Crank It, Baby!
Hi there, all you Bold, Different and Memorable Sales-Type People. Ponder this scenario with me, won't you?
It's December 26 and the fourth quarter of 2013 is one week away from entering the history books. It's been a wild ride for the past three months, as it always is in our industry during this Second Selling Season. You are looking forward to spending this final week relaxing, puttering around the house, winding down. After all, you've worked hard this year, most all of your clients are on vacation and what could you possibly accomplish business-wise in these final few dead working days of the year? You should relax and eat that quivering yellow cheese-ball and take some naps, right?
Way, totally wrong.
You can relax when you're on vacation or dead. Of course, the former is much more fun than the latter. Unless you're vacationing in Pittsburgh. Why would you do that to yourself? When 'The Walking Dead' starts, it's gonna start in Pittsburgh.
And when you are Bold, Different and Memorable, the final week of the year could very well be one of your most productive and surprisingly active sales weeks of the quarter.
"Whazzat?" you say. "Ricko, you got some splainin' to do!" Okay, here goes ...
Most of your competition isn't working the last week of the year. Is there a more perfect time to prospect for new accounts and create some new relationships with which to begin 2014? When they say, "I can't believe you are working!"—that is music to your ears. Show these potential clients that you are ON IT and taking care of business during this important planning week.
Granted, many of these prospects as well as your existing clients simply won't be around ... but many will. Call them. Find them. Connect with them. Develop those relationships. Find out how their holiday was. And, while you are at it, you might also want to find out:
- Is their marketing plan complete for 2014? How can you partner with them to make that plan a reality? Let's hit the ground running by getting promotional plans into position this week.
- Are they exhibiting at any trade shows in the first quarter of '14? You can help get show attendees into their booth and remembering what they do before, during and after the show. You can help move them beyond mere 'brand awareness' and create 'brand preference' at their 2014 trade shows. Have a trade show ideas e-flyer ready to email them at the drop of a hint of a wisp of a suggestion: Top 10 Trade Show Items Available In 2 Weeks, and so on.
- Do they have any promotional dollars in their 2013 budgets that they need to use or lose? You can happily oblige them, place the orders and get them invoiced in 2013, thus preserving their full marketing budget for 2014. Say it with me ... "Proforma Invoicing."
- Are they open to placing those upcoming 2014 reorders NOW and locking in the 2013 pricing? Prices have held pretty steady for these few down years, but I think they will go up in 2014 as things continue to loosen up. What a perfect week to address this and get these reorders handled for your clients.
- Our biggest industry show of the entire year in coming up January 15 - 17, 2014 in Las Vegas, just weeks away. What can you keep your eyes open for at the PPAI Expo on their behalf? Work up a list of products AND projects that you can resource for them.
- Are they available for lunch tomorrow or the next day or on Monday? Things are quiet and this is an ideal time to connect socially, thank them for their business, break bread and make some plans for 2014.
Many of us who work for medium or large distributorships can get enough booked in the final week of the year to hit that next sales award level. Every year I see sales people get $15,000 and $20,000 and $50,000 orders during this week to use up budgets or get trade show merch handled. Go out in a blaze of glory, kids!
So, let's recap, shall we? Forget about the couch, the naps and the pulsating cheese ball. Kick it up two notches on that week between Christmas & New Year's Eve and create new relationships, energize old relationships, say 'Thank You,' get those 2013 budget dollars spent, have lunch with your three favorite clients, get some trade-show planning and promos working, solicit new projects for the PPAI Expo and Crank It, Baby!
I've always wanted to end an article with the phrase 'Crank It, Baby!' My work here is done.
Rick Greene, MAS is the Western Regional Vice-President for Halo Branded Solutions, a current Board Member with SAAC and the author of the comic fantasy novels, "Boofalo!" and "Shroom!", available at www.amazon.com. He's also not a big fan of Pittsburgh or cheese balls. They shove fungus bits and mouse eyes and lungs from lizards into those things. Stay away from them!