Sell More B2B During the Holidays
In many companies, the period between Thanksgiving and New Years is a time to kick back. However, it's that attitude, combined with some basics of corporate finance, that makes the holidays the perfect time to sell and market to other businesses.
Here's why. During the final weeks of the year, many companies are closing their books, which often means that some organizations have budget to spend which, if they don't spend it, will vanish. So they want to buy stuff. Now.
In some organizations (I've been in them) the inability to spend your full budget by the end of the year results in a reduced budget for the next year. So they really want to buy stuff. Now if not sooner.
In addition, the holiday season also has a psychological effect upon the people who hold the purse-strings. T'is the season of giving, after all, and who wants to be the corporate scrooge when everyone's thinking about the big holiday party?
Finally, a lot of senior staff take long vacations during the holiday, leaving underlings in charge. You'd think this would gum things up (as in "I can't get the big guy's signature") but that's not the case.
With email and cell phones, nobody takes a real vacation. When the bigwigs leave the underlings holding down the fort, the underlings can often get quick decisions from the bigwigs who, being on vacation, don't want to be bothered with details.
Therefore, it turns out the holidays are an excellent time to close business and develop new opportunities.
For example, suppose you get some of your sales leads from your website. According to a recent study from the market research firm Software Advice, the week before and the week after Christmas are surprisingly good times to qualify those leads.
Similarly, the Software Advice's research suggested that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are excellent times to send marketing emails (aka "lead nurturing") to prospective customers.
And that makes sense, if you think about it, because 1) everybody on the planet checks emails every day and even on holidays and 2) nobody else is emailing people, so your email is far more likely to get read.
To summarize, December is the month where, far from lightening up, you should ramp up your sales and marketing efforts. Or as a very wise man once wrote: "God rest ye merry merchants, may ye make the yuletide pay!"
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GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist
Geoffrey James was recently named a "Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Master" by Forbes, and his blog has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as Wired, Brandweek, and Men's Health, and he is the author of numerous books, including The Tao of Programming, Business Wisdom of the Electronic Elite, and, most recently, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.