Today's post is by Marc Wayshak, sales strategist and author of Game Plan Selling: The Definitive Rulebook for Closing the Sale in the Age of the Well-Informed Prospect and Breaking All Barriers: Insider Secrets to a Limitless Life.
“Jingle bells! Jingle bells! Jingle all the way! Oh what fun, it is to ride…”
Just the thought of that song makes most of us want to run away from work and go play. The holiday season is the time of year when most salespeople tell themselves that nobody is answering the phone, making deals, or buying. Most salespeople give up on prospecting during the holidays and instead focus their energy on closing a few remaining deals in the pipeline or heading home early. But if you’re one of my savvy, sales-minded readers, you may be asking, “If everyone is kicking back, then couldn’t there be an opportunity to actually get through to those hard-to-reach prospects?”
Yes. The reality is that the holiday season is one of the best times of the year to prospect. (Of course, take off Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, you workaholic!) During the other 11 months, prospects are bombarded by your competitors, busy as can be and protected by those oh-so-mean gatekeepers. During the holiday season, many of your top prospects will be experiencing the opposite. Let’s explore the key reasons why you and your sales team should consider doubling down on prospecting this holiday season:
1. Your competition is kicking back. Your prospects are being contacted in every way possible. They are spending more than a quarter of the day just responding to email. By prospecting during the holiday season, you are far more likely to reach a prospect with his or her guard down.
2. Your prospects aren’t as busy. Have you ever called prospects, only to hear in their voices that they are overwhelmed with the 10,000 other things going on? We’ve all been in there. The average corporate employee has a boatload of work to do on any given day. But during the holiday season, things slow down. Since many people are on vacation, not much work is getting done, and your prospects are often playing catch up. This creates a tremendous opportunity to snag your top prospects when they aren’t distracted by the chaos that surrounds them during the rest of the year.
3. The gatekeepers are off duty. In my surveys regarding salespeople’s biggest sales challenges, getting past the gatekeeper is always at the top of the list. Most of the time, a CEO of a major company is protected by a wall of people whose job is to ward off distracting salespeople. During the holiday season, however, those gatekeepers are off spending quality time with family and friends while the boss is staying in the office. By prospecting during the holiday season, you can often bypass gatekeepers altogether.
Overall, the holiday season provides the perfect storm of prospecting opportunities, allowing you to prospect more effectively than at other times of the year. Not only is your competition often not prospecting, but your prospects are less busy, and their gatekeepers are on vacation. By spending more time prospecting this holiday season, you will find that, yes, some of your prospects are actually on the ski slopes with their families, but many are still at the office with very little going on and nobody to keep you away. Try making prospecting calls the weeks before and after Christmas.
How do you get through to those hard-to-reach prospects? Please share your strategies in the comments section below.