With most business travel and in-person events on hold for the duration of 2020, marketing and sales teams are battling with creative ways to conquer the psychological distance that is building between prospective and existing customers. Many companies have turned to digital communication to fill the gap, overwhelming buyers with digital noise and reducing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Instead of bombarding inboxes or forcing unnecessary video meetings, companies should enlist the psychology of gifting to create and foster emotional connections with their new and prospective customers.
The Psychology of Gifting
In the Psychology of Gift Exchange, Psychologist Karen Pines writes, “Gift giving is a material and social communication exchange that is inherent across human societies and instrumental in maintaining social relationships and expressing feelings.” Gifts create feelings of fondness, generating feelings of being appreciated and valued, thus the recipient feels more connected to the giver.
What Type Of Gifts Create Connections
Choosing the right gift is important if your objective is to establish or reinforce a connection with the recipient. According to Ness Labs, there are three characteristics that are key to choosing a gift that is meaningful – making it practical, personal, and simple will ensure that the recipient will experience a feeling of personal connection with the giver.
The Practical Gift
Researchers have found that giving a practical gift, one that focuses on meeting a need of the recipient in a useful way, such as a portable charging device that has been personalized for the recipient, has higher psychological value than a fancier non-portable version. In fact, according to a study published by The Journal of Consumer Research, gifts that are perceived to be practical by the recipient led them to feel closer to the giver, reducing perceived distance.
Making Your Gift Personal
Nothing draws you closer to someone than when you believe they really get you. Paying attention to the little things can go a long way in giving a highly personalized gift. To ensure your gift is perceived as personal, add small touches, such as beautiful packaging, inscriptions or engraving, and a personalized note or video. The recipient will experience a feeling of delight and psychological closeness to the giver – exactly what you want to build or foster a relationship.
Don’t confuse “simple” with “practical” here; simple gifting means to take the burden off of your recipient by making a selection that you know they will love, rather than a gift card, or other generic selection. You know the saying, “it’s the thought that counts!” Taking the time to choose a personal gift for your recipient rather than putting the ownness on them to choose their own gift strengthens the connection between you, and makes them feel special, creating a memorable experience, and, after all, that’s the whole purpose of gift giving!
Bringing It All Together
To wrap it up, strengthen your connection with your customers and prospects by supplementing your regular phone and video meetings with a personal gift.
Remember: 1. Choose an item or set of items that is useful and has practical value for the recipient.
2. Personalize the experience by paying attention to how the recipient will receive the gift, packaging, personalized messaging, and even engraving adds a special touch that delight your recipient and promote feelings of fondness and connection to you.
3. Finally, keep it simple – pay attention to what your recipient is interested in and select something for them that they will find exciting and useful.
Using these tips when determining the best gift for your customers and prospects will help to reduce the psychological distance they are experiencing and strengthen the relationship you are building.