If you’re in a competitive industry where price and service mean the difference between making a sale and not making a sale, then it’s absolutely essential you don’t allow the holidays to work against you.

Too many companies go into shutdown mode during the holidays, either by closing completely or reducing the operating hours.

Ask yourself — “Do ALL of my customers do the same thing?”

I doubt it.

Now ask yourself a MORE IMPORTANT question: “Do all of the customers I don’t sell to — but would like to — do the same thing?”

I doubt it.

So let’s cut to the chase.

If you close or cut your hours or simply coast during the holidays, what kind of customer service are you truly providing and how many sales are you truly missing?!  When put that way, closing or cutting back during the holidays doesn’t look like too appealing on your part.

Nothing screams louder than being able to take care of a customer’s quick or emergency need during the holiday period.  If you’re closed, you won’t be able to help them.

Guess what happens next?

YOUR customer — the one you worked so hard to get — will suddenly contact your competitor to see if they can help them.  Nothing like making it easy for your competitor to get a foot in the door!

Here is the a-ha moment:

If your competitors are the ones closed or unable to help, are their customers looking around for a company that can help? I bet there are.

(This is where you enter. Stage right.)

The best thing you can do is to have both an email blitz and a telephone blitz on Dec. 22 — letting everyone, especially prospects, now you’re going to be open, available and capable of filling orders.

The reason I say Dec. 22 is, by that time, your competitors will not be in a position to change their hours of operation because employees will have made plans.  What this means for you is you’re able to send a shot across the bow of your competitors.

More importantly, you’ve just created a huge opportunity to begin doing business with a customer you’ve been trying to land for years.

Now to take this to an even higher level, make Dec. 27 a day to do a phone blitz to customers and prospects to let them know you’re open.   There are many customers who won’t be open themselves, but be sure to leave them a voicemail letting them know you’re open.  When they return, they’ll be impressed with your level of customer service and support.

Does this strategy work?  You bet it does!

I’ve been working with many clients over the years putting this plan into place and each time the results have been significant.

Keep in mind implementing this plan does not mean you have to be fully staffed. It simply means you have to have the right people working to make sure you can amaze your new customers with outstanding customer service.

The key is you need to plan now! Get all this in place so you are prepared to roll with it in December.

Selling during the holidays?  It’s looking more appealing all the time.

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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