Well, this’ll depress you. Sixteen weeks today it’s the day before Christmas Eve – which means that the readership of this blog has immediately divided into three camps:
Those thinking “Fantastic. 15½ weeks before I need to be even remotely bothered.”
The “Damn, this year I meant to do it all in August but…” camp – of which I’m a life member.
And the smug so-and-so’s who bought and wrapped the last present at the weekend. (Don’t worry. Beelzebub has a special place reserved for you.)
So, having admitted that Davnet’s Christmas present hasn’t yet crossed my radar I’m going to risk further wrath (should she chance across this blog) by suggesting that you start to think about your business now, and maybe leave your family until later. Because there are certain customers, clients or suppliers you’ll need to thank at Christmas – as you have done for the last four or five Christmases. So what’s it going to be? A last minute dash to Tesco for however many bottles of red wine you think you need? Or are you going to do something different, something proactive and something that might – gulp – just generate some business?
You can give people two types of present. You can give them a ‘thing,’ or you can give them an ‘event.’ (Or as my wife pointed out recently, you can give them both…)
So suggestion number one for Christmas – as people grow older, they value events over things. A bottle of red wine is a bottle of red wine and will join the others on the wine rack. An event is a memory and for you, the chance to meet your best clients away from work. And we all know what can flow from that. So here are five suggestions in and around York:
• Hire a box at Wetherby races
• Take your clients on a cookery course
• The fans may be unhappy with the chairman, but a box at Elland Road is still a good day out
• Don’t neglect the arts – the Stephen Joseph in Scarborough, York Theatre Royal or the West Yorkshire Playhouse are all top venues
• Finally, if you want to get your clients dirty, take them quad biking.
I’ve stopped short of suggesting zorbing (Google image if you’re not sure), but a little bit of thought and a bit of planning can produce a truly memorable day. Yes, it costs more than a bottle of red wine, but isn’t it worth it to cement a relationship?
And now for your Christmas card…
Many of you will have watched the JK Wedding Video on YouTube. Last time I checked it had 68 million views. (That compares to 20m for Eric Clapton playing Layla, 5m for Obama’s inauguration speech and 300,000 for JFK’s assassination.)
Something really good, really original or really different now has the chance to catch the public imagination like never before – to go viral. Never mind 68m views – if your company created something that got 1% of that number, what might it do for your sales pipeline?
We all contact our clients in December – even if it’s just a card saying ‘Have a great time, talk in January.’ Supposing you created an e-card? Supposing you had a Christmas carol re-written featuring your business? Supposing you self-mockingly adapted Scrooge? This Christmas, more than any previous Christmas, people will re-tweet; they’ll like something on Facebook; they’ll forward e-mails. Create something good enough and your company’s name may well end up in front of far more people than just your client bank.
Yes, it will mean work and time, but there are four months to go before Christmas. Have a think now. You’ve chance to come up with a gift, an event or a message that’s radically different – that your clients will remember long after they’ve forgotten a bottle of wine. And that might put a nice, fat plus in the P&L account…