Ah, the holidays: a time for hanging mistletoe, sipping on hot apple cider (or maybe a glass or two of wine), and enjoying some much-needed time off. Once that first turkey-induced food coma strikes, it’s easy to let your brain go into hibernation mode. But if you want to avoid a holiday hangover in your business, you need to keep nurturing your leads in between those ugly sweater parties and white elephant gift exchanges.
With Q1 and new budgets around the corner, decision makers are finalizing their vendors and goals for next year. You want to keep up with content marketing trends and stay top of mind to prevent a drop-off in sales conversions. To do this, position yourself as the solution to their problems in the new year.
Some companies mistakenly assume that when the holidays begin, sales opportunities decline. But we’ve found the opposite to be true. Beneath the tinsel and the holiday lights, business moves forward as normal. November, December, and January have actually been some of our most successful months because that’s when our prospects need us most.
The holidays are a great time for closing new deals because gaps in organizational hierarchies leave many companies vulnerable to minor meltdowns. When key players are in and out of the office for year-end events, you might land in someone’s inbox at the exact moment a holiday blow-up occurs. Helping a prospect avert disaster is a surefire way to stay on his or her radar.
Rather than coast into the new year on the business you already have, use these strategies to succeed with budgeting, convert your leads, and end this year on a merry — and profitable — note:
I promise this isn’t as Grinch-like as it sounds. At this point in the year, people are focused only on the issues that demand their immediate attention. Share blog posts and case studies your company has published about how you helped other customers navigate the same problems. Paint a picture of how your service or product eliminated the pain, and let them know you can help them solve their crises, too.
Our sales team documents clients’ areas of concern and what they’re struggling with in their content processes. That way, when our marketing team publishes a new blog post that’s relevant to a client, the appropriate salesperson can use it to touch base. We also use Slack to give every member of our team a notification when a new article goes live. Our sales department really benefits from being able to pull fresh content into prospect conversations.
When our company wins an award or our CEO publishes a hit article with a marquee publication, we celebrate those successes by emailing our clients and prospects. These are great reasons to get in touch and reinforce your credibility with your leads, especially as they’re deciding which vendors they want to work with in the coming year.
Send thoughtful thank-you emails or gifts to your leads during the holiday season. You may have only met them in person only a few times, but if you enjoy their company and friendship, let them know.
Make a note when prospects mention details of their personal lives, and use that information to send something memorable later. Does your prospect like poker, or is she more of a sports fan? Depending on your clients’ interests, you can get pretty creative in the types of gifts you send. One of our sales reps sent a St. Louis Cardinals jersey to a lead who was a huge San Francisco Giants fan after a few of us met him during the Cardinals/Giants baseball series in 2014. These personal touches let prospects know you’re listening and that you value the relationship.
Aren’t we all just a little sick of email? I know I’m feeling the inbox fatigue by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, and your leads are probably a little burned out on it, too. Calling prospects directly is a refreshing change of pace and a great way to establish rapport. This time of year lends itself to friendly conversations about travel plans and holiday excitement, and small talk flows so much more easily over the phone.
Following up when you say you will is baseline sales etiquette, but you’d be surprised by how many reps slack on their responses this time of year. You can distinguish your company just by staying consistent. And if you need more insight into writing effective emails and setting up more sales calls, we just wrote about this in “3 Reasons People Aren’t Reading (or Responding to) Your Emails.”
And don’t be afraid to inject a little humor into your holiday sales strategies. A line like “I’ll tell Santa not to leave you any presents if I don’t hear back soon!” in an email adds levity to the relationship and gives your brand personality. Consider how you can make these strategies your own so you can land on your leads’ nice lists this year.
I'm the COO of Influence & Co. My goal is to create an amazing experience for our clients from their very first interaction with our brand. My happy place is anywhere with good wine and cheese.