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How I Avoid Making the Biggest Holiday Sales Mistakes

Business

The holidays can be an extremely lucrative time of the year, particularly if you are in retail. Some analysts estimate that retail stores make 20 percent or more of their annual revenue during the holiday season. But what if you run a service-based business? How can you increase your revenue and avoid making mistakes that can actually kill your sales or, worse, create resentment from your existing clients?


As the founder of a global sales and sales training agency, supporting serviced-based business owners, I find that the holiday season tends to be the slowest time of year. Teams are usually slowing down while they prepare to spend the holidays with family and friends. Yet, as they say, "the show must go on."

Here are the top three mistakes I see service-based business owners make during the holiday season:

1. Provide steep discounts on existing programs or offers.

It's easy to get caught up in the sales and shopping frenzy, which can make you think it's a great idea to offer steep discounts on your existing programs or offers. The problem with that is it could easily offend your existing clients who enrolled earlier in the year and invested at a higher price point. It will also teach your community to not enroll in programs earlier and to wait for the holiday specials, which could have a serious impact to your cash flow throughout the year.

If you'd like to take advantage of the holiday sales, create an end of the year sales strategy that can reward your most loyal clients and create introductory offers for new prospects. I encourage you to think about this far enough in advance so that you can implement an effective strategy without feeling as if your only option is to discount your existing programs or services. It is more cost-effective to retain an existing client versus getting new clients. The last thing you want to do is cause your loyal buyers to feel resentment towards you and working with your company.

For example, I have a client who leverages the fourth quarter to offer a special service that she only offers at the end of the year. In comparison to her other services, it's fairly low priced, and because her existing clients know how amazing it is, they are anxiously waiting to take advantage of it every year. It's also a great way for new clients to work with her, and many of them later invest in a higher-priced program in the New Year.

2. Focusing only on low-priced offers.

I wish I could say that I've never made this mistake myself, but—not so much. One year, I had my team create low priced offers for holiday specials. I didn't stop to think that plan all the way through because my clients usually don't invest in lower-priced services. Needless to say, we spent a great deal of resources to create offers that did not sell. Facepalm!

Don't get me wrong; lower-priced offers may be a great revenue strategy for the right business. However, I've seen business owners focus only on lower priced offers during the holidays instead of offering what their audiences really want. Just because it's the end of the year and you can find great deals in the retail space doesn't mean that clients only desire those offers. Many people make some of their largest purchases during the holiday season because they've saved throughout the year to be able to spend, and they're also often looking for a last-minute tax write off.

Regardless, no matter what time of year it is, you want to make sure you are offering what your audience is excited to purchase.

To make sure you don't fall into the hyper-discount trap, keep your ear to the ground, so you know what your audience desires. How many times throughout the year do you pick up the phone to chat with current or former clients about ways that you can better serve them? You may even survey prospective clients to get their input on their most pressing issues. And definitely don't forget to pay close attention to what prospects are saying during sales conversations. These conversations are gold for structuring ideal offers. Calls like these give you valuable insight into what's exciting for your ideal clients. It's the closest you can come to legally printing your own money.

3. Throwing in the towel before the New Year.

This is probably the most common mistake I see for service-based businesses. It's never too late to make sales for your business. One of the reasons many service-based business owners fall into this trap is that they are tired, and they do not have enough support in their businesses.

The end of the year is a great time to leverage your team and automation to prevent having a lack of sales during the holidays. If you don't already have a sales team, the New Year is a good time to look at ways that you can leverage a sales team to increase your revenue and to free up your time.

On top of that, automation is an amazing tool to leverage for sales. Do you have offers that do not require a sales conversation? Maybe these are the products that you offer early on in the client journey (aka sales funnel). As you're developing your sales strategy for next year, be sure to look at the different ways you can leverage automation to impact your bottom line.

Many of my clients love to take additional time off during the holidays to travel or spend time with their families. I had one client who visited Rome, Colorado, Dallas, & Jamaica between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. During that six-week period away, her company generated over $80,000 in additional revenue. That's the power of having a sales team in place. While you are enjoying some much-needed downtime, the business is still moving full steam ahead.

It takes time to get the right team and systems in place, so you definitely want to make sure you have time to get things in place prior to the holidays.

Remember, the holidays are a great time of year for business. You have a number of options to generate massive revenue and connect with clients during the holiday season. With a little planning and proper preparation, your business can continue to thrive during the holidays.

3 min read
Career

How You Dress is Your Calling Card: Outfits To Fit Every Industry

If you needed to hire a professional to let's say cater a dinner, head your marketing department, or perhaps act as an expert for you on a legal matter. How would you expect them to dress?

I will take a guess here and say you imagine each person with a different look, vibe, and as presenting themselves in unique ways. If their style fell short of what's perceived to be acceptable within their industry, you may even underestimate their skill set. You may question their ability to be trustworthy, confident, or knowledgeable.

You've probably already heard the phrases, "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have" or Look good, feel good." But there's a lot more to appropriate styling for the workplace than just those two outlooks alone.

We, as professionals, must ask ourselves "What should I wear?" Some may reach for a suit and tie or heels and a dress, while others simply throw on jeans and a sweater. But while the latter might be an appropriate style for certain industries, it might not be for others. It is important to understand that different markets often have a distinctive (and often unspoken) unofficial dress code.

You've probably already heard the phrases, "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have" or Look good, feel good." But there's a lot more to appropriate styling for the workplace than just those two outlooks alone. Popular job-posting source Indeed outlines that, "There are varying levels of business attire ranging from "casual" to "business formal." Based on the setting, you can decide which kind of business attire is appropriate."

However, depending on your industry, we may need to get a little more specific Let's break it down so you decide what's befitting.It is important to understand that different markets often have a distinctive (and often unspoken) unofficial dress code.

Marketing & Advertising

The era of Mad Men has passed... Long gone are the days of blue suits, skinny ties, and midday-martinis. This industry has taken a more casual but still presentable approach to dress... Think more like khakis paired with a smart blazer or sweater for or, perhaps, a dark skinny jean with wedge shoes and a silk blouse pulled together with a sweater-knit jacket.

Finance & Law

Think traditional, classic dress. Your clothes should be tailored and well-fitting. These companies usually have strict dress codes, so keep your attire to colors like black, navy, and grey. Shoes should be closed-toe (for women) and a cap-toe or lace-up loafer for the men.

Public Speaking

Here you are open to a fuller range of clothing styles. However, (and this is a big one), make sure you dress for your audience and your brand. Remember, you could be presenting in front of potential clients, and if your outfit is not cohesive to your company's ideals and identity you may leave your viewers confused.

Academia

Casual smart — very comfortable, if you're working in a lab. Think professor-type, right? Bow ties and blazers for men and dress slacks, sweaters, with low-heeled shoes for women. Limit the jewelry and long nails.

Accounting

There are casual days in this industry, usually one or two days a week. Men can wear polo shirts, collared shirts, or sweaters with khakis or dress pants, and dress shoes — a tie is not necessary. For women, conservative dresses, skirts, collared shirts, sweaters, dress pants, and dress shoes or boots are acceptable. But if you work for a more conservative company like Deloitte, you may want to refer to your employee handbook, as you may be expected to dress more professionally.

Software & Technology

Dress like you don't care but don't look sloppy. The tech industry has gotten it's distinct dressing style straight out of Silicon Valley from the likes of Zuckerberg, Dorsey, and Bezos. T-shirts, vests, jeans, and sneakers are the norm. You can find many brands to outfit your day, so it's important to select pieces of clothing that are stylish, modern with a flair… items that say "I care about how I look," though you may not care about fashion.

Style is confidence, expressed through clothing.

With all of this being said, keep in mind that you need to be cognizant of the environment. If you're unsure how to dress ask your human resources department for what is generally considered appropriate.

One last point: dress authentically. You should wear clothes that make you feel confident, clothes that represent who you are intrinsically and professionally. Power up your sleeves, take control of your future, and move forward.

Style is confidence, expressed through clothing.