Q:
Customer gifts are always a problem for us. I don't know what to give and how much to spend. Do you have any recommendations for a small general contractor? We do interior tenant improvements and remodels for small real estate investors and developers. Our jobs range from $25,000 to $100,000.

Justin Merrill, Owner, M & M Construction & Interiors

A:
It's not about the gift. It's about building a relationship with your loyal customers. I see contractors waste tons of money on inexpensive customer gifts like notepads, tee-shirts, baseball hats or cheap bottles of wine. These type of gifts don't really say "thank you" for allowing us to build our business and make a profit off your projects. The key to building an interior construction company is to create trust with a few customers that give you all their work. This takes time and energy. Get to know your customers, their likes, dislikes and special interests.


 

Rather than getting fifty customers each the same $20 gift, spend $100 each on your top ten best customers. Get ten different gifts based on what is the perfect gift for each of them. Some ideas include gift certificates to their favorite restaurant. If they are into fine wine, give them two bottles of $50 highly-rated wines. If you don't know wines, go to a wine shop and ask for help. If your customer is a golfer, take them golfing to the highest rated course in your area. Go to a golf website to look for the 4-star rated courses and above. If you play golf, go with them. If you don't, give them a gift certificate to the course. The same goes for racing fans. Take them to a race, and enjoy the day with your customer. The key is to personalize your gift for each individual customer to make the biggest impression you can. You don't give the same gifts to each of your family members. Don't do that with your customers either.

Construction Business Owner, January 2010 Issue