I wish it could be Christmas everyday

Stewart Woodruff talks about the lessons that need to be learned in the run-up to the festive season

15 Oct, 18

Owner of MBK Design Studio Stewart Woodruff says take lessons from the run-up to the festive season and encourage consumers to commit to a purchasing deadline all year round.

By the time this edition reaches your desk, you should be well into the run-up towards the festive season, with it becoming more and more pressing to complete projects before the big man comes down the chimney.

Although you have advised clients well in advance, there is always a Christmas rush, you will always find those who don’t believe you.

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Despite us having an eight-week order book throughout the year, there are those who think we magically have spare capacity in the run-up to the festive season to squeeze them in, just because they haven’t planned far enough in advance.

So, if you have not already started by now, I would suggest you advise all your clients that have not confirmed quotes the Christmas rush is on.

If they want their new project before the turkeys are eaten, they had better make a decision.

Create purchasing deadlines

But why do we leave the chasing and chivvying until Christmas?

Why can’t we give our clients deadlines throughout the year to help them to their decisions?

After all, the big boys do it all the time – ‘Sale must end Bank Holiday Monday’ – so why can’t we?

Even if we don’t want to be in that market, there is no problem with using deadlines to assist clients.

We rely on a steady flow of business and, surely, once we have done all the work and laid out the proposal in front of the client, all we want is an answer?

So, why are we not reminding them of our presence and advising them of deadlines that are approaching?

We should be keeping them informed as to how busy we are and that, if they want the project completed by a certain date, they must consider our substantial workload.

Close the deal

You are not using sales techniques to coerce clients into signing, you are being transparent.

You are certainly busy, so there is only a finite amount of work you can tolerate.

So, in order to give them your best service, they need to understand your restrictions – after all, all they want is your best possible service.

If your presentation went smoothly and there were no objections, then just ask for the order!

A friend once told me a story about the number of times he followed up with a customer – there were 25 consecutive contacts!

Keep in contact with your customers, tell them you are really busy, and remind them that it takes six weeks to get the product they want. That is ensuring they’ve made the order in enough time before Europe’s mass six-week exodus over Christmas!

While this is certainly relevant for the festive season, make sure you apply this strategy for the whole year.

Check out Stewart Woodruff’s column from the September issue, where he talks about how to spot and stop saboteurs in your business.