Here we are again. We’re quickly approaching the end of another year and have multiple holidays in front of us, not to mention all the events, parties, shopping, visits with family and Christmas shows to watch on TV. With so much going, your sales funnel may be the farthest thing from your mind.
After all, there’s so much to do—who has time for work?
Unfortunately, as far back as I’ve been in business, I’ve heard that year after year. And year after year, I’ve watched many small business owners and sales professionals enter the new year completely stressed out that they have an empty sales funnel.
I want to encourage you to not let this be your challenge going into 2020.
You should absolutely have fun, enjoy your friends, enjoy your family and even celebrate victories you’ve accomplished over the course of this past year. Also double down on your follow-up efforts. Many of your competitors will be putting their feet up to relax through the end of November right into the first week of January. That’s when you want to strike!
When your competitors are taking off, increase your activity.
While selling real estate in the late 90’s, I made one of my largest deals ever during the holiday break. That particular sale also broke a Brooklyn, NY, record at that time for the most money per square foot in a real estate transaction. I’ve closed big printing deals with clients that couldn’t get their regular printer on the phone during the holidays. Once, I was even invited and paid to speak to a small group of financial advisors between Christmas and New Year’s because none of my competitors were available.
I still spend time with family, shop and watch Rudolph. However, I don’t waste away the hours trying to convince everyone around me that nobody buys during the holidays.
I recognized this most in the real estate office I worked at in Brooklyn Heights. There was one woman from our office in particular, named Tammy, who laughed at the few of us that were in the office throughout December.
She would stop in occasionally to check her messages, usually going to or coming back from a local holiday party. “Why are you here?” she would yell to us. “Nobody’s buying or renting anything until at least February!”
Needless to say, with a completely dry sales funnel, Tammy was always broke and extremely stressed out by mid-January. Year after year, she was borrowing money to pay her rent. She wasn’t the only one. She just happened to be the loudest and most memorable. Danny, Julie and I—the three that worked through December—usually had plenty of clients and deals working by the time January rolled around.
So, here’s what I’d like to suggest you do if you’d like to start the New Year off with a sales funnel that’s on very solid ground while still keeping it simple.
Identify three to five people or businesses you can follow up with per week that you’ve put off over the past six to ten months.
Give a call. Send an email. Stop in to say hello. If you start right away, that could be between fifteen and twenty touches with people you’ve all but forgotten about (and who may have all but forgotten about you as well).
Identify twenty business influencers you can send a holiday card to.
Nothing fancy. Keep it simple. The saying “it’s the thought that counts” is true. I appreciate it when someone thinks of me. I don’t need a long message. A simple “Merry Christmas Joe” makes me feel pretty darn good. And it makes you a bit more memorable for me when I need your services.
Honestly, I think for many businesspeople, even receiving a text has become acceptable. I do send a lot of texts on the day of a holiday, and I also engage in plenty of other methods of follow-up prior to whatever the particular holiday is. I feel this has paid off more and more every year.
Let me make something else clear.
Every person I follow-up with is receiving a heartfelt touch. I reach out to individuals because they’re important to me. Not just my business. That’s why I love relationship marketing so much. I always have. I always will.
In the meantime, I hope you have a blessed holiday season and a wonderful New Year.