Gift Baskets Are the Perfect Present For All Occasions

We are always looking for gifts and presents and it can sometimes become difficult to decide what to give on certain occasions. But there is one gift idea that has become quite popular in recent times and this gift idea is to present gift baskets and there is a wide range to choose from.

Gift Baskets are great for a variety of holidays and occasions like new baby birthday, thank you, house warming, sympathy, Mothers and Fathers day. Baskets are designed using delicious gourmet foods and a variety of keepsakes. These baskets are not only fashionable but they are also eco-friendly, as most baskets are made from re-cycled material. These are a perfect way to express thoughts of kindness, friendship and love, to name but a few. These gifts are remembered and treasured because we put the thought and care required into each basket. This a great way to make sure your customers, associates, friends and family know they are appreciated.

Gift baskets include centerpieces, strawberry gift baskets, chocolate gift baskets, plants, fruit gift baskets, flower arrangements from florists, bath product/spa gift baskets , food gift baskets, candy gift baskets, cookie gift baskets, candle gift baskets, wine gift baskets, coffee & aromatherapy gift baskets. These can be either be highly personalized or generic enough that anyone would enjoy receiving them. They are the perfect choice for any number of holidays and other special events throughout the year.

Gourmet gift baskets are dedicated to providing every customer with the perfect basket for every occasion and at just the right price too. Gourmet fruit baskets are easily shared with clients, friends and family. Gourmet gift baskets sport an array of high quality ingredients and generous portions, many of which were created to feed the entire family. Gourmet coffee gift baskets are truly a gift that shows you care.

Corporate gift baskets are apt to let your business clients know that you are grateful for their business or to convey a message to your employees that their hard work is valued. Corporate gift baskets are also a simple, economical way to convey greetings, be it for the holidays or for other corporate occasions.

Unique gift baskets are crafted to reflect your imagination, personal style and give your family, friends and clients something they’ll be talking about long after they receive your gift. Unique gift baskets for every occasion from birthdays to wedding anniversaries to holidays are created just for you.

Each gift basket can be decorated for the occasion you choose or you can use many popular “create your own basket” features that allow you to create that “perfect” gift. For example you can choose from a variety of favorites to help your student celebrate a festive occasion or to simply bring your student a smile when he or she may be homesick. Whether it be a get well gift for a friend, a sympathy gift for a colleague, a thank you gift for a job well done, or a our corporate gift for a client, gift baskets are an all occasion hit that will never disappoint.

You can choose from gourmet foods and beverages, specialty handmade chocolates, indulging bath and spa essentials, candles and fragrances, and much more. For food gift baskets most suppliers use only gourmet gift foods that are high quality and brand name products.

If you have an employee of the month program or other incentive program for workers, send a thank you basket to show your appreciation. Gift baskets help you to create expressions of love, thanks, or appreciation to lovers, friends, family, and co-workers with many personalized gift baskets which are ideal for any occasion, such as birthdays, retirement and religious holidays. And what better way to say “thanks” than with one of the many kinds of unique, personalized expressions of appreciation and gratitude.

You can also give them to welcome your new neighbor, Christmas holidays or to say thank you to someone special. A thank you gift basket can be sent to acknowledge the arrival of a new baby into the world, as a housewarming gift for the family moving into a new home or any number of other special occasions.

Gift Baskets are a unique & original way to express your feelings. Gift baskets are very different than they used to be. These are a thoughtful present for any occasion. Holiday gift baskets are especially appropriate when a group (such as office mates) want to give someone a collective gift. The possibilities for gift baskets are endless, and that’s only half the fun.

Presentation Warriors: Sales and Marketing Executives Versus 12-Year-Olds

Who delivers a better presentation and why?

Recently I listened to a group of senior sales and marketing executives speak at a networking meeting. I also served as a judge at a speech contest for 12-year-olds. These two unrelated events prompted me to compare the presentation skills of each group.

1. Guess who was more engaging, attention grabbing and memorable?

2. Guess who was boring, uninspiring and easily forgettable?

The answer to question one is – the 12-year-olds. They were good.

The answer to question two is – the sales & marketing executives. They needed improvement.

Why did 12-year-olds deliver better presentations than senior sales and marketing executives?

Competition The 12-year olds were competing in a speech contest. Many of their parents were there. Money and prestige were on the line, so they were well rehearsed.

Focus Each presenter had a focused message. Their presentation was designed to deliver that message. Some were deep and serious while others were light and whimsical. In all cases the message was clear and easy to summarize.

Relate The presenters spoke to the interests of the audience. The topics ranged from “the influence of the media”, “tourism in third world countries”, “the family van”, “peculiarities of the English language”, and “homework”. Yet each speaker related the topic to the listener.

Stories Each speaker told colorful stories. That sparked images in my mind. Many said things that were funny and made me laugh. Some statements challenged my opinion. I was impressed by the carefully selected words and phrasing. All were simple and understandable.

Passion Each speaker conveyed passion for their message. Each radiated that they were happy to be speaking to us.

Bold These speakers were bold. They stood before the audience, looked people in the eye, delivered their statements and performed.

What did the Sales & Marketing Executives (SME) do poorly?

Winging it The SME seemed to be winging it – even though they were competing for attention, memorability and jobs. These SME were between jobs but seemed reluctant to compete and rehearse. Yet, clearly a lot of money was on the line. If their family had attended, would they have prepared better?

Vague There was no focus or purpose evident. It almost seemed that they first were reciting their resume and then what they had for breakfast. Okay, I’m exaggerating the breakfast part – but it seemed as boring as porridge.

Pain Each speaker seemed to be caught in their own self-centered world. Most didn’t relate to me or how they might fix my pain or that of my contacts. How could I help them if I didn’t know what they were offering? Stating “who you worked for” tells me little. They needed to speak of pain and solutions.

Blah Facts, history and blah, blah, blah. Some related recent experiences but none that were worth remembering. Many used filler, self-sabotaging and jargon words. I was bored, confused and unimpressed.

Passion? I didn’t feel it. The emotion that I felt was remorse. “Why am I here?”

Timid You might think that Sales & Marketing Executives would be anything but humble. You might think that Sales & Marketing Executives would grasp the difference between benefits and features. I thought so too.

All of the SME sat while speaking, crunched in their chairs some with an arm draped over the back of the chair. It was as if this was a family picnic instead of a possible career defining meeting. I found it curious that none of the men wore a tie. Did they want to be taken seriously? Or was this just a social club?

Presentation Skills Contest Results What’s the score? 12-year olds -1. Sales & Marketing Executives – 0.

Some of you might think that I’m too hard on the Sales & Marketing Executives. That I’m expecting too much from them. Maybe – but I bet that I’m not the only one.

Present Dangers to Real Estate

There is a bear in the woods. He has been lurking around for a few years and presents a threat to us. There is an aggressive new competitor in our industry. This competitor seems like an ally to Realtors but is really an adversary. There are a large number of web-based outsiders that are trying to penetrate the real estate marketplace. These outsiders are waging a battle to sign up customers through early stage offers of gift certificates, cash, gift cards or opportunities for free rebates. Multiple agents are also promoted to the consumer with the inducement to receive sales materials such as CMA’s or marketing plans. These companies are luring in consumers with the hook of lower fees or bonuses.

The most sophisticated of all these interlopers is Lending Tree. They have already been engaged in lawsuits with the Cendant Groups and RE/MAX. I have no doubt they will continue to step over the line and others will follow. The only service these companies are providing is being the intermediary between the potential prospect and a group of agents bidding for the business. For this service they want 30% – 40% of the commission!

These companies are working diligently to become significant players in the agent referral business. For example, if a consumer used Lending Tree to help them find an agent they could receive up to a $2,000 gift card at Home Depot based on the price of the home.

The whole industry of these web-based party crashers is to make money at your expense. For you to do all the work you have been doing already but for a 30% – 40% reduction in your fee structure.

There are others like Home Loan, which offers a cash reward of $500, or Master Moving, which offers a reward of .225% of the sales price. The reward would amount to $675 on a home valued a $300,0000. All these companies want a slice of an already thin pie.

A recent study by NAR gives us an indication of why we are experiencing these predators prowling in our industry. For the years 2003 and 2004 only 13% of the consumers returned to their agent they used from a previous purchase. This statistic shows our glaring lack of service after the sale. It shows that we are no better then other sales people who make a sale and never follow up with the client again. Until we change our ways that bear will be out of the woods and in the back yards of our clients. He will be rummaging through the garbage cans trying to find a way to be invited in!

We must drive these bears back to the woods. The only way to do that is to really protect what we have starting now!

As agents, too many of us are relying on the mail and email to forge relationships with our clients after the sale. We are using a pre-packaged CAP program, or Client Appreciation Program, where we give them “items of value” monthly. I don’t want you to misunderstand me here. It’s fine if you do that. There is nothing wrong with regular contact via mail or email.

The problem lies when we get lulled into a secure feeling because we mail them something every month that generates an impression on our client for a total of 30 seconds at best. The clients also knows that you send this same “stuff” our to 500 plus other people as well. The consumer knows that all we did was mail merge a mass letter and mass marketing piece. How special does that make them feel? Sending out mass mail marketing pieces is better than doing nothing, but it falls far short of the exclusive relationship that we are hoping for.

We must realize and value these mass mailings for what they are…support pieces. These pieces’ only value is supporting the personal efforts we should be engaged in. The personal efforts we make toward our clients are the foundation of raising our referrals and our retention of our past clients.

Our personal efforts can be segmented into two key areas, the “relationship building” area and “expert in the industry” area. We need to be building the relationship so they know we care about them. We also must establish ourselves as the industry expert. Our past clients need to feel that having an expert on their side outweighs the giveaways that these companies are enticing them with. If all we have is a relationship they will be tempted to evaluate and even accept these outsiders offers.

To master the relationship-building arena we need to move beyond mail and email. We must intermesh personal intervention, phone-to-phone or face-to-face contacts. Our past clients need to hear from us personally on a regular schedule. We must raise the level of intimacy with our clients by frequency of personal contact and intensity of personal information. Intensity of personal information is the core information about a client. We are going to track this core information on each client. An example would be birthdays, anniversaries, children’s birthdays, children’s activities, and client’s interests. There are more options than one could list in an hour. The question is what do you want to track? What will give you the edge to protect what you already have? The power of this information in a usable format is explosive. A usable format would also set up intimate correspondence based on life events, like sending out birthday and anniversary cards. A usable format would be the ability to search your database based on these categories as well as other specific categories.

Very few agents go do what I will describe now. You have a client that has an interest in golf. You know that because it is core information you track on your client’s interests. You read an article on a golf topic about a new course opening in your greater region. You then photo copy that article with a note for the client saying, “I read this article and really enjoyed it. I thought of you when I read it because I know you love golf. I hope that you and the family are doing well.” You then mail the article to your client. Then place a call in a few days to make sure they got it and you can ask for referrals. If we do this type of relationship building we reduce the exposure to defections of clients. A defection is when someone leaves your database and uses someone else. The use of the CAP system being your only avenue of relationship building is not enough!

We also must position ourselves as the expert in the industry. The reason why fees have been feeling additional pressure downward is the message from these outsiders, the media and others. The message they are sending is, “It doesn’t matter who you select, as agents we are all the same.” Our message needs to be “It matters who you select to represent your interests.” First we have to believe that to our core. Second we have to be able to document that empirically with statistics. We must be able to articulate our average list price to sales price, average days on the market and average listing sold verses listing taken verses the board average or another agent’s average. From these statistics that we call the “Big 3″ we need to show the benefits to the client. The benefits of a higher net dollars in their pocket, lower hassle factor or disruption to their family because of a reduction of days on the market and a higher probability of sale when using us to represent their interests.

We also must regularly update our client to the condition of the marketplace. Again, showing them empirical evidence of inventory of homes based on price range, number of homes sold in each price range, days on market in each price range and the absorption rate. The absorption rate is how many months of inventory we have based on current trends. These statistics affect the value and ultimately the equity position for our clients.

There are endless ways to position you as the expert. We must create a positioning plan and then implement or execute the plan to raise awareness of our expert status.

These outsiders are threats and they present a clear and present danger to our industry. There are strategic and tactical moves we can make in this game to minimize the momentum that is building from these outside forces. The timing to implementation is now. We all need to work together to drive the bears back in the woods.

Dirk Zeller is an Agent, an Investor, and the President & CEO of Real Estate Champions. His company trains more than 250,000 Agents worldwide each year through live events, online training, self-study programs, and newsletters. He’s the widely published author of Your First Year in Real Estate, Success as a Real Estate Agent for Dummies┬«, The Champion Real Estate Agent, The Champion Agent Team, Telephone Sales for Dummies┬«, and over 300 articles in print.