Holiday revenues, especially for retail-based businesses, can account for as much as 30 percent of annual income. For other businesses, the holidays can be a slow time for sales.
It’s easy to convince yourself that everyone’s off skiing or vacationing in December, but the holiday season can be productive for business development activities. Take advantage of the slower pace to jump-start your 2018 pipeline with these four tactics.
Contact your A-list Customers for Referrals
Late December is an ideal time to ask for referrals from customers that meet these criteria:
- Your relationship generates significant annual revenue or steady ongoing revenue for your business.
- Your interactions are mutually beneficial and cordial, even when these interactions involve an issue.
- Your customer has referred other customers to your business, and/or has introduced you to additional contacts in the company.
When you ask for a referral, specify the type of person, title or company you are seeking. Make certain that you get contact information for the referral, or suggest a three-way email introduction that connects you, your customer and the referral.
Remember that referrals are the best gift a customer can give you, and express your appreciation for that gift.
Reach Out to Prospects
The week between December 25 and January 1 is anything but business as usual. People who don’t typically pick up the phone, return calls or respond to email are more likely to engage during the holiday downtime.
Reach out to prospects or referrals for a conversation and to set up meetings for January. Since you’re both working during that week, it’s easy to establish rapport and credibility.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile
If you haven’t looked at your LinkedIn profile recently, make sure it’s New Year-ready.
- Edit your profile for misspellings, punctuation and accuracy.
- Select keywords that describe you and intentionally use them in your profile summary.
- Update your photo with a professional headshot.
- Identify and join new groups.
- Add your LinkedIn profile URL to your email signature.
Expand Your LinkedIn Connections
The year-end slowdown also is valuable for discovering leads and referrals sources through your connections on LinkedIn.
Review your connections online, or export them through the following process:
- Click “My Network” at the top of your profile page.
- Click “see all” under “Your Connections” on the left side of the page.
- Click “Manage synced and imported connections” at the top right of the page.
- Click “Export Contacts” under “Advanced Actions” on the lower right of the page.
- Scroll down to “Download Your Data.”
- Click the “Connections” box, then click “Request Archive.”
The file will download as a CSV (comma-separated values) file, which can be opened as an Excel spreadsheet.
Business development during the holidays isn’t business as usual—it’s your head start on 2018 before the New Year’s Eve celebrations even begin.
Elizabeth Usovicz is principal of WhiteSpace Consulting®, specializing in top-line revenue strategies and business development, keynote speaking, qualitative research and strategy session facilitation. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (913) 638-8693.