How to keep selling during the holidays
I’m going to keep this brief (because I bet you’re sandwiched inbetween buying presents, going to parties and watching school nativities right now!).
However, the fact remains that for a lot of businesses (retail excluded) Christmas can be a difficult time to get customers to buy. The good news is that there are techniques you can use to get yourself in front of customers and keep that cash flow ….er ….flowing:
1. Don’t convince yourself that people won’t buy. In other words don’t get all negative. People still need goods and services, whatever the time of year. Just because what you sell isn’t seasonal, doesn’t mean that people won’t still need it. So keep plugging away.
2. Don’t accept “I can’t afford it now”. If you absolutely ‘had’ to fix a punctured tyre, buy a new oven because your old one broke, or pay a parking ticket before it went up three-fold, I bet you would find the money somehow, whatever the time of year. People have priorities of course, but there are things like credit cards and payment plans, so make sure you can accept these as alternative payments. Also remember that not everyone goes absolutely broke at Christmas – there are loads of sensible people out there who make plans and have disposable income. Businesses tend to have annual budgets, so the chances are that your business customers won’t even say it.
3. Christmas can be an opportunity. If your customers are businesses, they may well be under pressure because Christmas is a peak time for them – so that is an opportunity for you to sell more, not less. Make sure you keep in touch and let them know your company’s Christmas opening hours in case they need you. After all, they may well turn to you if they have an emergency and no one else is open.
4. If customers won’t see you now (because they are getting into holiday mode) start filling up your diary for January. Then you can hit the ground running when you come back after the holidays.
5. Don’t be scared to contact people just because you think they are going to be busy. Yes, it’s true that for a lot of us, this is a really busy time, but there is also a huge chunk of goodwill in people at Christmas, so maybe ringing up, cheerfully wishing someone ‘Merry Christmas’ and then suggesting a meeting might work better for you than at other times of year.
6. Keep your customer service hot! Make sure that you keep doing that thing you do to the highest possible level. Don’t leave the answer phone on for two weeks – make sure you have a way of checking for urgent enquiries and, if your set up allows it, try and make sure you have someone manning the phones all through the holiday period. Also, check emails regularly and respond to urgent ones.
7. Eat mince pies! Well in fairness, that’s probably not my top training tip, but hey – they are really nice! Merry Christmas!
Janet is based in Enfield, north London and trains small businesses and entrepreneurs how to sell more. She has recently reached the final of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management’s national awards (BESMA 2016) in the category of Sales Trainer of the Year and, in November 2015 won ‘Start up Business of the Year’ at the Enterprise Enfield Business Awards.
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