Can you hear that? It’s the sound of Santa’s sleigh AND your day to day business operations slowly screeching to a halt. The holidays are great for many reasons, but easily connecting with clients is not usually one of them. Some are preoccupied with their Christmas party or too busy planning their annual family trip to Aruba to give you what you need. Others simply shut down the office early which can make it challenging to predict accurate billings. That said, whether you have been naughty or nice, these tips are sure to help keep you in good cheer into the New Year:
1. Create A Limited Time Holiday Promotion
Sense of urgency can be a powerful motivator and there is nothing like slapping an expiry date on potential savings to encourage buyers. A great idea is to target any on-the-fence clients first. Saving an extra buck at Christmas might just push them over the edge and earn you some brand new business.
2. Be Persistent in Your Marketing
A satisfied buyer who has used your business before will be happy to clear the remnants of their budget with your services. Since budgets often get ‘reallocated’ if they aren’t used by year end, it’s a win-win! Start your marketing early on in the season and be politely persistent in reminding them that you are around to help them hold onto their Yuletide bounty.
3. Send Shareable Items to ‘Big Fish’ Prospects
There is nothing like a big basket of mystery snacks to get any office’s attention. Even for those who have not bought from you yet, targeting your hot prospect list with a thoughtful gesture like a canteen of hot chocolate for sharing office-wide will make you memorable. Don’t forget to include a Christmas card so they know where it came from and why you sent it! The idea here is thoughtfulness so don’t overdo it with flash or salespeak.
4. Build Yourself into New Year Planning
In every client meeting or call, book a meeting in the new year around business planning. With so much happening over the holidays it can be tricky to get their attention so by pushing your discussion into the new year, it guarantees a start to the conversation and demonstrates a keen forward thinkingness. It also demonstrates that you are considerate of their holiday schedule.
5. Create A Goal with Promise of a Bo-ho-ho-nus (< too much? :o)
Whether it’s an individual goal or a team goal – a little friendly competition can keep motivation high over the holidays and drive sales into the New Year. It doesn’t have to be solely about money either! You can tier prizes and tie in donations for the local food bank in addition to a first place position for the most consistent and/or impactful sales activity targets by year end. Announce the winners over eggnog and peppermint creams!
5. Let Your Clients Know You’re Busy AND that You Love It!
Regardless of the internal climate in the office, it is always better to air on the side of hustle and bustle when asked by clients. A slow period can signal a red flag where a frenzy can signal to them to get in on the action! Droning on about a busy time can make you seem ungrateful and close off an opportunity for referrals. Repeat after me: we’re busy and we love it!
6. Year End Review
A great excuse to get in front of your client and sniff around for opportunities coming down the pipe is to suggest a year-end review where you give them the opportunity to rant and/or rave about their experience working with you. Often times their rants will have to do with everything BUT your deliverables. Even so, that can be a powerful bonding moment for you – who doesn’t love a good vent? Expressing curiosity about upcoming projects will also help you to sniff out potential contracts and make recommendations based on the market (and their competitors).
7. Ramp Up and Spruce Up Your Social Strategy
Whenever there is a true lull it is the perfect time to pay special attention to some of the crucial projects that fall to the wayside the minute the phone rings or our PC dings. Use the time to revisit your content strategy and plan delivery of topics for the new year. You can even do some light market research with your clients and include it in your end of year review/discussion so that your Blog, Twitter, LinkedIn articles are going to strike a chord with them and deliver you with viewership.