December, the month we all look forward to taking a long break, jingle bells, Batman smells, turkey, cookies, surfing and the like. But actually for businesses, it’s a time of dread. “Let’s wait til next year” is a mantra that strikes fear in our hearts. And then, if December is slow, January can be even slower. Today we’re going to teach you some tricks as to how to make the most of that dry spell to make sure 2014 is killer.
Renew your base
Use this time to close your regular customers early. Try a proposal software to make gorgeous sales quotes, preparing your retainer contracts for the next year. Instead of the usual executive summary, adapt it to highlight your successes with them over the year. Know as soon as they’ve looked at it and if they are spending a lot of time “considering” one section, so you are prepared for any objections. Then, make it easy for them to say yes with electronic signature.
And don’t be afraid to put on a little pressure. If you’re an accountant, remind them that your busy season is coming up and they better reserve their time now before it’s too late and they miss out.
Offer a deal!
Want to close on clients who have been considering your service? Offer a special discount, like ten percent off a retainer, or that you will do any legal services for them this month for free, if they sign on for the first six months of 2014. If you sell a product, simply cover their shipping costs. Be willing to do whatever you can to meet your year-end goal.
Many companies have department budgets that won’t be renewed if they aren’t used — use socratic questioning to see if that applies to your prospects. Just reminding them of that might be enough to get you in.
The Importance of the Out of Office message
You can schedule it ahead of time, so there’s no excuse not to use one, and its benefits are three-fold — it manages your clients’ expectations for response time, it offers them an alternative contact if it’s important, and it makes you more likely to disconnect from your crackberry.
Now, there is a finesse to doing it right. Do not use the auto-message; like everything in your business, it needs to be personalized. Change the subject to something like “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy 2014!” Then continue in the body with something cheery like:
Hope you’re enjoying your time off with your family and are working toward a rockin’ new year! I’m going to be out of the office until DATE. I promise to get back to you then. In the meantime, if it’s something urgent, please contact EMAIL.
Have a great holiday!
And don’t forget to update your voicemail similarly.
It’s a perfect moment to say Thank You
No matter what you do, these are the two most important words you can over-say to a client. Try sending out a newsletter that only focuses on your clients or go old-school and send out Christmas cards or postcards. Taking an hour to hand-write a bunch of thank yous is a way to leave a lasting impression. And, if you use a cute or funny image, that impression could be hanging up around their office all year. Just make sure it has your email and phone number somewhere on it, so the next time they need a lawyer, an accountant, a web designer or whatever you do, you’ll be fresh on their mind and easy to find.
And it’s a great time to reflect
This is the time to look back on your year. It’s the moment to reflect on how your firm did this year and how you will improve in the next.
And it’s a good time to brag. Use the trendy countdowns to show off how good you did this year. It’s the perfect moment for revamping your website, to include client testimonials and some stats of how your firm is growing into a market leader. And then make sure to promote that info to your local press, so you can stir up even more clients.