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Sales Productivity During The Holiday Season

If you’re like many organizations, the sales team tends to slow or “wind down” this time of year. But should they? For those of us that don’t sell Christmas presents, sales activity can start to slow just before Thanksgiving and not get going strong again until January. But think about it… That accounts for about 10% of our year. Should we as organizations or salespeople accept strongly diminished productivity for that amount of time? There are certainly challenges to selling during the holiday season, but there are many things that we can still do to be productive.

This week I’m providing training/coaching/consulting for organizations in the areas of Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. It’s not common for me to work in-person with three different organizations, in three different cities, in the same week. But many organizations requested this specific week. What’s going on? It’s the holiday season. Many companies look to schedule their programs for the first week of December before they wind things down until after the holidays. Actually, five or six organizations asked about this week and then literally zero for the following week and until after the first of the year. Now should this mentality carry over for salespeople? Should sales productivity wind down too until after the holidays? Many salespeople believe that it has to. It certainly can be more challenging to get in contact with prospects during this time, with them often responding by asking us to touch base again after the holidays. But does that mean that we can’t still be sales productive? Well, Christmas isn’t for another three weeks and New Year’s is only one or two days in the week after that. That leaves a lot of time to be productive if we want to be, while still celebrating the holidays.

How can we stay in the holiday spirit, respect our prospects and still be productive?

Follow Up: Continue to follow up with your current prospects. Don’t push your follow ups to after the first of the year. Follow your same (hopefully) strong follow-up cadence, and find out what communication level that your individual prospects want right now. If they want to halt communication until after the holidays, great. “Absolutely, I will follow up with you again after the first of the year.” Momentum continued. Some might not want to slow things down and we can get closer to a positive result for them. The key is continuing the positive sales momentum when and where we can. I’m not suggesting to call them on Christmas, but what’s wrong with December 10th, 15th, 28th and so on? So many salespeople don’t follow up on these normal working days of the year and kill the relationship building momentum, resulting in fewer sales. We want to avoid being in the situation of trying to reignite relationships after the first of the year. Keep fostering them as much as we can.

Prospecting: Understanding that there is a reality to some people’s availability over the holidays, let’s also understand that they will be over soon enough. As a career salesperson (and CEO), I have found this time period to be the best in developing and creating new prospecting and marketing campaigns for the next year. If we can’t talk to as many people, we can use this time to create opportunities to more than make up for it when the next year begins. Hit the ground running. Now is a great time to do prospect and marketing work to help us succeed in the new year. If we don’t, we may lose even more time as we try to get things revved back up in January.

The holiday season has a number of great sales productivity opportunities, but if we can at least focus on the two above, we will be much further ahead than the majority of salespeople and organizations that “wind down” from late November to early January. Happy Holidays!

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