dead by the time the practice re-opens after the holidays. If you plan to send them, ensure they’ll arrive at least a few weeks before closure so the recipients can enjoy them.
3. Remember your referrer’s requirements and preferences.
Unless you’re sure of your referrer’s dietary requirements and preferences, avoid sending wine or a meat tray as religious differences can make them taboo to send to some practices or locations. If you plan to send these, consider checking ahead to ensure they will be well-received.
4. Go easy on the branding
Branding is good. After all, a large part of the reason we give gifts to our referrers is so they remember us for the next year. But no one likes to get a shameless brand-plug as a gift: we’ve all been handed branded merchandise at conferences which ended up in the bin as soon as we got home. It’s a delicate balance, but not one that’s out of reach.
An easy way achieve brand balance is to include your branding in a card without adding it to any other items you send. It will be present enough to remind your recipient who sent it, but won’t be overpowering.
5. Don’t go too big
It can be tempting to go all-out to deliver a gift that makes an impact, but receiving something exceptionally large can be awkward. How would you feel if someone you spoke to a few times a year sent you something very fancy? It may feel very awkward, or even an attempt at bribery. Consider the size of the practice and its impact on your own when selecting exactly what to send.
6. Choose thoughtfulness over expense
A unique gift not only shows the recipient that they’ve made an impression on you: it also allows you to make a long-lasting impression on them. While a gift card is very practical, it doesn’t show much thought or individualisation. Particularly if you know the recipients well, think about what will stand out to them: a small but particularly meaningful gift or a well-written letter may leave a better impact than a fancy gift hamper.
7. Address it to the right person/people
The referring doctor is always worth a mention by name. However, if you interact more with the practice manager or nurse, be sure to include them by name also. Referrer gift-giving is about building relationships with the right people, which may not always be the referring practitioner alone.
8. Hand write in the card
It only takes a few minutes and it’s infinitely more personal than a paper cut-out.
It doesn’t matter if you send the same message to multiple addressees – your recipients probably won’t see each other’s to compare.
And it doesn’t even necessarily need to be your own handwriting. If you’re too busy (or just have bad handwriting), consider asking a practice nurse or receptionist to lend a hand. It’s the personalization that matters most, not the exact content or person who writes it.
9. Call ahead and ask
Few things are worse than a perishable gift arriving at the practice and spoiling because no one was there to receive it. Or worse: it arrives, but the practice has a policy against accepting gifts. To prevent that from happening, it’s always best to call or email first.
It doesn’t need to be a formal conversation: a simple ‘hey, I’m sending out some Christmas gifts and I’d like to send one to you. Will you be able to receive it on [date]?’ will suffice. Remember to check the address and ensure that the practice will be open on the expected arrival date to receive it.
10. Always add a return address
Sometimes your gift just won’t make it to the destination, no matter how hard you try. Adding a return address means that at the very least your thoughtful gift can be returned to you. This gives you the opportunity to attempt a resend or keep the gift for a later date.
Specifically, what should I get for my referrers?
The possibilities are almost endless and vary a lot depending on yourself and the recipients. In our own experience, here are some things that tend to bode well:
- Hampers. They’re easy to share between multiple people and very customisable in terms of size. You can make them yourself or outsource them to a professional group (we can even put them together for you – just ask us!).
- Chocolates. Whether one box or several, they’re easy to share with multiple people or enjoy alone. If they’re being delivered, just be mindful of perishability – they can melt quite easily, especially in our Australian Christmas summers.
- Stationery. Branded or otherwise, a nice pen is far less likely to be thrown away than a business card. Consider developing special Christmas or holiday stationery for the occasion. If you know your referrer particularly well, consider stationery personalized to the recipient.
- A novelty survival kit. Similar to a hamper but far more personalized, these can lend a whimsical touch to referrer gift-giving that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.
Above all, enjoy yourself!
Regardless of what you’re celebrating, have a happy festive season! The Vividus team will be out of the office from Monday 27 December to Friday 7 January. Drop us a line to kickstart your business activities in 2022.
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