Regardless of what holidays or religions your clients and vendors observe, the holiday season is a great time to thank them for their business and their contributions to your success. Here are a few thoughtful and affordable ways to remember your clients this year:

1) Send personalized holiday cards during the holiday season.  I would sign each card personally and include a note thanking the client or vendor for their business.

2) Make a donation on their behalf. This year because so many charities are struggling, I will be making a toy or food donation on behalf of some of my clients. I know my clients will appreciate the gesture, and with so many people in need, this is a way for me to stretch my donation dollars too. To make the donation more personal, contact the client by phone or e-mail and ask for the name of their favorite nonprofit organization and make a donation to that charity in the client’s name. Follow-up with a card noting the donation.

3) Send a gift of appreciation. Maybe a holiday wreath, nice pen & pencil set, a box of chocolates, a gift basket from Harry & David, or something else that I know that client would enjoy. For those who are far away, I ship the gifts. If they are local, however, I deliver the gift personally.

4) Buy a gift card. If you know a particular client loves Starbucks or a Ruth’s Chris, buy a gift card in whatever amount you deem suitable. This way your client will think of you the next few times he or she purchases their favorite latte or enjoys a nice dinner out.

5) Offer free products or services as a thank you. If you aren’t in a position this year to purchase gifts for your clients, consider offering them free products or services. Send them a gift certificate or coupon noting the freebie (Good for one free hour of consulting to be used next year) along with a card thanking them for doing business with you.

6) Treat your client to lunch or dinner for a year-end wrap-up meeting, complimentary consultation or just to say thanks. If you space these out throughout the holiday season, this can be an affordable way to say thank you while also creating the opportunity to generate more business.

However you choose to remember your clients this holiday season, make sure the focus is on the client, not on you. Let them know you appreciate their business and hope to continue the relationship in 2011.

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