A client asks, “How do I keep sales steady during the holidays? Is a slowdown inevitable? Many of my salespeople start losing focus around this time of year and I’m not sure what to do about it.”
Keeping a sales force motivated and challenged during the holidays can be problematic. But here’s some good news: for some salespeople it’s the last month they have to max out on an annual or quarterly bonus, and for others a productive December can be the deciding factor on whether or not they make their year-end number. Here are some suggestions for making the holiday season as productive as possible.
Get the facts
Find out what sales revenue for your company was from December 1st through December 31st of last year. Is revenue up or down compared to the other months of the year? Are sales trending up or down compared to Decembers for the last few years?
Do the research
Which type of customers did / did not buy during previous holiday seasons? What did they buy / not buy? What were the top selling items / services?
With these facts in hand, gather the sales staff together and come up with a plan. Since the easiest sales to close will be those that were started earlier in the year, offer incentives to those customers that buy before the new year. Consider calling those customers that said "no" to your product offerings in past quarters. They might have unspent money in their year end budget and the right offer could change their mind.
Have a sales contest
Create a short-term group sales contest with very achievable goals such as a 5% increase in sales for the month of December. Offer movie tickets or gift certificates to local area businesses as prizes.
Meet with sales people individually
This holiday contest is meant to keep everyone motivated and should run in parallel with year-end goals. Make sure that each sales person understands what they need to sell to achieve their annual or quarterly quotas and help them devise a personalized plan to get there.
Shortly after Thanksgiving, salespeople may start to complain about prospects being harder to reach, having little time for sales presentations and needing approvals from executives who are out of the office. While prospects are more elusive during this time period, virtually no one takes the entire month of December off. For most people it’s business as usual with some added year-end duties. Remind them that increasing the number of outbound calls or presentations they make, combined with presenting a compelling case about the product or service they are selling is the only solution.