WE ASKED A FORTUNE 100 SALES VP to share a personal technique he uses to use his current relationships and customers to help him develop NEW business OPPORTUNITIES... this is what we learned, a new technique we call "viral Gifts"
When it comes to enhancing your work relationships and political capital - viral methods are best. You’ve seen viral videos but its unlikely you've seen “viral gifts.” Viral gifts are gifts that perpetually create positive political capital and add value to your career while you sleep. Finding a viral gift is hard, but that’s exactly what we learned when we interviewed an executive from a Fortune 100 company. Using a viral gift in your workplace 2-3 times a year, over the span of a two year period will tremendously impact the way in which colleagues or customers perceive you… to learn more read on.
A bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, a bouquet of flowers - these are the absolute worst gifts in a corporate environment. Why? Because these gifts are ephemeral, they last only a few days and create a simple experience that is easily forgotten. Compare a $100 bottle of wine to the following gift: a solar-powered, battery-free, constantly rotating planet earth placed indefinitely on your boss’ (or customer’s) desk. That is, the MOVA Earth:
What makes the MOVA Earth rotating earth a viral gift? And specifically, how will it help you become an executive faster… well my execs, read on.
ATTRACTS THE EYES OF *MANY*
A viral gift attracts the eye via a subtle movement, smell, or sound. In the example of the rotating earth, it attracts the eye because of its almost magical movement. At the same time it creates curiosity since there are no wires or batteries involved. That curiosity, will trigger hundreds of conversations. Guess who will have a conversation with your boss about the amazing gift you placed on your boss’ desk - your boss’s peers. Why? Because they will visit his office for meetings. That’s what makes a gift viral, a gift that others (aside from the receiver) will appreciate and talk about.
When your boss’ peers enter her office and are amazed by your gift, they will ask your boss two questions: “how does it work” and “where did you get that?” As to the second question, your boss might let her peers know that it was a gift from you. Why? Because she gets to indirectly brag to her peers that her direct-reports appreciate her leadership. It’s a win-win for you, and your higher-up - indefinitely while the gift remains in a visible location.
PLACED WHERE GUESTS CAN SENSE THEM
Let’s say your boss loves digital cameras, and you have two gift options - an incredible digital camera lens priced around $100, or a beautiful print of one of your boss’ photos on a metallic glossy canvas framed with dark cherry wood, also a $100 gift. The first option is a terrible idea! Why? Because no one will see the camera lens, and it won’t create conversations at work. The second option is far better because you will place that framed photo on your boss’ desk, and once there it will create many conversations where your boss will be able to brag about a trip to his peers. More importantly, while that camera lens would be collecting dust in a closet, all of your boss’ peers will see your gift and know that you created a positive experience for all of them. They will not share this directly with you - they seldom do - but after a couple of years the political capital built by the gift will have its effects on your career.
Viral gifts, because they attract the senses, create conversations, and need to be seen by many - need to be delivered in a very unique way. You physically have to surprise the receiver by placing the gift in the location you want the gift to stay. Viral gifts can’t be delivered in a box. They need to be placed. If it’s a desk gift - place the gift on your boss’ desk early in the morning exactly where you want it to stay, so it is a surprise when your manager walks in. Do not leave a note - let the mystery settle in. It is best to walk in one hour later and personally, physically, in your person, explain the gift, its unique story, it’s delicate aspects, etc.
NOT FOR APOLOGIES OR TO REPLACE HARD WORK
Make sure your gift in itself is not expensive, that is, viral gifts are all about the experience they continually generate, not the monetary value of the gift. Much how viral videos are not Hollywood productions, viral gifts do not need to be expensive. Also, a viral gift does not replace hard work! Do not use a viral gift when asking for an apology. The assumption here is that you are a hard worker and the viral gift is simply the cherry on top of the cake, not the cake itself.
Do not use a viral gift in settings of an apology - in that case a flower or a consumable is better for many reasons. Best time to deliver a viral gift is when everyone is busy, busy, busy, and tired. Simply because the expectation of the gift is low and its positive effect will be exaggerated. If your business is seasonal, deliver the gift at peak production.
If you deliver a viral gift 3-4 times a year make sure it is delivered to different parts of the organization. Your customers, higher-ups, peers, subordinates, HR support… sprinkle it all over.
Insights to improve your career.