2016, It’s almost a wrap!

The holidays are in full swing. There is so much to do — parties to attend, gifts to buy, cookies to bake — some say it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

But it can be a challenging time of year to stay focused on the job at hand. A lot of people… and companies for that matter…tend to “check out” in December, and the all too familiar “Call me after the New Year,” becomes the objection of choice.

Knowing you’re not one to “check out” when there is work to be done, how do you make the most of your time during the holiday season?

Here are some ideas for you:

1. Take time to visit your customers.
Notice this heads the list. A yearly customer review goes a long way in showing your customers they’re important to you and you’re willing to work with them as their needs change. Find out their goals for the coming year. Do you know how business was for them in 2016? How will you help them achieve their goals in 2017?

2. Take time to THANK your customers.
When was the last time you sent a hand written, hand-addressed thank you card to your contact…and to the president of the company? People like to be recognized and thanked.  Either take the time to thank then in person or send a personal note — the good ‘ole fashioned way — not by email!

3. Take time to take stock.
Step back and analyze your year. Figure out what you did well, and what you can improve on for next year. Really analyze your numbers. On average, how many dials did it take you to get a contact? On average, how many contacts did it take you to set an appointment? What was your conversion ratio of First Appointments to Closed Sales? Is this ratio going to work for 2017? If not, what are you going to do differently to make an impact on your numbers? Make a contract with yourself (call it a New year’s resolution if you like) and stick to it.

4. Take time to refine your prospecting approach.
What industries have you had the most success with this year? Do you have reference letters to support this success? Why not ask for them? Based on your 2016 successes, what new prospects do you want to target in the new year? Check out the HERB (Highest Executive Responsible for Buying) you will contact. What is your backup plan if HERB is not accessible? Plan to aim higher and wider in the organization than you have in the past.

5. Take time to organize and regroup.
Do filing, catch up on correspondence, and so on. You really are most effective when you’re organized. Also, think technology, efficiency and increased productivity. Is there new technology out there that could make you better at your job? Do some research on the latest and greatest. It could be time and money well spent.

So enjoy this festive time of year but don’t check out of 2016 too early. Have a strong end of the year and a great start to the new one. Happy selling and happy holidays to you!

Holiday Tips for Guests and Hosts

Here are a few tips to make your holiday gatherings go smoothly:

As a guest:

1. RSVP.
Let your host know right away if you can come or not.  If you receive a “family” invitation let them know how many of you can come. Don’t show up with uninvited guests. This is something that should be discussed ahead of time.

2. Arrive on time.
When food is being served, the host is trying to plan around a mealtime. They want to make this an enjoyable experience and not have to worry about food getting cold or overcooked. If you are running late, have the courtesy to call your host to tell them to start without you.

3. Offer to help with serving and cleanup.
Whether the dinner is hosted by a family member or not, it is polite to offer to pitch in. Many hands make for light work.

As a host:

1. Extend the invitation at least a month in advance or longer for those who might be travelling from out of town.  
If guests are staying with you, set a beginning and end date for the visit. Three days is usually ideal.

2. Take a tip from the airlines — seat and serve the elderly and very young first. 
Offer assistance to an older guest and have little ones sit with a parent for help.

3. Be as accommodating as possible to extras. 
“John and I would love to come, but our friend Tanya will be spending the holidays alone. Is it possible to include her?” If you have the room, of course they should bring Tanya! Be creative and fit in as many as possible. This is the season to exemplify a generous spirit!

For both guests and hosts, thanks are in order.  Ideally, guests should send a hand written note expressing their appreciation for the dinner or party.  Hosts should thank their guests for making the occasion so special before they leave. It wouldn’t have been the same without them.

May your holidays be warm and wonderful!