It is time for holidays! The four ‘F’s; food, fun, friends and family the good and not so good but hey it is the holidays. For the elite professionals, we find ways to balance the holidays and still not take a nose dip in our profit margin. How many of you have experienced the feeling of starting over when you come back from a vacation? You know what I am talking about you plan ahead taking care of everything you can possibly think of, divide out tasks, complete work ahead of schedule with the hope when you return that you can step right back in where you left off without a hitch in your stride….
Does it always work out that way? Not really, it seems like no matter how much we plan and prepare for our vacation when we come back the inflow of clients has trickled if not altogether stopped. This is the same situation during the holidays except in triplicate because not only are we wanting to enjoy the holidays go figure but our clients want to as well! Not only our clients but our potential clients as well are going into holiday hibernation and this timing is not always in sync with ours. We come back recharged and ready to do some more deals and people are still coming out of their turkey comas.
So how do we stay in touch and shrink the height of the dips and hills, starts and stops associated with the holidays’ or any vacation for that matter? Granted each industry is different but in our experience of assisting with the marketing of a variety of different business there are several things that remain helpful across the market.
First, keep your marketing as visible as ever. Too many companies slack off only pushing out the occasional holiday-themed message when they could still be answering a need. Use your social media and set up strategic posts to happen on a regular basis just as if you were still open for business. You can even profile some of your top clients providing a spotlight on your social media showing them even when you are out of the office they are important to you. Have contingencies in place for the client with immediate needs even the sole ownership companies can have systems in place for time away from the office.
Second, to keep your business in front of your clients which should be your best source of referrals hand write out a few ‘keeping in touch’ cards and mail them the day you leave to hit right in the middle of your vacation or holiday. If it is a lengthy sabbatical away from the office write two and task someone with sending out the second batch. These cards can be anything from a midyear just wanted to say to your client; you are important and a value, to a year in review newsletter with a personalized handwritten salutation.
Third, but by no means final plan a customer appreciation day for when you return. Make sure it is about them and not you getting more business although it will more than likely happen. Open your office for the day send out invitations, emails, social media blasts and call to invite them to stop in and catch up. Let them know this is their day and you look forward to hearing about their business as you enjoy referring business to your clients as well. Put out a modest but definitely nice snack spread selection as food always makes conversation warmer. Finally, prominently place a corkboard on an A-frame with business cards of each of your clients as well as a handwritten one to two sentence testimonial about how awesome they are.
There are many other things you can do to remain in the minds of your clients start with these and keep an open mind. Think of things that have in the past made you smile and say that was a nice gesture. These are definitely items you want to add to the list above so that you too can enjoy a well-deserved break without losing touch and having to start over when you come back to the job you love~ K.Kirkland