With the holiday season quickly reaching its zenith, a tradition as annual as decorating the tree and pretending to enjoy your great aunt’s fruitcake is well underway – businesses sending out generic holiday cards to their clients and customers. But instead of joining the crowd in hastily filling out envelops and licking stamps, why not do something this holiday that most will never consider?
Get personal. Share your warmest holiday regards in person, if possible, or by phone if you cannot.
While mailing out cards still remains the most popular method for businesses to extend their season’s greeting, it’s neither the most effective or productive method to establish a personal connection with your customers or clients. The problem with mailing cards is that they can become easily lost in the holiday shuffle. So many of your clients and prospects get inundated with stuff from businesses and vendors this time of year that they don’t always pay attention to what came from whom. Even worse, sending the same old bland holiday card does nothing to help differentiate your business from the pack.
How can you successfully convince a client that your ideas are the innovation they need in the New Year to propel their business forward when you can’t even come up with a unique way to wish them season’s greetings?
Here are few ways the holidays offer you a chance to make a memorable impression heading in 2018.
Establish a Personal Connection
Competition for business has never been tougher than today. Developing personal connections during these highly competitive times has a far more lasting impact than a card of message on social media ever can. That’s why you need to develop a seasonal strategy that places you directly in front of your clients, either in person or on the phone.
These types of personal interactions provide you the chance to make a positive impression. Wishing your clients glad tiding and thanking them for their business over the last year carries far more weight when you do it in person.
Scheduling a face-to-face meeting with a client during the holidays provides the perfect opportunity to accomplish some serious networking. You have a chance to solidify your personal relationships heading into the new year, which is incredibly important when you consider that the long-term value of each client offers 100 times the value of just a single transaction. Despite all the changes that have happened in business with the rise of the internet, one adage remains just as true as ever – Your current clients are your best ones.
In person meetings also provide you with the chance to ask your clients strategic questions and to receive feedback for the services you’ve already provided. Additionally, you can get a head start in determining what challenges your clients may be facing going forward and decide how your business plans on addressing those challenges in the future.
Finally, a direct meeting with a client also allows you to better gauge the body language, expressions, and demeanor of your clients so you can determine their true feelings. We’ve all had clients who suddenly took their business elsewhere without warning even though it seemed like the relationship was fine. Courteous phone calls and email etiquette aside, it’s easier to be blindsided by an unhappy client when you don’t have the opportunity to regularly see them in person.
Expand Your Contact Base
Entrepreneurs looking to constantly expand the size and scope of their small business don’t simply limit themselves to personally greeting their current clients during the holidays. They understand the value of reaching out to former clients, potential prospects, vendors, suppliers, contractors, and even industry thought leaders and journalist. All of these valuable sources can help you land future referrals, leads, and business.
The holidays are full of celebrations, from office parties, happy hours, and seasonal dinners that you can utilize as an opportunity to meet and greet in ways not normally available during the rest of the year. Examine your opportunities and take advantage of the holiday merriment to establish and strengthen connections with those who can really help your business grow.
There’s More Under the Tree
Getting together over the busy holiday season can be a challenge, which is why you shouldn’t be afraid to using phone calls to send along your holiday greetings.
While you certainly won’t successfully reach everyone you call, there’s no harm in leaving a voice mail that extends your well wishes and establishes that you at least tried to establish a connection. And don’t get cold feet at the last minute and decide not to leave a message. Americans spend over 3 billion hours a year listening to and leaving voice mails, so you’re not in danger of coming across as pushy or odd for giving your clients a call and leaving a message.
A funny thing can happen when you call a client to wish them your personal best that makes this potential strategy more appealing than what you might initially think. While you should keep the conversation away from business, focusing more on the client’s family and holiday plans so as not to seem like a thinly veiled solicitation, you’ll be surprised at how often clients will turn the subject around. As the calendar marches towards 2018, many of your clients may have laid down some strategies for the new year they have yet to discuss. Given the opportunity, your phone call could very lead to more business or some good referrals you didn’t expect.
Entrepreneurs have always succeeded at generating additional business by taking the time and making the effort to add a personal touch. Calling or seeing your clients to say “happy holidays” certainly has the potential for being the best gift you receive this year.