It’s the time of year for mistletoe, eggnog, caroling, friends, relatives, honey ham and excuses. My kids plan for it for five months, my wife scrutinizes the coupons for good deals and even wakes up at 4:00 am to get the best deals. I love this time of year for so many reasons, but it can be hard for entrepreneurs. Tis the season of excuses.
“Call me in the new year.” It’s a motto we entrepreneurs hear a million times this time of year. It’s as traditional as maxed out credit cards and a jolly fellow in red.
All successful entrepreneurs take the sales process seriously. Unfortunately, while our family and friends are slacking at their 9 to 5, we still have to meet payroll and pay for the expenses that come with the time of year. For an entrepreneur the holidays can make us feel like the Grinch with the added pressure of additional expenses and prospects that are more secured behind their excuses than the gold at Fort Knox.
Jeffrey Gitomer addresses the holiday stall with 11.5 lines and tactics:
1. Close on the stall line. “ What day after the first of the year would you want to take (would be most convenient to take) delivery?”
2. Firm it up, whenever it is. Ask, “When after the first of the year? Can I buy you the first breakfast of the new year?” Make a firm appointment.
3. If it’s just a callback, make the prospect write it down. Call backs must be appointed, or the other guy is never there when you call. Writing it down makes it a firm commitment.
4. Tell them about your resolutions. “ I’ve made a New Year’s resolution that I’m not going to let people like you who need our service, delay until after the first of the year. You know you need it.”
5. Offer incentives and alternatives. Invent reasons not to delay. Bill after the holiday. Order now, deliver after the holiday.
6. Question them into a corner — and close them when they get there. “What will be different after the holidays? Will anything change over the holidays that will cause you not to buy?” (Prospect’s answer — “Oh no, no, no.”) “Great!” you say, “Let’s get you order in production (service scheduled) now, and we’ll deliver it after the holiday. When were you thinking of taking delivery (beginning).”
7. Agree. Then disagree. I know what you mean…lots of people feel that way. Most don’t realize that the money wasted between now and the first of the year, will equate to a huge savings if they buy now. Are you sure you want to waste the money?
8. Get a testimonial letter. Ask someone who bought before the holidays and was glad they did to write you a two-paragraph letter. Get one paragraph about the value they received and how they originally wanted to wait. The second paragraph should be about how happy they are about your service after the sale. Similar situations are more powerful than your sales pitch.
9. Drop-in with holiday cheer. Use a small holiday plant or gift to get in the door. (No one says no to Santa — unless you live in Philadelphia. There they boo Santa.)
10. Create urgency. There’s a product or delivery back-up after the first — schedule now.
11. Be funny. Say, “So many people have said call me after the first that I’m booked until April. I do however, have a few openings before the first. How about it?” Making the other person laugh (smile) will go along way towards getting past the stall. An alternative joke is, “What holiday?”
11.5 Beg. Pleeeeaaase. I’ll be your best friend.
Gitomer always seems to have fun with the sales process. That is why he is so successful with what he does. Be bold, have fun and drink some eggnog. The season can still be fun, I just recommend you stay away from the Star Wars’ Christmas album. Nothing could quite take away from the spirit of the season than Christmas Darth Vader crooning his way through Away in a Manger.