Ask The Expert

Dear Expert Eye,
What kinds of sales strategies can I use during the holiday season to boost my numbers? I’m a subagent and I’d like to end 2004 on a great note.

Dear Anonymous,

Great question! The holiday season is often a frustrating one for sales representatives in any industry, as many customers and prospects take a significant amount of time off during that time of year. That said, there are many things that you can do between now and the end of the year to boost sales. 

Make yourself available to your customers and prospects as a resource they can leverage during the holidays. You could offer to become a member of an escalation team for your customers for outages or other emergencies basically to fill in for staff who will be taking time off. In addition, if you can identify customers and prospects who will be working, they often will have more time to spend with you than they typically would. If your main contacts are not available, offer to meet with subordinates or others who may be available. This may open up an opportunity to establish new relationships and contacts within your customers.

Offer to perform an audit of a companys telecom expenses during the holidays. This is often time well spent; it will show your dedication and keep you busy doing a valuable service to your customer or prospect. Follow up with a meeting shortly after the holidays to review the results. More and more agents are actually charging hourly fees to perform circuit and billing audits these days.

An important marketing tactic for the holiday season is to be sure to send out holiday cards. Personalize each one dont simply send out a blast e-mail and expect results. Reward existing customers with small gifts. One of my favorites is Omaha Steaks. I have never met anyone who does not appreciate a few steaks prior to the holidays. It is the best $50 or $100 that you will ever spend as a thank-you. Customers love to receive quality gifts that they can share with their families during the holidays.

Be sure to avail all carrier quarter- and year-end promotions to your customers. Offer to sit down with prospects during the first two weeks of December so they are aware of any expiring promotions that may be of interest to them. In addition, I have been noticing quite a few significant year-end spiffs that the carriers are currently offering take advantage of these. In addition, get any paperwork in to carriers as early as possible in December. Carriers are very poorly staffed during the holidays and very little work gets done during the last two weeks of the year.

Be sure to attend as many of the holiday networking events that are held in most major markets for telecom professionals. Our local holiday events are some of the best attended all year.

A last bit of advice: remember it is not what you make but what you keep. Plan wisely during the end of the year to minimize your taxes. For example, take some time to make sure that you pay any expenses in the current calendar year, thereby decreasing your current tax liability.

I hope this helps, and have a great and productive holiday season!

Michael Fair

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