Ways to Strengthen Your External Business Relationships and Reputation

In fact, data shows that 42% of corporations say they give gifts for relationship management purposes.

Katy Baxter, Corporate Affairs Director at food hamper business: Baxters of Scotland, says: “Building and strengthening relationships in business doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be easy to get lost in the business identity, but at the end of the day, there’s someone on the other end helping build this relationship, too. Keeping good connection and communication between businesses can be achieved through a simple email or small gift to show your appreciation.”

Corporate gifting

Reasons for gifting

Gift giving is a powerful tool for fostering connections and nurturing relationships. In fact, it has been used for centuries to establish stronger bonds in many different aspects of our lives. One area not untouched by this is corporate life.

Whether you’re onboarding a client or simply thanking them for a year of partnership, gifting is a great way to build those external relationships. In fact, over half (52%) of businesses claim to do work with another company after receiving a corporate gift. This isn’t about forcing their hand but instead catching their attention and proving your passion and understanding for their business through tailored gifts.

Katy says: “It is important to remember the reasons behind your gifting. It isn’t to force business but to encourage and strengthen your relationships. Corporate relationships can be beneficial for more than just work contracts; they can also be a great way of improving networking and partnerships with like-minded businesses.”

What to gift

Katy continues: “Finding the right gift means truly understanding who you’re working, or want to work, with. Personalisation can go a long way when strengthening relationships and representing your company.

One thing that can go down well for both clients and employees is food hampers. Depending on your chosen hamper, you can personalise them to make them specific for your receiver and add that extra special touch to highlight your relationship.

In fact, 76% of employees said they prefer gifts they can share with their family or teams, which makes hampers a perfect solution. This works across businesses, too. Being able to share the gift means you are treating a whole team of people rather than the one connection point you have. This also helps you strengthen your connection with the business, even if the person you’re in communication with leaves.

Be responsible

When building your business relationships, it’s important to avoid forcing gifts on a business. This is an approach that should be considered carefully and used for building those close relationships, rather than enforcing anything. There are plenty of legal rules around corporate gift giving, including avoiding bribery.

It is best to consult with your legal team before giving or receiving gifts to ensure it complies with your business policies. It is also important to note that business gifts cannot be deducted from business expenditures as they’re seen in the same way as entertainment experiences. Your business cannot claim fewer taxes by discounting your business gifts on your books. It is best to run these expenses past your in-house finance team first. Invest in shared experiences.

Another excellent corporate gifting idea could be an experience day to help strengthen your bond and truly get to know the people you’re working with – after all, there’s no better way to get to know someone than an escape room or a day at the golf course.

Katy says: “You’ll want to know the people behind the company. So, spending time outside of formal meetings can be a great way to strengthen your professional relationships.”

In fact, these shared experiences open up communication and make a great speaking point besides the work itself. While the work is important, knowing your partners on a human level is essential within the corporate working world. 

Open communication

Another way to build the best, and right, relationships is by having open communication from the beginning. A good partnership is built on communication, so ensure you’re providing this from the start, whether this is the usual meetings, sending updates regularly, or even letting the other business have their preferred ways of contacting you.

Not every business will have the same communication style or timeline as you, so if you’re looking to impress or build on those relationships, ensuring you’re investing in communication that works for both you and the other company is crucial.

Starting, strengthening, and maintaining good business relationships is all about connection. You need to see the people behind the brand identity and make a genuine connection. This can be from gift giving, a popular form of relationship management, sharing time together, or simply encouraging good communication and open channels for a better rapport.

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