It’s a Marathon, Not a 100 Yard Dash!

posted: Monday, December 23, 2013

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The beginning of anything is always more exciting than the end, and holiday selling is no different. When the holiday shopping season begins, it’s new and almost everyone is anxious to get going. By the middle of December, however, just about everyone is ready for the whole thing to be over. Customers have the luxury of taking a break or quitting after they are done; salespeople do not have that same opportunity.

Salespeople are in it from the first holiday sale in November to that last add on at 5:59pm on December 24th. It’s easy and probably natural to let up and coast towards the end of the season. Everyone is tired and if you have to enter one more non-business conversation, your head might explode. We’ve all been there, but the professional salesperson fights through it and sprints through to the finish line.

Think about if from the customer’s standpoint; maybe they like shopping at the last minute, maybe their work schedule was such that they had to wait till the end and maybe they just kept putting it off. The reason doesn’t matter; what does matter is the fact that the last minute customers deserve the same level of customer service as the early birds.

When a customer comes in at the last minute to buy a watch for her husband, it’s important that you take the same amount of time with her. Make sure you are taking the time with them, listen to what they want and provide them with the options that fit into their wants.

We’ve also talked about how the holiday season is a great time to build up your repeat customer base and providing quality customer service to a last minute customer is a great way to accomplish that. A customer is going to remember that when they were running around trying to get things done, you took the time to make sure they got exactly what they needed.

Last minute customers also are great opportunities for add ons; they are obviously shopping up against the clock and if they can buy two or three gifts at one stop, then chances are they will take full advantage. So make sure you are asking, “Who else is on your holiday gift giving list?” early on in your sales presentation, then reintroduce your add on items while closing the sale on the first item.

Customers at the end of the holiday season are just as important as those at the beginning; make sure you are providing both with the highest level of customer service.

Next time we will look at the mindset of holiday shoppers; it's not always pretty.

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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