As far back as I can remember, “The Holidays” have always been my favorite time of year. I don’t know when the official start of “The Holidays” is (does Halloween count?), but I think we can all agree that they begin no later than Nov. 1. Because November is all about that turkey and Thanksgiving, and then we’ll be inundated with Christmas carols from Black Friday until New Year’s Day.
But even though this is a great time for baked goodies, family gatherings and gaining 10 lbs., it’s not an especially good time for businesses. Since most companies take Christmas and New Year’s Day off, many employees take advantage of the opportunity and opt to take vacations at this time. That means important decision-makers and executives are likely to be gone for days at a time, and there’s no telling if vacations will overlap. So what ends up happening? We reschedule meetings for January and drink more eggnog.
So I can’t grow my business during the holidays?
I didn’t say that. But it will be a bit more difficult, especially if you’re in the B2B sector. B2B companies often work with the aforementioned “decision-makers,” i.e. someone who has purchasing and/or decision power with the company. These people are usually higher-level executives or vice-presidents, which makes them more likely to be on vacation during the holidays.
What can I do to reach the decision-makers?
Being as flexible as possible will help. If you can fit in around their schedules, they’ll be much more likely to take a meeting or phone call. Persistence is also a great tactic here, because it will help you get noticed. If someone is trying to prepare for a vacation but Jim from sales keeps calling every day, they’ll eventually give in – if only to stop Jim from calling anymore!
Another smart idea: schedule meetings far out in advance of the holidays. So basically, you should start calling NOW. Scheduling a meeting for Dec. 19 is easy to do in early November – that’s still more than a month away, who thinks that far ahead? But if you try to schedule that same meeting in December, when the office is decked out in mistletoe and poinsettias, the client’s impending vacation will be on their mind. That’s how you end up with a meeting on Jan. 4 instead.
What if I’m in the B2C sector?
There are still some challenges, but it’s significantly easier. While many folks travel during the holidays, that’s OK – you’re selling to consumers. They don’t need to be in the office to hear your sales pitch. However, many of them might be extra busy during this time, so be aware of that. Your response and interaction rates will likely go down until the new year.
However, there is one silver lining: since many bosses are out on vacation, there isn’t as much supervision during the holidays. That means workers will waste more time at work, and what’s one of the most popular ways to do that in 2015-16? Peruse social media! So step-up your social media game for the holidays, especially during business hours. You may be surprised by the interest your posts generate.