Selling merchant services during the holiday season can be as brutal as a nor’easter blizzard.
It’s supposed to be the merriest time of year, filled with family, food, parties, and gifts. For those of us in sales, however, December isn’t such a joyous month. It can be a struggle to meet our goals as many merchants delay decision-making until the New Year.
It’s tempting to ease off the gas for the rest of December, but slowing your prospecting efforts now could hurt you later. Make sure you kick off 2018 in high gear by striking a smart balance between enjoying the holidays and hitting the pavement.
For a healthy start to selling merchant services in the new year, employ these five tactics over the next few weeks.
- Set Goals
It’s easy to get distracted by all the hustle and bustle of the holidays. To keep yourself focused, set goals (for example, a certain number of sales or calls before the end of the year). If you hit your target early, reward yourself with a little extra time off.
If self-imposed goals and deadlines aren’t enough, consider creating a challenge with other salespeople in your network. Whoever reaches the agreed upon goal first can buy the others a round of drinks, dinner, etc.
- Try New Targets
This may not be the time to call on retailers, restaurants or other merchants in the peak of their busiest season. Instead, concentrate on merchants that don’t have a holiday rush. Examples include medical offices, business-to-business merchants and leisure businesses (like bowling alleys or golf courses).
Focus your time and effort on talking to those who will listen. These types of merchants may take longer to sell, but they could wind up being the customers that kick-start your new year.
- Catch Up with Current Clients
If pounding the pavement and pulling doors feels fruitless right now, try another approach. Rather than prospecting, spend some time connecting with your existing merchant base. Stop by for a quick visit, pick up the phone and wish them well, send a holiday card or send an email with seasonal tips (how to prevent fraud, as an example).
Whatever method you choose, the interaction needn’t be lengthy. The point is to remind customers you’re there for them, which helps foster loyal, lengthy (and profitable) relationships. As a bonus, these interactions may uncover problems or needs that you can solve.
- Ask for Referrals
As long as you’re reaching out to current merchants, why not also ask them for referrals? As you know, it’s much easier to get in front of a prospect if you’re referred to them by someone they know, like and trust.
Likewise, use this time to build relationships with referral partners. Connect with potential referral partners over coffee and learn how you can help each other expand sales in 2018.
- Plant Seeds
If all else fails, use this time to create sales materials, blog posts and other content. You can also spend time getting organized, mapping out goals and strategies for 2018 or on other important tasks that tend to fall by the wayside when you’re busy. Tackling these types of projects now will pay off later when sales efforts need to trump big-picture tasks.
If you feel your motivation waning at this time of year, give these strategies a shot to finish the year strong. An extra push now will pay off come January 2nd. You’ll start the year with a full pipeline, while your competitors who took most of the month off will be playing catch up.