Slowing down at the holidays is for losers. Yes, you read it correctly.

What company created an industry and turned retail upside down? Amazon. Does Amazon slow down at the holidays? Nope. They are swamped because it's the holidays and people are buying. Are UPS or FedEx slowing down during this time of year? Of course not. They are crushing it.

Getting "slow" around this time of year is the same as a three martini lunch. It's from an era long since passed.

Today, the holidays are a time when you can separate yourself from the competition to grow your career.

Here are 10 ways to do just that:

  1. Have "holiday" drinks and happy hours with clients. If your client enjoys a drink, take them out to celebrate. If you don't drink, bring your boss who does and show them you can have a good time with or without booze. It's about your client!
  2. Think small. Every company doesn't need a big gift budget for clients. Our chief revenue officer started making homemade chocolate covered pretzels for clients when she was a 23-year-old rookie salesperson. This year she will have 15 salespeople at her home making them while her kids are there. We may get older, but we just tweak our routines, not abandon them.
  3. Get creative. One year our best salesperson dressed up like Buddy from Elf and dropped off candy canes at clients just to get a laugh. Don't be so uptight.
  4. Tell your clients what you want for Christmas (or Hanukkah)... their business!
  5. Don't put your out-of-office reply on. If you're not there, they will call someone else. Check your email twice a day or give someone access to your emails if you are taking a vacation.
  6. Attend every association holiday party in your industry, local or not. Make the travel. If there is a holiday get-together that your prospects and clients will be at...go.
  7. Do administrative tasks. There is a chance you may actually call on a vertical that does slow down. If you do, take advantage of it. Look at your calendar over the past 12 months and look at every meeting you had and every meeting that canceled on you. Send letters to those people and check in. Ask for an opportunity in the coming year. Show that you want their business.
  8. Make a plan. Make a list of how many meetings per week you want to hit, how many events you want to attend, how many calls you want to make, what you need training on. Then make a plan of how you will get it and when you will execute it.
  9. Make a goal and give yourself a reward. If you get "X" new deals or new clients in before 12/31 you will go on a European vacation, buy a car, buy a suit, whatever. Give yourself something to go after.
  10. Write. Take the time to reflect on the year. How did you compare in your office? To your team? To your competitors? Did you make as much as you wanted? Who is your best client? Do they call you to talk? Do they ask for your advice? Do they return your calls?

Move hard and move fast. Be better than your competition. Be better than an excuse-maker. It's the holiday season. You're a salesperson. You may think every time you hear a bell it's an angel getting wings, but it's really your competitor ringing the cash register. Make it you!

Published on: Dec 6, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.