Christmas time is a great opportunity to touch base with your clients, business contacts and prospects. It is a chance to remind them (in a warm and friendly way) that you are around and what your business offers, to thank them for their business throughout the year or just wish them well for the holiday season.
Both clients and prospects are more open to hearing from you at Christmas time than most other times though communications should be more personal than commercial in style. With this in mind it is interesting how many businesses are still not talking to their clients let alone prospects at Christmas or making a very token effort at Christmas communications.
Why not take the opportunity to end the year on a good note with a client who will think of you more often when they have potential business in the new year or start building a relationship with a prospect in a warm and minimally intrusive way.
My personal feeling is that it often doesn’t take that much effort but when done right it can have a big impact.
In my previous role as the Marketing Director for a large multi-national, I always took note of which of my suppliers sent me something at Christmas and which didn’t. A bit like Santa checking off the list of who had been naughty and who had been nice.
It wasn’t about the size or monetary value of the gift – it was about the effort they went to. I feel that it says something about the type of company they are and whether they value their clients.
- Company 1 – that I spent six figure amounts with over the course of the year sent a generic email which was obviously distributed through an email blast to anyone on their list – it said to me that they couldn’t be bothered even personalising it, we were just one of the masses and they were such scrooges that they didn’t even want to pay to send a printed card. To me this indicated that they didn’t really value the relationship, they were poor on customer service and they wouldn’t show any initiative or think outside the box on projects.
- Company 2 – Through the year I had only spent about $5000 – $10,000 with this company but they sent this funky blown glass plate in their company colours. They sent one not only to me (the decision maker) but also to some of my staff who they dealt with. What a smart move! Of course my staff and I then discussed the company and the gifts since we had all been sent them so they got a fair bit of air time. I loved that they had been kind enough to remember my staff, who do a lot of the doing through the year. The gift was original, thoughtful and a great representation of their company. In truth the gift did represent the company – they always focussed on the relationship with each of us individually, they made sure they understood our business and our needs, they had great service levels, attention to detail and were always innovative.
Needless to say in the next year Company 1 got less of our money and Company 2 got more of it. Now I am no financial wizard but a couple of hundred dollars to obtain tens of thousands seems like a good deal to me.
So my question to you is what type of company do you want to be this Christmas? What will your Christmas communications or lack thereof say about your business?