Let’s get this straight… anything with your logo is NOT a gift. THAT, my friends, is a promotional giveaway.

A business development gift is something that you hope the recipient will value, appreciate and remember you fondly. So how do you come up with that item? You listen! You listen for clues that will lead to just the right gift. I have a client that was attending a trade conference. He was in an enviable position… one of 5 or 10 lawyers at a conference with over 4,000 attendees. Not bad odds, right? As part of our strategy he was to identify 3 or 4 people that could be good sources of business, either direct or referral. Then get to know them and LISTEN. Listen for clues for gifts he would be sending as part of his follow-up strategy.

One prospect was actually a couple. It turns out that the wife has a sizable farm in Costa Rica and during the conversation they talked about her desire to grow exotic fruits and vegetables. So my client is sending her seeds to grow exotic Mamey fruit. The cost: under $5.00. The impact: PRICELESS!

Another relationship he was working on was someone that he had a few conversations with prior to the conference and had scheduled time to share a drink with. At cocktails that evening they shared great conversation and their love for Bourbon. We decided that a very special bottle of Bourbon would be appropriate for a few reasons. A pricey gift, but the impact… judge for yourself. Here’s the thank you he received.

I got your care package and all I can say is that is one of the nicer gestures I have received in a long while, and I sincerely appreciate the thought.

As for the contents—I am a big bourbon fan, and I think “wow” sums it up.  Good advice on cutting it, and I’m surprised (but glad) that the box didn’t spontaneously combust on its way up here–that is some potent sauce.”

I guarantee you that every time this guy takes a sip from this bottle of Bourbon he will remember my client fondly.

Now… a bag of seeds or an aged bottle of Bourbon would not have the same impact for someone else. I once did a event with the Chicago White Sox owner Bill Veeck. The owner of the restaurant that hosted the event was so humbled and excited to host Bill Veeck that he wanted to give him an impressive gift… a rare $500 bottle of wine. As I left the event with Bill Veeck he handed me the bottle and said… “You enjoy this, I don’t drink.” The restaurant owner didn’t do his homework. There was never a conversation to build intimacy. A hand written, heart felt note sent the next day would have been much more impressive and memorable.

Set yourself apart and demonstrate that you LISTEN and care… that in its self is a valuable gift!