Prospecting around the holidays is a lot like dieting during the holidays. Nobody expects they are going to lose weight in December, but if you're not careful, a glass of eggnog here and an extra slice of pie there and before long you’re looking at the scale on January 2 wondering how you gained five pounds. It's all about maintenance. If you don’t want to be sitting at your desk on January 2 with an empty pipeline and no follow up calls to make, you should stick to your prospecting plan through the holiday season.
When you can only devote a small portion of your day to business development, you need to pay the most attention. Dropping the ball on business development in December means you lose one-twelfth of your sales effectiveness for the year. So if you normally spend five hours or ten hours a week on business development, keep at it. Yes, it's difficult when your peers are going for drinks at 2 P.M., but you’ll thank me in Q2.
December can often be an amazing time for prospecting. People are planning for the next year, and they are looking for ways to spend surplus revenue. Many are saving their vacation time for summer and hey, maybe your competitors are thinking there's no point in calling out in December, so for once the market isn’t totally saturated with prospecting calls.
You can use that time to do cold calls, and you can use it for warmer calls! Check in with all your current prospects and suspects. Wish them a happy holiday and a prosperous new year. Send a hand written card to prospects asking for a meeting in the New Year. You can even email or tweet your prospects a Starbucks coffee, which is one of my personal favourite ways to get a prospect to take my call. Are you having a holiday gathering? Why not host a drop in event for potential prospects? A party invitation makes for a great cold call, and even if they don’t attend, they are more likely to take your next call.
The calls you make in December lead to meetings on your calendar for January, so don't ease up. Put back the extra cookie, bring that box of chocolates in to the office to share with everyone, and get back on the phone.
What's your plan for the upcoming holiday season? Are you going to give it your all or are you going to kick back, relax and drink some eggnog?