Updated: Nov 2020
Do you stop prospecting during the holiday season? While you're putting your efforts on hold for two months, you're missing the opportunity to remind prospects that you can help them when they are ready to make financial decisions. This can create a domino effect of cascading problems.
Millions of customers to keep happy
Whether you believe in Santa Claus or not, children all over the world believe (there's even a rather large and old believer from Polk City, Iowa). Santa's got a big job to do. No time for breaks. We’re -- I mean -- they are counting on him and his tiny workforce to come through on the evening of December 24th.
With tiny hammers in hand, Santa's helpers are grinding it out 364 days per year. No one can dispute their work ethic. They work nonstop for cookies and hot cocoa and do it with a smile. They begin on December 27th (Santa gives them 1 day off), and don’t take a break until December 25th. They have to, right? If you think about it, they don’t have a choice. Kids all over the world are counting on them.
In order to stay in the mind of their target audience, they can’t let up. After all, it’s their customers' belief in the magic that makes Santa’s sleigh fly. They must work hard to keep the magic alive and prepare for the gift deliveries.
That is why they are the best in the business. No one even comes close. Not even Amazon or Target can touch them. They know that if you want to stay on top, you can’t take a month or two off and expect to keep your market share.
It’s a common trend with industry leaders
McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Apple, Verizon, Ford, Mercedes, and many more keep the full court press going all year round. They never know when the consumer is going to be ready to make their next purchase. They don’t want to be replaced by their competitors in the minds of their target audiences.
The next time they are hungry for a quick bite, McDonald's wants them seeing golden arches. When they get thirsty for a soda, Coca-Cola wants to be bubbling up in their heads. Verizon wants to ring in their heads when its time for a new phone plan, and Ford wants to make it TOUGH to forget them when it's time for a new truck. Don't you want to be on every prospect's mind when they think of making a financial decision?
Closed for the holidays
Why has it become acceptable in the financial services industry to “wind down” between Thanksgiving and New Year's? I hear excuses like, “Everyone’s busy with the holidays,” and “It’s hard to reach prospects,” or “People don’t attend workshops (even virtual ones) in December.” Well, if that is your attitude, you are probably proving yourself right. It will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
However, there are advisors and agents who put the pedal to the metal. Before live events were limited -- the turkey carcass would hit the trash and you'd find them hosting workshops, nurturing prospects, holding client-appreciation events, and other activities to stay engaged and connected with their target audience. And they could still do it now, if not in-person, than virtually.
These achievers gain valuable market share in their communities and claim more real estate in the minds of their prospects. While their competitors are in the living room with grandpa Pat and crazy uncle Joe taking naps to the lullaby of football games on TV, they are filling their calendar with appointments and new opportunities to serve the community.
What can I do this year?
If you are determined to stay focused this holiday season, what can you do to get a jump on your competition? There are a few simple and easy-to-complete ideas that will get people in your community talking about you. The ROI can be tremendous if you’re willing to do what others are not.
For example, in the past, our firm has hired a photographer for a Saturday holiday photo shoot. Invite all of your clients and prospects. Ask them to show up at the office with their families dressed for the holidays. Fill the air with holiday themed music, and have refreshments at the ready. Your staff will greet your guests, and their family members. This may be the only chance your clients get to take a photo with their family this year. Make sure you provide all of the guests with a thumb drive containing their photos and rights to re-print. The photographer should cost you less than $300, and the refreshments will cost less than $200.
This may or may not work for you and your clients, but get creative. Find a way to celebrate even if it's via Zoom or using some other video conferencing software.
If you are willing to spend a little more money, you can order pies for each client and prospect from your local vendor. Keep the selection to 3 or 4 choices. Let your clients choose one for their holiday feast in advance. Arrange a Saturday in December to have them stop by the office to pick up their pie.
A friend of mine gave away 94 pies last year. It cost him $752. He received referrals and repeat business. The revenue generated from the new business more than made up for the cost of his gesture of goodwill.
Albeit a bit more conventional, you can always host one last (virtual) workshop for the year. Our experience shows that the second or third week in December is an excellent time to hold another one. Think about it: Your competitors are not, and you are. Simply put, your mailer is more likely to get more attention than it would during other peak times of the year.
Can’t I take some time off?
Am I saying that if you want to achieve greater results than your competition you can’t take a month off from prospecting and marketing? YES! That is exactly what I am saying. You can’t afford to have that degree of inconsistency in your business if you want to stay on top.
The best of the best in any profession grind harder than everyone else. That’s why they are the best. It may look like they are an overnight success come January 2nd, but they have been working at it all year long, 12 months straight.
Be the exception this year between November 25th and December 31st. Don't stop prospecting. Your competitors won’t know what hit them. They’ll wake up New Year’s morning with a hangover and blurry eyes, while you’re off to the races.