Happy New Year 2010…Now It’s Time to Get Back to Work!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season filled with joy, laughter, and happiness of every kind. Hopefully you are well rested because now it is time to get back to work.

If you remember back in November, I wrote an article about the holidays coming and how many salespeople get into “nobody is buying anything” mode. This year, we did a little survey of some randomly selected clients, prospects, friends, acquaintances, etc. to test our theory. Here are the results so far–with names changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent:

Of course this is not all about the salespeople. Clients and prospects take time off or get caught up working on budgets too, but overall we found salespeople fell into three buckets: (1) the ones who treated November and December the same as March and April, with the acceptable days off of course (2) the people who “recharged the batteries” a little (3) and the ones that went into “nobody is buying” mode and headed to the mall to Christmas shop.

The first group ended up being our top achievers. Surprise, surprise. While their December may not have broken records, they stayed active, thanked clients for their business, and found out what their plans were for 2010, so now, in the first couple of weeks of January when their clients are back from the holiday slumber and have things to do, they are hitting the ground running and closing deals. They had their fun over the holidays, but when the credit card bill comes for the new Nintendo Wii they bought for their kids, they are certainly not complaining about the economy.

Our middle guys are doing OK too. December was a little slow so they took some time off “finishing up for the year” sometime around December 22nd. They may have taken their last days of vacation, but generally kept their phones on and answered client questions between Christmas and New Year’s and are poised to have a good February while they use the first few weeks of January to catch back up with clients and see what they are doing with their new budgets.

Pulling up the rear are our “nobody is buying” guys. They are well rested and tan, but I don’t want to be at their house when the credit card bills start coming in. These guys not only talked themselves into a sales slump by spending more time in the mall than with clients or in the office, but most likely this slump will last well into March. You see, you can’t just turn relationships on and off like a switch. People buy from people they know, like, and trust so if you are not there for them, chances are there is someone else who has been knocking on your client’s door just asking for a chance to be the backup. These guys are hungry for your business and have spent months, even years asking to be the “backup” to the great relationship your client has with you. While you were not “watching the henhouse” the wolf came in the front door and took what you thought was yours.

I’m not saying never take any time off and work 26 hours a day. Not at all! I enjoyed a great week in New Jersey visiting my family over the holidays and was able to take a step back and recharge, but what I did not do was ever assume that the clients I had were owned by me. I’m not perfect by any means, but I respect the relationships I have gained and always do my best to remember that in everything, people have a choice. Some of my clients have become my closest friends, but if I’m not doing the job for them, I will eventually lose that business. It did not take too much of my day to call clients and check in with them, offer them suggestions on the new project initiative for January, or simply send them a holiday card or email, so now when they are back to work full time and ready to go, they don’t have to spend time briefing me on their plans because I was helping them to make those plans.

And who do you think will help them implement those plans?

Sure we took some time off, we relaxed, heck we had a party (as you saw the pictures in the holiday newsletter) but what we didn’t do was lose sight of our goal. We are here to help people increase their sales and find new opportunities. If we didn’t do it, somebody else would!

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