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‘Tis The Season To Give Up?


What would you think if a football player caught a kickoff on his own goal line, then broke into the clear, but decided just to lay down and get tackled on the opponent’s 8-yard line instead of finishing off the touchdown run?

What if you went to see a blockbuster movie that was supposed to last two hours – but the projector operator stopped the film with 10 minutes left and sent everyone home, grumbling and disappointed?

How much would you complain if the government suddenly decided to raise your sales taxes by an extra 8%?

It amazes me how many small business owners, entrepreneurs and sales professionals lazily coast through the end of the year. They use the holidays as their excuse, as in “No one’s buying this time of year” or “I’m too busy to work on my business” or “Why start something new with just one month left in the year?”

On the contrary, top performers are putting the pedal to the metal right now to get the most out of this final month of 2011.

If you’re willing to just hand over about $8 out of every $100 you could have, then I know some people who’d be happy to take it from you. Because that’s what it’s like giving up one-twelfth of your year.

Now is actually the time to kick your marketing into overdrive, because EVERYBODY’s buying something. Even if your product or service isn’t much of a “holiday item,” there’s a lot more you can do from now until the end of the year. Just as a runner goes all out with a “finishing kick” when he sees the finish line at the end of a race, now that the end of the 12 months of 2011 is near is precisely NOT the time to slow down.

At my last “Chicagoland’s Sharpest Entrepreneurs” monthly event, I taught my members several powerful strategies to make this holiday season the most profitable time of the year. Here is a very basic summary of five of my favorite holiday season strategies:

Appreciation Marketing – This is the time of year when everyone’s thoughts turn to gift-giving and recognition. Not all customers, clients, patients, vendors, partners and referral sources have equal value to a business, so work must be done to assess relative value and divide them into tiers. Then, the business owner, entrepreneur or sales professional must “do the math” to determine what he or she can allocate to spend on members of each tier, and decide what to send them. Doing this properly can pay HUGE dividends.

Referral Marketing – During this holiday season, people are more focused on family, friends, parties – relationships – than at any other time of the year. That makes it the ideal time to use strategies such as contests, gift certificates and events to create loyalty through referrals.

A Reason To Spend – Sharp marketers segment their lists and create specific messages with compelling offers to each group. Upsells and bundles of products and/or services are then used to expand the initial “special offers” into extremely profitable relationships by giving each segment more of what they really want. The key to big results is to segment your list as many times as possible, creating more and more specific offers with specific “reasons to spend” for each specific group.

Marketing To The Affluent – All year long, but especially during the holiday season, sharp marketers focus on the people who love to buy and have money to spend. We all choose which prospects to market to, so why not the rich? Doing this properly means figuring out who these prospects are and where they are (including who has already gathered them for us). Then an effective strategy is developed, using the right language and approach that works specifically with the affluent to give them the experience they desire and to sell them the products and services they want to buy.

Calendar of Events – After each of the above strategies is put together, the savvy business owner, entrepreneur or sales professional will create a calendar or flow chart that includes dates, deadlines, development and execution details for every event, promotion, sales campaign, referral initiative, gift-giving and all other communications and activities to be implemented during the holiday season.

Is all of the above “work”? Yes it is. That’s the good news. It means that basically none of your competitors will do any of it – and certainly not to its full potential.

The question is: Will you sprint to the finish of 2011 giving it everything you’ve got, or will you join the majority who have already decided to give up trying over this final month of the year?

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