How to Make Your Last Workday of 2016 Count

 Over the next two or three weeks, many of your competitors will be coming in late, leaving early, and socializing while they’re “working”.

You can do better.

sales tip: call clients on the last day of the year

photo by Monkey Business/dpc

As Anthony Caliendo, author of The Sales Assassin: Master Your Black Belt In Sales, points out,

Business and generating income can’t just stop for the holidays, and salespeople (especially those on commission) need to keep productive in downtimes during the holiday season.”

Among his tips for staying productive during the holidays:

Schedule appointments for the new year instead of desperately trying to schedule sales calls during the holidays. You may typically have difficulty getting an appointment with a prospect, and never get past their gatekeeper. Scheduling appointments for next year – in reality only a few weeks away – is a good way to convince reluctant prospects to meet.

Caliendo’s strategies will work on any day in December. I’m going to add to the list with a recommendation for the very last thing you do in the office this year.

Sales Tip: How to Maximize Your Last Business Day of 2016

Make a list of every client who advertised with you in 2016. Big ones, little ones, annual accounts, seasonal accounts. All of ’em.

On your list you’ll need two pieces of information for each:

  1. The name of your main contact for each company. With some clients, there may be more than one.
  2. His or her phone number. That’s telephone number. If you want this to work, do it by phone, not email.

Here’s what you’re going to do — call each one on the phone and thank them for their business.

That’s it.

No selling is allowed on this call. You can’t mention your ratings, or that First Quarter Fire Sale Package. Just a simple thank you.

If you do this in very late December, you’ll get voice mail in the vast majority of cases. That’s fine. You should have a scripted, rehearsed voice mail message ready to leave.*

Leave your message, hang up, and dial the next name on your list. When I was an Account Executive, my message went something like this:

Hello, Jane, this is Phil Bernstein at KEX. No need to call me back — I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks for your business this year. I’ve really enjoyed working with you, and hope we can catch up some time next month. Have a great New Year!”

The words “no need to call me back” are key here — once the clients hear that they can relax and appreciate the gesture for what it is.

I learned this technique from Jim Doyle, who was my sales coach at the time and is now my boss. I did this on the last day of the year for six straight years.

What happened when I did it?

I got a few clients “live”, and a few return calls that day. In fact, I once got a $3000 direct buy for January from a client who had, earlier in the day,  unsuccessfully tried to reach one of my competitors.

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

In most cases, my clients had already gone home for the New Year’s break. This meant my message was often the first thing they heard when they came back in the office in January, and I’d often get thank-you calls the first week of the year.

Those conversations often turned into money — sometimes quickly, sometimes a few months later.

Holiday cards and gifts wind up on the stack with everyone else’s offering. An email may not even be read. A simple, low-tech telephone call can set you apart from the competition, and put you in a stronger position as 2017 gets underway.

* For a great tip on building your voice mail skills, read Paul Castain’s blog post The Three-Minute-a-Day Phone Workout.


Question: What’s your best tip for staying productive during the holidays? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Note: This is an update of a post I wrote a year ago which generated a huge response. As people move away from desk phones, this may become tougher to do effectively. I almost decided to switch to sending video emails (I use BombBomb for video email, and like it a great deal), but have decided to use the telephone this year and see how it goes. 



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