The “holiday chill” is coming—that special time of year when we all wind down and hope to enjoy the Christmas and New Year’s holiday break. But it’s not that time… yet! So let’s get inspired.
Here are the top 10 things you can do to reach out to new and existing clients—and ring in the new year with a full sales pipeline. (Note: Have fun with it!)
1. Handwrite. Don’t just send generic holiday cards with custom engraving and no personal sentiment or note… that’s just checking the box, and it doesn’t make any impression at all, except to say, “You are one in a large stack of people on my holiday card list.” So boring! You don’t have to write a novel, just a line or two with a nice “hello” and your real signature.
2. A simple polite gesture goes a long way. The holidays can be a stressful time of year. Sometimes a random act of kindness goes a long way. Someone whose attention you have been trying to grab may acknowledge and remember your effort.
3. Pick up the phone. A simple phone call to some of your existing clients during this time of year can help keep you top of mind for future business. Often you will just get a person’s voicemail… so what? Leave a nice message. For example, “Hi Bob, this is ________, just wanted to reach out and say hello, to wish you a very Merry Christmas! [or New Year, belated Hanukkah—whatever you feel appropriate]. Hope we can connect when your schedule permits. I still love the good old-fashioned telephone: (XXX) XXX-XXXX.”
4. Network (gracefully) at holiday events. Use your holiday social calendar as an opportunity to put yourself in new environments and social circles. It’s OK to share with others what you do and how you can be of service, but just remember: Be gracious and respectful of your environment. Don’t go into a major sales pitch.
5. Send treats. Pick 10 people to whom you want to send a tiny treat. (Sending a small treat is often just as good as or better than a big present!)
For example: Burn a CD of your favorite holiday tunes to share with others, send just one nice cookie, little chocolates, an ornament, homemade goodies or a New Year’s holiday streamer package. The goal here is to share a warm and friendly gesture that helps you stand out from the masses. Note: Only do what represents your style and your voice.
6. Hire a ride or provide the ride. Going to the same party? Add a touch of class and offer to go together in style. Hiring a chauffeur or car can allow more connection time to and from parties—not to mention it can be safer. Not in the budget? Offer to be the designated driver and provide the selfless service of forgoing the open bar to have the time with those select passengers!
7. Integrate your activities. This is a busy time of year for everyone, so why not try to mix a little business with family? Going to a tree-lighting? Invite a client and their family to join you and yours. Catching a holiday movie? Extend the invitation to a business contact. We are more social this time of year, so ask. Either way you’ll be remembered for the thought.
8. Start setting up meetings now for the new year. Believe it or not, calendars are already filling up for Q1. Why not try and schedule as many meetings as possible in January to kick off the new year and set yourself up to meet your goals for 2014?
9. Remember your persuasive arguments on why someone needs you, your service or your company. The holidays are chaotic. Why not address your clients’ and prospects’ needs? How can you save them time? Money? Sanity?
10. Go for class and substance. You can’t be everywhere at once, and chances are you are turning down invitations. Choose the parties that will provide the greatest return on that which is the highest value for you right now—and be fully present. Can’t make it to another event or party? Send a note or something festive in your place. Follow up with the hosts of the parties you attend to properly thank them. (Remember they are the connector to everyone else who was in the room!)
And here’s a bonus: Give. Be a part of something that helps others. This is a smart business move and an opportunity to engage clients and prospects—plus, just a good thing to do. Do something that fits who you are and your company’s style. Then get involved and invite others to join you. Use your social media and Q4 newsletter to share what you were a part of. It will also help others to get to know you from a different perspective and make a stronger connection with you.