Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Slow Sales During the Holidays? What You Can Do

November 19, 2016

Unless your seasonal business picks up this time of year, you may be looking to fill your time about now.


It’s been an eventful couple of weeks. The long-suffering Chicago Cubs won the World Series. The United States elected a new President. After a warmer-than-usual early November, fall has finally made an appearance in those parts of the country where snow falls and temperatures drop drastically.

And the holiday season is about to shift into full gear. Unless you’re one of the companies that takes in a good percentage of its revenue in the fourth quarter, you may be finding that prospects and customers simple don’t have time to see you, or that they’re not in a buying mood. Still, there’s plenty you can do to stay occupied. Here are some suggestions.

Take inventory of your customers. If you’re using a CRM application, this will be easier, but it can still be a time-consuming task if your customer list numbers in the dozens or hundreds. Look at each individual or company’s profile and determine which of them should be:

  • Contacted. Who might you have been neglecting? If it’s realistic to do so, get some tood-111916-image-2plain notecards and drop them a handwritten note. If not, at least craft a short, friendly email with a subject line that will get their attention. Tell them you still value them as a customer, and remind them who you are. Tell them you’d be pleased to see them on the website or hear from them soon. Same goes for customers whose sales have dropped off.
  • Given an incentive. Good customers whose orders have recently become a little spotty might pick up the pace if you provide them with a good reason. Offer a VIP discount. Point out new items or services that they may not have seen.
  • Thanked for their patronage this year. Again, depending on volume, pull out the note cards or put together an email to simply thank them. That’s it. Nothing to lure them back because they’ve been good customers. Wish them a Happy New Year and tell them you hope to see them in 2017.
  • Marked inactive or purged. Your call here. If it’s been ages since a customer has ordered, put them on inactive status at least. If you’re using a CRM solution, this might speed up some of your work. And it’s just neater. Deleting them entirely means you’ll have to start over with them should they reappear.

tood-111916-image-3Take inventory of your biggest successes and failures during the last year. “Failure” is kind of a strong word, but you know what I mean. Analyze those sales that didn’t go so well and try to determine why. What would you do differently next time? If you’re a sales manager and a team member let you down, this might be a good time to ask him or her to do the same exercise. Or maybe ask the whole team and schedule a session to share ideas.

Take stock of your target market. Are you hitting it? Are there avenues you haven’t explored that might be worth looking at? Should you be doing more upselling and cross-selling?

Take your very best customers out to lunch at a nice restaurant. Again, this depends entirely on the nature of your business, the size of your customer base, and your geographical proximity to them. Some salespeople use meals as sales tools, managing to steer the conversation to a pitch eventually. Don’t do that at a year-end thank-you meal. Your customers may be pleasantly surprised.

Take some time off. If you truly can’t find things to occupy your time, take a day off here and there to recharge and tick some items off your holiday to-do list.

Stock images courtesy of

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