At some point, everyone decided that the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a business black-out time. You know, people work shorter hours, you’re elbowing other shoppers on your lunch hour, that quiet guy from IT gets really un-shy after way too much eggnog at the office party, and ballet parents are trying to stay awake during repeat performances of the Nutcracker.
It is a commonly held belief that this is not the season for B2B sales. Wrong, Rudolph! Retail shoppers aren’t the only ones making purchases this time of year. And here’s why you should view December as a productive month, and not just for disgruntled elves.
Use It or Lose It
In addition to buying secret-Santa gifts and showing up for work in tacky reindeer sweaters with blinking lights, people are busy spending end-of-year budget dollars. If they have a use-it-or-lose-it budget, decision-makers are much more apt to make a purchase, rather than just string you along with visions of what they might like to do.
When it comes to B2B sales, it’s standard practice for reps to converse with the buyer about budgets and purchasing timeframes. But this is the time of year to expand the discussion and find out if it’s incumbent upon your client to spend budget dollars before the close of year. Many departments are obligated to use up their annual budget; if not, they could end up with a smaller budget the following year—and who wants that for Hanuquanzmas?
The Dark Corner Office Is Just an Illusion
One of the perks of being the big boss is taking off a couple of weeks around the holidays while underlings back at the office pig out on fudge and try to find ways to be productive. You’d think that with senior staff going off to golf and beach vacations, decision making would get stuck down the chimney. After all, how do you get the Big Cheese to sign off on deals when they’re not there? Well, before you slip out early to beat the holiday traffic, remember that the boss is only a cell phone or email away; in other words, they’re probably working remotely. Being on vacation might be just the thing to get them to reach a final decision—so they can get back to Christmas in Cancun.
Take Advantage of a Self-Fulfilling Prophesy
When everyone believes that the holidays are a slow time for business, they sort of are. Work that to your advantage: It can translate as less competition, and prospects that have lots of open spaces in their calendar, making them more receptive to taking a meeting with you. Besides, when you’re working hard during the holidays, clients see that you’re serious about what you do.
Finally, don’t forget to show your customers some love this holiday season. Maybe you don’t close a deal before the ball drops and we break in a new year with Ryan Seacrest smooching a cohost in Times Square. If you make the effort and send a card or gift to a client or prospect, you’ll be on their mind first thing in 2016. Now, that’s a gift that keeps on giving.