I am not a skinflint, but do I have to give expensive gifts to clients?

Dear Aunty B,

My new sales director, who is not adverse to giving the old credit card a good work out, is insisting on giving all our loyal clients gifts and tickets to events.

It is not as if I am a skinflint, but does it really pay off? And now he wants to implement some sort of loyalty program.

I am all in favour of going the extra mile, providing great service 24/7 and the usual Christmas fare. But is this going too far?

F. Lawrence,



Hi F from ACT.

You’re not fooling anyone. This is not about whether it pays off but about you missing out. And why should your clients get gifts when they give you such a hard time all year? Why can’t someone give YOU something FOR A CHANGE?


Look here, you poor sod. We live in the Age of Graft. Of course your sales director is right. The best entrepreneurs go out of their way to built loyalty through gifts. But don’t just stop there. Think everything from personal phone calls to loyalty programs.

Here are 10ideas that won’t kill you – or your bank balance.


  1. Write personalised notes on hand-made paper.
  2. Send gold class movie tickets and massage vouchers.
  3. Invite clients to awards or industry functions.
  4. Start an alumni program for past clients.
  5. Hold roundtable lunches and ask experts along.
  6. Always hold Christmas or company-birthday drinks.
  7. Discount fees if a client refers you to another client.
  8. Send small gifts such as iPods at the completion of projects.
  9. Introduce clients to other more important clients.
  10. Send lots of personalised booze.


And skinflint, you can always sign clients up for a subscription to SmartCompany’s great daily email update (It’s free.)


What are you waiting for? Email your questions, problems and issues to [email protected] right now!



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