You could make an argument that the holiday season is the most interesting part of the business year. Half the people are scrambling to close deals and maximize their current-year numbers. The other half are coasting along, taking off a lot of time and enjoying the season.
Whether you have an intense or detached approach to work during holidays, you’re undoubtedly busy outside the office with shopping, parties, family get-togethers, religious services, kid/grandkid activities and whatever else. It’s an all-out sprint until December 25th. It’s fun but overwhelming.
Despite all the social and personal obligations this time of year, sales professionals are well served to keep focused on their work – at least somewhat.
Many sales pros pull back on prospecting during the holidays. That’s a mistake. If you take the month of December off, you’re missing out on 8.3 percent of the calendar year.
Prospecting in December pays off. Not as many competing sales reps are actively calling, so there’s a greater chance your call will stand out. Plus, holiday prospecting gives you a head start on next year. Remember, the calls you make in the next 30 days benefit you about 90 days from now. At the same time, the calls you fail to make in the next 30 days hurt you 90 days from now.
Because your prospects are so busy this time of year, you’ll need to make more dials than usual to reach the same number of people. You might get frustrated constantly reaching voice mail or having gatekeepers say, “He’s out of the office this week…” Nevertheless, keep going. Nothing bad happens from prospecting!
The holiday season is the ideal time to remember your current clients and show them how much they mean to you. That can be accomplished through gifting or simply reaching out to them and having a value-based conversation.
If you choose to give gifts to clients, they don’t necessarily have to be expensive (Gift value depends on your client, your industry, your geographic market and how much they spend with you).
Gifts that are customized to your client’s business or the product/service you provide for them probably mean the most. Even better than a gift would be taking the client to lunch, coffee or drinks. Of course, that’s tough if they are located in a different geographic market.
I prefer in-person holiday meetings because you can talk about how they’re doing. A December “thank-you” lunch can often lead to new ideas and even more business from that client next year. One-on-one time give you the opportunity to discover how else you can help them.
Goals for 2024
Finally, take time this month to prepare for next year. As the old saying goes, “Nobody plans to fail; they fail to plan.” Allow yourself to be contemplative about the past year and where you might go next year. Sales reps tend to be confident, fast-moving, independent-minded people who are comfortable “winging it.” Nevertheless, you’ll be more successful if you spend some quiet time now getting ready or next year.
In closing, I acknowledge, that it’s easier for me to write this advice than it is for you to carry it out. That’s why you should block out some time for prospecting, client meetings and goal-setting right now before it’s too late.