Persuasion: How to Master the Craft of Corporate Gift Giving in Business

Whether we realize it or not, gift-giving is social psychology in action, a technique powerful in force when applied correctly. I’m not speaking of gift giving on traditional holidays, birthdays, and the like, but rather gift-giving as a form of persuasion in social psychology that is used in successful businesses, from large corporations to smaller independent companies, every day.

In our precursor to this article, The Art of Persuasion, we explained how persuasion is used by all of us everyday in order to persuade a successful outcome in our favor: foot-in-the-door, that’s not all, and scarcity. Gifting motives in business are no different.

Only one prominent distinction between the we use persuasion in our everyday lives, and the way successful companies use gifting, is that the former is often unconscious while the later is most definitely always conscious, and absolutely intentional.

There’s no hard rule that says how much you need to spend. CEO’s of multi-million-dollar corporations are some of the most frugal of all people. More likely to wait for a bargain that’s as close to nothing than the average coupon-cutter mom at the super market. Along with that they aren’t going to spend one-dollar to send a gift to a prospect client unless it’s sure to produce a return in profit for them. Here are the motives that inspire businesses to use gifting to persuade outcomes in their favor: To grow their network and develop long-lasting relationships, To market their company and brand, Customer retention – or loyalty, To close a deal.

Now let’s see how these motives fall snug into the most common of everyday persuasion.


  • To grow their network and develop long-lasting relationships
  • To market their company and brand

That’s not all

  • Customer retention


  • To close a deal

Next we will cover the application of the gift, or the delivery. As mentioned above, forms of gift-giving come in all different shapes and sizes. However, the application methods follow a distinct guideline. In The Art of Persuasion we mentioned a case study by Oklahoma State University that revealed that characteristics of the application that result in increased persuasion and successful coercion: Higher levels of expertise and trustworthiness, Likeability, and Physical attractiveness. These characteristics are also the guideline used by CEO’s and marketing directors in gift application – or, delivery.

To give you the best understanding of these application characteristics I am going to use an example. This is the ultimate example. Business owners in Arizona’s Scottsdale area have discovered an independent Scottsdale shop called My Popcorn Kitchen as the ultimate tool in successful corporate gift delivery. In fact they have found such great success that the folks at My Popcorn Kitchen have seen a huge shift in corporate gift orders. What is it about the products and services offered by this gourmet popcorn shop that produce such success in lead generation, client retention, and successful closing transactions for the companies that use them? The answers are simple.

Gifting in Business

Here are the ways to identify a promising source for gifting application:

High Expertise and Trustworthiness

The fact that the shop is locally owned and recognized by local news media establish an immediate sense of trust and expertise in the source—the source being the popcorn shop, just so we’re clear.


The products appeal to our inherent scenes and evoke positive emotions. The unique names of the flavors, such as Beer Cheddar, and the large flavor variety ensure an inevitable match on the receiving end,

Physical Attractiveness

The colors of the popcorn are bright, they offer a wide selection of containers to deliver the popcorn in, such as college university and football tins for every team in the NFL, are sure to be found attractive by, let’s say, your client that graduated from ASU, or who loves the Seattle Seahawks.

As far as applying the actual delivery of the gift, the fact that the popcorn shop offers an auto ship option makes the choice a no-brainer for all business owners and CEO’s looking to wow potential clients, retain business, and even to gain referrals by word of mouth.

Read part 1: Understanding the Art of Persuasion

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