Three Steps for Prospecting During the Holidays:
- Contact Existing Customers
- Reach Out to Prospects You Connected With This Year
- Send Out a Provisional Meeting Invites
The holiday season is a time to relax and enjoy family and friends, even if this year most of us will be limiting interactions to our close family. If you are able, I recommend unplugging completely and getting back at it in January.
If you plan on working a bit before Thanksgiving or between Christmas and the new year, targeted prospecting activities can deliver strong ROI if you follow my suggested approach.
My rationale is straight-forward. For some companies, the holidays are the busiest time of the year, but for most B2B companies, the holidays represent a slowdown in business. To that end, many managers and executives allocate time for catching up on year-end activities, and more importantly, advancing important initiatives that need to get off to a strong start in the new year.
With the extra time on the calendar, managers and executives who don’t normally read emails suddenly start reading emails. The same is true of phone calls — those that normally let calls roll over to voicemail will suddenly start answering the phone or actually return a phone call.
I’ve found that prospecting during the holidays is most effective when you focus on follow-up conversations with customers and prospects.
Here are my three suggested steps to holiday prospecting:
1. Contact Existing Customers
Start by contacting current customers. Once you’ve thanked them for their business and explored if there are additional needs you can address, ask for one referral. Don’t ask, “Is there anyone you can refer…..,” ask for one referral and a formal introduction. Easy-peasy.
2. Reach Out to Prospects You Connected with This Year
Reach out to a handful of prospects you’ve engaged during the year that perhaps are willing to discuss further how you might be able to support their business. I suspect there are at least a handful of meaningful prospect interactions that lost steam or fell off the radar in favor of other priorities. Competing priorities get in the way of many sales pursuits. Connecting with these prospects during the holidays can help you better understand priorities and how you can advance your value proposition.
3. Send Out Provisional Meeting Invites
Suppose there is a follow-up, and schedule time with the customer and prospects during the first full week of January. Send a provisional meeting invite with the express understanding to reschedule if pressing matters arise. If you book time before the start of the new year, chances are the meeting will happen.
If you’re in sales and plan to work a bit during the holidays, add prospecting to your list.