Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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The Holidays Are Here: Wrap Up 2016 with Your Customers

October 31, 2016

We’re barely into November. Why worry about end-of-year customer relationship tasks?

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If you’re like me, the end of December comes awfully fast after the last trick-or-treater has left the door. Actually, a good time to start planning for your annual customer appreciation duties is when the kids go back to school. But if you haven’t begun, now’s the time.

The end of each year provides a natural break. One year is ending and another will soon begin. Time to take stock of what’s transpired in 2016, thank those customers who’ve been good to you this year, and remind the others that you’re still here – and you’re hoping to see them in 2017.

Here’s what you might try to do before the calendar flips over to December.

For your best customers:

This probably isn’t realistic if you have thousands of customers, but send a brief handwritten note (on a Thank You card, not a holiday card) and thank them for their business. How many times have you gotten something like this from a company you patronize? Not very often, I’d imagine. Try to send these in November, before they get lost in a blizzard of other holiday mail.

Everyone loves free stuff. If you can swing the cost of the items and the postage, send an inexpensive promotional item.

For the rest of your customers:

If it’s realistic time-wise, try, try, try to personalize your greeting a bit, even if you’re only signing your name to a pre-printed card

For hot prospects:

At least send a holiday card. If you have a lot of leads, even a pre-printed postcard will suffice. Remind them that you remember them, and that you hope they’ve had a successful year.

For everyone:

Consider sending a discount coupon to be used before the end of the year. If you have unsold inventory that you’d like to unload, you might have a private sale in late November or early December – especially if you sell items that people could use as last-minute gifts.

If you absolutely, positively don’t have time for holiday interaction, wait until January, when the holidays are over and everyone is a little blue about the weather and the lack of parties, gifts, joyful greetings, etc.

Come to think of it, this might even be a better idea than competing with all of the other noise around the holidays. Consider doing all of the things I mentioned above, only with a “Happy New Year” theme. Your card/gift/greeting will be more likely to be noticed, and your customers will have resumed a more normal work schedule. So if you’re hoping that your thoughtfulness might trigger a few more sales, January could be a better time.

Because we live in a country where many different holidays are celebrated about this time of year, you might be uncomfortable deciding how your greeting should read. I still think it’s a good idea to acknowledge that it’s a special time of year for most people, and to show your appreciation for your customers’ business. You don’t have to mention any holiday if you prefer. Your seasonal good wishes will be appreciated by many, so I think it’s worth the effort.

What do you think?

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