It's that time of year again! Cue the endless sales, shopping, and stress. While countless gift guides suggest the right thing for mom, husband, and neighbor, it's hard to find the perfect (yet appropriate) gift for a boss, client or co-worker. We're here to help, with 5 thoughtful and professional gift ideas, and 3 things you shouldn't give at work.
What to Give
Give: Desk Decor
Everyone needs office supplies, but they're a little boring for a gift. Why not offer a nice place to house them? Attractive accessories or small, unimposing decorations for the office, like a 3D logo from Shapeways, are a thoughtful adornment to the space.
Give: Tasty Treats
While foodie gift baskets can be impersonal, they're great because we all love food and they're definitely work appropriate. For a more thoughtful alternative, try to give a gift of food you know the recipient will like. Do they love to grill on the weekends? Perhaps a unique barbecue sauce would work. If you don't know their particular tastes, go local. A box of chocolates or cheeses from the shop downstairs is a lot more meaningful than a mass-produced gift basket.
Give: Tools they can Actually Use
If you want to make people really happy, give them tools that actually help at work. Products like the Tout Holiday Gift Card, which will help them get through their email faster and smarter, are great because they make life easier. And life's always better when it's a little easier. If you're on a budget, you can usually get a great deal on helpful products like Tout during the holidays.
Give: The Perfect Night Off
People need breaks in order to work well. A gift certificate to a great restaurant or a fun event can really show your thanks for an employee's hard work throughout the year. Just make sure you're not giving tickets to an event on short notice - you don't want to cause more stress by forcing someone to rearrange their schedule.
Give: One for the Road
Have a road warrior on your team? They can always use helpful tools to make travel faster. Try a gift like a solar phone charger - they'll stop worrying about being tied to a cord, and they'll appreciate the fact that your gift is one they can use every day.
What Not to Give
Don't Give: Gifts that Violate Company Guidelines
Most companies have rules that dictate gifting with clients, and many businesses also have rules about giving gifts in the office. If there's anything in your employee handbook that states guidelines for the holidays, make sure you follow them.
Don't Give: Gag Gifts
Just because you think someone will understand your humor doesn't mean they will. On top of that, even if the two of you understand the joke, a gag gift could easily be misconstrued by someone else in the office. The point of a gag gift is that it's funny, but you can't use it, so it's not very special anyway.
Don't Give: Anything Too Personal
Even if you feel close with people from work, it's best to err on the side of caution. Clothing, bath or body products, jewelry (anything very expensive, for that matter) or even flowers could all cross the line for a gift that's a bit too much. Stick to the gifts above, and you'll avoid any office awkwardness. Have you ever received a great (or terrible) professional gift? Share them in the comments below.
Anyone who has looked for a job understands the importance of representing yourself in a solid, professional manner. From the resume, to the cover letter, to the interview, consistency of personality and presentation make a huge difference in whether or not you get the job.
Enter Liam Horan
Liam has created a company, Sli Nua Careers, that teaches job applicants how to truly sell themselves to a potential employer. Through their online-based CV writing and interview coaching, they have helped job applicants secure employment all over the world. By teaching applicants how to indentify their strengths, Liam helps people not only market themselves better, but he also helps them to understand where their individual talents can be best applied in a company.
The Business Process
Because much of Sli Nua Careers’ business is focused on providing individual attention to clients, most interactions are facilitated by email. All the little things that go into a consultation, like sending the first resume, sending an updated version, scheduling an appointment, sending links to videos and other relevant content, are all done over email.
In order to remain relevant, Sli Nua Careers has to practice what they preach - they needed to have consistent, professional messaging, at each and every point of contact. Otherwise, how could they promote the same thing to their clients. That’s why Liam Horan decided to use Tout for his Sli Nua Careers team.
Tout has really helped to create a professional look to everything we do.
Scaling Customer Interaction
One of the best ways to help customers in a one-to-one consulting setting is to increase the number of times you’re in contact with them. For Sli Nua Careers, using Tout was the difference between only sending the most necessary emails and having the time and the tools to send regular, helpful updates, like a new job posting.
Tout has made a huge improvement - it allows us to interact with more customers and potential customers on a daily basis.
So here are my three top tips to rock your sales emails:
Mastering the art of the high-touch B2B sale is extremely rare, especially for an entrepreneur, who not only has to make the sales, but also has to find time to manage the rest of the business. If you’re looking for an example of someone who’s mastered this, meet Ginger Dhaliwal, the force behind Tiny Ginger, a New York-based luxury children’s clothing agency. After travelling extensively all over the world, Ginger developed a keen eye for great fashion, and as a mother, she knows good children’s clothing. Ginger has selected and sold only the best brands since she started Tiny Ginger, and her company has now grown to represent over twenty of the most highly sought-after brands in the industry.
Selling is hard work - and it’s tedious to boot
Like many small, high volume distributors, much of the luxury clothing sales process takes place over email. There are a lot of interactions that have to occur before an order is placed, which results in a repetitive back-and-forth in the inbox. Ginger realized the importance of a professional, well-crafted email, one that answered every question her potential customers had.
Ginger used a traditional email client to answer inquiries about the brands she represented. She had a system - write the email, search for the attachment, add the link, double check the email to make sure all the information was right, then send it off! Sure it took a while, but answering emails in a timely fashion is an absolute must in a high-touch sales process. People want to see what you have to say, consume it, think about it, and they’ll get back to you. Probably with more questions.
There’s really no getting around this type of email activity in sales. Ginger couldn’t send blast emails, because each of her customers wanted different information. Anything less than a pointed, specific, and personalized email would prevent Ginger from selling much of anything.
Ginger knew she had to answer emails, but she thought she could do it better.
When Ginger found out about Toutapp, she realized this could be just the trick to speed up her sales process. Ginger took some time to identify which emails she was sending over and over. Then she took those emails, edited and perfected them, and saved them as Toutapp templates. To get to her Toutapp emails faster, she even categorized her templates based on how her customers asked for information.
It has helped us organize our information in single place so we are not searching for information. We work more efficiently and it takes seconds to reply to our customers.
For Ginger, the ability to see each open and click is extremely important. Plus, Toutapp allows her to see which specific links her customers clicked, so she’s more informed and prepared for each future interaction.
We love the ability to track the click through information by customer.
Knowledge is especially critical for Tiny Ginger’s sales model, so this type of insight into the actions taken on an email is invaluable. Now Ginger has the tools she need to improve her sales process, grow her business faster, and spend more time being inspired traveling and spending time with her family!
If you think you’re spending too much time interacting on email, you should give Toutapp a shot.