Can you win a sale during the holidays? Sales experts weigh in on why it’s possible—though often challenging—to convince your customers to buy this time of year.
They call it the most wonderful time of the year for a reason. From Thanksgiving to New Years, everyone is in holiday cheer.
With more buyers taking time off for holiday parties and family get-togethers, sales teams are confronted with more challenges to close the deal with customers.
So, can you win a sale during the holidays and still enjoy the season? Mark Hunter, a keynote speaker and sales trainer, says absolutely.
“If you do it right, the holidays can create significant new opportunities,” he says on his sales motivation blog The Sales Hunter.
As Mark explains, it’s important to understand that during the holidays, business leaders pick up new habits:
It is not unusual during the holidays for people who don’t normally read emails to suddenly start reading emails. Many people who normally let all calls rollover to voicemail will start answering the phone or return phone calls.
Why the change? Mark says that because business slows down for many B2B companies, team leaders start evaluating how time is used around the holidays. So if they pick up the phone, make it a good use of their time.
“Thank your customers for their support this past year and for taking the time to determine what their current needs are,” he says.
Mark explains that it’s also a great time to network.
“Ask your current customers for referrals,” he says. “Politely ask them if they would make the introduction for you.”
According to Mark, you can also impress a potential customer by simply calling during the holidays.
“Most companies that week are on a very slow schedule with the vast majority of people taking time off,” he says. “Phone calls this time of the year are very productive because the prospect is pleased to know somebody else is also working.”
Jeb Blount, host of the Sales Gravy podcast, isn’t so optimistic.
“If I had my way, I’d take the whole month off and just start over in January,” he says in a podcast. “Unfortunately, business doesn’t stop for the holidays.”
Many customers, both potential and current, hold off making financial decisions until after the New Year. This is why, Jeb explains, it’s often hard for sales teams to maintain their activity targets during the holiday season.
Instead of closing shop, Jeb urges sales teams to change their tactics.
“The good news is that you can take control, maintain your focus and close deals,” he says. “The key is in staying true to the fundamentals of selling and maintaining self-discipline, combined with a sprinkle of creativity.”
When it comes to a company putting off their buying decision, Jeb explains that sales teams should strike while the iron is hot.
During this time of year, you have to give your prospects and customers a more compelling reason to make a decision now. Get creative with your offer, price, value added services or signing bonuses. You may have to give up more to get the deal done, however if you don’t close now, it is highly likely that you never will.
Jeb points out that it’s not always the customer that impacts a sales team’s holiday performance.
“The problem many of us face during the holidays is that we slack-off and let our self-discipline slip,” he says. “We have a tendency to allow the holidays to move us out of our normal daily routine. The result is reduced activity.”
Jeb has a strategy to stay on track. By sitting down with a daily planner, sales reps can properly block parts of each day for prospecting, lead generation, info gathering, demos and closing meetings.
“The key here is to get everything planned out in advance,” he says. “Set daily activity targets and commit to reviewing them each morning and afternoon. You will be amazed at how powerful this forward planning process is for keeping you focused during the holidays.”
With strategy and creativity, Jeb thinks that sales reps can win that sale during the holidays.
“By planning in advance and developing creative ways to close more business,” he says, “you will find that you feel less stress, cash bigger commission checks and have plenty of time to enjoy the holidays with the ones you care about the most.”