As I was preparing for the holidays and reminiscing about previous incidents, the seven-holiday lessons for year-round business became evident.
1. Should Old Acquaintances Be Forgotten?
Let me turn this around; would you like to be forgotten? Probably not is the right answer. Everyone likes to feel important and remembered. Occasionally check in with all of your prospective clients to see how they are doing whether on track to buy or not. Upon change of season or a holiday, write or send an online greeting card. Worst case, you will bring a smile to someone’s face. The best case is those who were initially not interested may regain interest.
2. Check Your List Twice
We often feel there are not enough hours in the day. Both business projects and personal tasks eat up much of our time, and the holidays add to it. Given the extra ‘musts’ during the holidays, it’s wise to check your list twice. By maintaining a running task list on all counts, it is less likely to forget something. Creating your list brings us to the next point.
3. Gift Buying
Gifts can and should mirror the better sales advice: ‘Speak to the needs, wants, and deep down desires of your clientele.’ Accordingly, take note through the year of what family members and good friends enjoy or express interest in to help you make a purchase they appreciate.
4. Goal setting
We set goals for the holidays. The tasks may include:
- Providing a delicacy or delicious dinner
- Adding to the ambiance of the day
- Inviting guests who will contribute to an enjoyable conversation
- Being punctual for dinner or arriving on time for appointment builds trust and credibility.
Similarly, send a basket of delicacies to your loyal clients. When the pandemic ends, consider taking them to lunch or arrange a meeting while enjoying a cup of coffee for a leisurely conversation.
5. Diplomacy and Negotiation Skills
It is often tricky, maybe painful, to hear a close relative discuss politics on the opposite side of your thinking. Attempt your best to smile, listen, and give yourself a pep talk, not to respond. Should it get to the point of needing to say something, ask questions (without anger in your voice) such as:
- Why do you believe that? To gain perspective.
- How do you see the outcome? To potentially find a better solution.
- Will your idea bring good tidings to most? Humor helps in most regards.
Avoiding arguments by asking questions with a kind voice usually brings about a better conversation. Nothing is certain 100% of the time. But the suggestions are practice for business diplomacy and negotiation.
6. Good Cheer
Combining all of the above, we each hope that contentious discussions will not occur. Show up with a smile on your face. Reveal interest in the other person, and ask about their lives during the year. People love to talk about their experiences. The inquiry will promote good cheer during the holidays.
Similarly, the sales cycle is more likely to advance when we listen to our clientele before we attempt to sell. Otherwise, one has no way of knowing what the person in front of them holds importance or how experiences led up to that moment in time.
7. Respect, Kindness, Empathy
This year has been challenging for many. More than ever, this category is to be applied year-round. None of us have escaped ridicule and judgment in our lives, so it should be easier to give understanding and help to another. We are witnessing many more people in need of help of all types. Our support will receive appreciation more than ever.
And it’s another validation for checking our list twice – to verify how we can be of help and possibly service, too.
These tips bring to mind a holiday story taking place years ago that everyone may want to avoid!
One year, I went to extra lengths to provide a special Thanksgiving dinner with numerous guests. The first couple sitting down at the table began to put food on their plates and eat without waiting for the other guests to take their seats. For me, it turned the meal into an ordinary dinner taking away the holiday spirit. Mid-way through the homemade feast, the bitter arguments began that progressed into name-calling. I didn’t think it could be possible, but after dinner, the conversation deteriorated.
The next day, one guest participating in the argument said, please don’t ever invite me back again when he is here. My reply was ‘no worries there!’ The hours I spent preparing our home and the meal to greet our guests and provide hospitality to the best of my ability was a giant waste of effort that year.
Change for future holidays became essential.
On occasion, we find what we are doing with business is at a stalemate if not dragging us down. We need a revision of our plans. Accordingly, I’m working on new projects, and collaborative efforts are in the works for next year. I am committed more than ever to lending a helping hand on a larger scale. Working together, we can make a difference. The big differentiator is in stopping for a moment to acknowledge what the holidays can teach us.
In regard to business, consider revising your business plan for the new year. If you are seeking work, consider interviewing with a non-profit whose mission feeds your passion. Or research the top-tier organizations that continue to support communities.
Either way, figure out how your talent may apply to the mission of the employer. Finding a better match will make it easier to get hired, and enthusiasm will have you looking forward to working.
The bottom-line reflects whether you spread good cheer in putting the goals of your clientele first. Accordingly, you will earn extra business to make for a happy holiday season and New Year.
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