1. Year end specials
If you have excess inventory, including dates on your calendar before year end that aren’t sold, offer a special deal when you choose the delivery date (I do this for client strategic planning sessions). Don’t discount inventory that you can sell at full price first of next year. There’s no reason to discount something now that you can sell for full price in the very near future.
For example, let your customers know that anything booked for delivery from Dec. 15 – 24 is at 10 per cent off (you choose the discount), and watch your customers sitting on the fence jump off and fill your calendar.
2. Thank you specials
When vendors offer year-end SPIFs, you’re better off passing on the deal to customers then bonusing your sales team. Face it, your customers know when their rep calls with a SPIF special, because they’re pitching a product instead of conducting a conversation. So, turn this into a relationship-building opportunity to have customers feel good about the call.
Use a script like this: “Our favorite laptop vendor is offering us a $50 incentive per unit that we sell between now and the end of December to motivate us to move year-end inventory. To thank you for your trust and business, we’d rather pass this on to you instead of keeping it for ourselves. But you’ve got to get the PO to us by Dec. 31 for us to share the savings.”
You get to boost sales and bolster your customer relationship.
3. Schedule 2017 meetings now
While many customers resist meetings in the last few weeks of December, they’ll agree to conferences in the first two weeks of January. Call now to schedule product discussions, refresher training, and quarterly business reviews.
There’s nothing worse than coming to work on Jan. 2 with nothing on the books and there’s nothing better to have customers ready and eager to see you during the first few weeks of the year.
4. Share your 2017 predictions
Call your customers and invite them to an event or one-on-one meeting where you share your predictions for 2017.
What? You don’t have any predictions? Here’s my short list:
- Companies balance on-site and cloud deployments putting individually accessed data — email, personal documents, data sheets — in the cloud and keeping mission critical data on-site with a cloud backup.
- Savvy companies will put 5G cell (due for 2020 deployment) on their radar to explore how to use the faster, lower latency technology to drive competitive advantage.
- Outsourced security becomes widely accepted as the best way to manage the diversity of threats, which increases exponentially because of internet connected smart devices.
- A popular connected device will be discovered to covertly accesses private networks resulting in massive wikileaks-like revelations.
5. Assess customer confidence
It’s the perfect time to assess customer confidence for 2017. As you make your holiday calls, ask customers, “What is your outlook for 2017? Why do you feel that way?” “Where do you think your technology adoption will go next year?” “What surprises do you think will be in store in 2017.”
Note who is optimistic and plan to increase sales contact with them because optimists tend to buy. Note who is pessimistic and plan to increase marketing contact with them to educate them on the possibilities increasing their confidence to buy.