December 13, 2011

A Reason for the Season? The 12 Touches of Christmas

This isn't about "five golden rings" or "seven swans a swimming."

Today, we're not talking about "lords a leapin'" or "maids a milking."

I want to talk about some realistic, doable reasons to contact your clients, customers or friends and family. This doesn't need to start on the 12th of December. Heck, it could start the 6 days before Christmas and then conclude the 6 days after Christmas. In fact, that might give it more legs...

Day 1 - Call to wish your contacts "Happy Holidays." - No designation or religious implication. Just a great phone call to let them know you were thinking about them heading into this festive season.

Day 2 - See Day 1, just add the next 10 people on your list. Same message, same emotion.

Day 3-6 - Admit it...if you just made this simple, yet easy, call (possible a 15 second message at most) to your last 50 clients or personal "bullseye" people in your database, you'd have more personal contact and valuable conversations in these six days leading up to one of our biggest holidays than at any other time of the year.

How long could 10 calls a day take you? Even if you still have shopping to complete, take your list of contacts with you. 2 calls between stores means you can "shop and service" at the same time.

Sample dialogue: "Greetings ________________, I was just out doing some last minute shopping and I was thinking about you today. I just wanted to call and say hello and wish you and the family "Happy Holidays." How's the new house? Is it all decorated for Christmas?  (or "Do you have your tree set up yet"...or "Does your new neighborhood do lots of decorations outside?")

Christmas Day - No prospecting allowed. Spend the day with family and friends and count your blessings. Turn off your "sales instincts" for this one day.

Day 7 - Touch base with some of your "sphere of influence" and invite them out for coffee, lunch, cocktails or an evening out. Any night between now and New Years. This is a typical "dead time" for many people so it just might be the ideal time to meet up for breakfast, lunch or a holiday beverage and talk about life, family and who knows?...Maybe people they know who might be looking to buy or sell in 2012. Maybe their own familial "life change" that could include a new house?

Day 8 - See who might be celebrating a birthday in late December or January.

What's that? You don't know who has a birthday in December or January? What a great reason to call then, no?

 "Hey Mr. ________, I am updating my database for 2012 and I'm trying to make a point of calling all of my friends because I want to have a reason to stay in touch in the new year. Can I get you and your family member's birthdays so I have a reason to keep in touch? Would it be okay if I stayed in touch with you in 2012?" (Let me know how many people tell you "No, we'd rather you drop off the face of the earth and forget about us)

(Trust me...if this is said with a mix of passion and genuine honesty, it will be a great call. - If you have to fake the honesty, please save you and the client the time and skip the call. The insincerity will show through your voice)

Day 9 - See who might be celebrating an anniversary in late December or January. What's that? You don't know who has an anniversary in December or January? What a great reason to call.

"Hey Mr. ________, I am updating my database for 2012 and I'm trying to make a point of calling all of my friends because I want to have a reason to stay in touch in the new year. Can I get you and your wife/husband's anniversary so I have a reason to keep in touch in the years to come?"

(Trust me - see Day 8)

Day 10 - "You know, over the holidays, I have run in to a lot of people who have asked me about the real estate market. So I've decided to put together a real estate newsletter/update/blog letting people know about what is happening in our city/community/neighborhood. Is that something that you would be interested in?


"Great. What's the best email address to send this to? I'll make sure you get the newest one immediately.

"By the way, who do you think will be the next person to need real estate help in 2012?"

Day 11 - "Happy New Year to you (and your family)" - This is a perfect dialogue for those clients of yours that you just don't have that great relationship with but still would like to maintain contact with. There's a good chance that they won't want to have much dialogue with you either.

It's not that they don't like or respect you. It's just that they aren't very social people...and you are. So make the call, be polite and friendly, maximize the chances that they add your name and brand to the top of their mind...and move on to the next call.

Day 12 - "Happy New Year. I am just making some early calls today to wish you a safe celebration and to wish your ____________ (insert favorite college or pro football team, college basketball team or hockey team) good luck in their game this weekend.

"I am trying to grow my reach on social media in 2012. What is your Twitter handle? I'll make sure to follow you and will try to tweet you during the action this weekend."

Maybe you meet up to catch a bowl game, a playoff game or just to grab a few Christmas beers at the local pub to catch up. Whatever you do, it's gonna be better than sitting there and waiting for the phone to ring, right?

So what are you going to do? Will you actually put into action these ideas or will you just sit back and wait for 2012 to arrive?

Just like the gifts you'll be receiving in the next few weeks, some will "fit you" perfectly while others will not work so well. That's the same thing with business development ideas. Not all ideas are "one size fits all."

What ideas will you be using to build your business? Are there any other "reasons to call" your clients that I didn't mention? Drop them in the comments box below. Maybe we can all learn some new "hangover remedy" to start the New Year.

Until then, if you do nothing else over these next few "days of Christmas," find a way to build relationships, solve problems and have fun.

Those are the gifts that everyone will love and size, color or flavor doesn't matter.