Mark Frasco - President
Every coming holiday season, we hear reports on anticipated holiday sales. Are they expected to increase this year? Are consumers feeling more upbeat about the coming new year? Did Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales meet expectations?
But what about business-to-business sales during the holidays? Over the years, I’ve heard it all from sales people:
“No one is buying during the holidays.”
“Buying influences are not in the office in December.”
“Budgets are already spent.”
You might guess that I have a different perspective. Every B2B segment and every season have different buying rhythms, but organizations don’t stop buying and buying influences don’t just “call it in” during the holidays.
Let’s look at holiday sales from a different perspective:
Budgets and Budgeting
I don’t know the stats, but I’ve found many times that my buying influences over the years had excess budget to spend in December. They had been conservative during the year and were now releasing abnormally large purchases inside their annual budget. I always found it useful to check in with my current clients to learn how things looked for them in the final weeks of the year. Often enough to keep me engaged, I learned to check in.
This time of year, many buying systems are planning for their spending levels in the upcoming year. Part of that planning is preparing budgets. When my clients are planning their budgets, I like to be involved. Helping your clients prepare their budgets builds stronger bonds in the coming months, as those orders begin to be released.
Rarely do buying influences get “a pass” on completing their work because it is a short month. Everyone is trying to get more done in less time this time of year. I’ve always encouraged my salespeople to be there to help as needed. The days leading up to the holiday often feature a flurry of activity for organizations, including making purchases that are needed for the first weeks of the new year. Be aware that they have less days to accomplish similar outcomes. Be there to help.
Let’s Talk Next After the Holiday
I think a positive outcome of conversations with buying influences in December is one of the most common responses a salesperson hears: “Give me a call after the holiday. We’ll talk then.” I always invited this response. I consider this an opportunity to get something in the books, starting fast in the new year.
This time of year, buying influences are more apt to share what’s new in their organization. They are more inclined to tell you about new products, new projects, and changes that may impact your relationship in the coming year. Ask them what they see coming in the next year. The response could be instrumental to improving your position with them in the coming year.
Additionally, this time of year gives the professional salesperson a reason to share what interesting or useful changes are being made at their organization—things that may conveniently be interesting to the buying influence this coming year.
On the chance that your competition’s salespeople don’t expect much to happen in December, seize the moment. You may stand out, you may learn something important, you may get an appointment in January, or even better, you may get an order. Happy holidays!
Questions or comments? Please contact Mark Frasco at mfrasco@teamCOACT.com