Everyone in the hospitality industry works tirelessly throughout the holiday season: planning, cooking, trouble shooting, and managing hard-to-please clients. This is followed by a race to close the books before finally enjoying a well-deserved holiday break. Two scenarios are likely to follow:
Scenario 1: The Horror, the Horror!
- Many hard-earned kudos and pats on the back for a job well done.
- Down time from December 20th until a few days after New Year's.
- A January filled with a belated office party, extra time chillin' in the break room, cleaning the file drawers, and posting pics of your holiday successes.
- Snow day! Stay home with hot chocolate and good movies.
- A last minute getaway over Valentine's Day weekend.
- Commerce hasn't stopped but you sure have....
- No revenue in the sales pipeline.
Do the math. In this scenario, your company may have missed out on 2-3 months (that’s 15-20%) of the sales calendar! You missed the chance to beat the previous year’s numbers. You handed your competitors a big head start.
Small businesses must sell hard all year long and there is a way to do it:
Scenario 2: A Sales Hurrah!
- Enjoy a much-needed rest and family festivities over the Christmas and New Year's weekends. Even attach an extra day off on either end.
- Consider the week between Christmas and New Year's a prime selling time.
- Get on the phone and reach out to business owners (decision makers) directly. (Note: the executive staffs of many small businesses are in their offices during this week, working to get a jump start on the new year. Therefore, they are accessible, have fewer pressing deadlines, and there are no gate keepers to hinder your sales efforts!)
- Create aggressive sales activity quotas to kick off your new year. Start a contest to reward the salesperson with the best first quarter sales.
- Contact your holiday clients and ask for referrals. Offer them an incentive program.
- Anticipate the flood of bridal inquiries that arrive at the first of the year.
- Host intimate open houses for new brides, planners, and key clients - now that the holiday hubbub has died down, they'll be happy for a night on the town.
- Prepare your specialty menus and marketing plans for the Super Bowl, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Passover, etc.
- Network for success in February at the Catersource Conference.
- Fill your sales pipeline.
Everyone in our industry knows to anticipate a robust fourth quarter but that’s no reason to snooze through the first couple months of the year. The smart approach is to ramp up sales throughout the first quarter. This will set a pace for the entire year and, rather than the horrifying loss of 2-3 months of sales time, you can be well on your way to a meaningful increase over last year’s numbers.
That’s definitely a reason to cheer “Hurrah!”