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Wayne Ens

Make It Feel Like Christmas Now


While your sales people are boating, golfing, and enjoying the summer weather, it can be difficult to have thoughts of sugar plums dancing in their heads.

But your clients and prospects are planning their Christmas campaigns NOW.

An August 8 report in Chain Store Age suggests that 60 percent of retailers are “cautiously optimistic” about sales in the upcoming holiday season. In their “2013 Holiday Predictions Survey” e-tailer Baynote reported 60 percent of retailers are forecasting revenue growth  in excess of 10 percent.

The report also suggests that 30 percent of retailers will begin their pre-holiday promotions prior to October 1, with more than 40 percent waiting only until early November.
You know, "The early bird gets the worm."

Yet many media account executives will be panicked and running around like frantic last-minute Christmas shoppers, trying to pick up the crumbs left by more professional account executives who captured their prospects' Christmas budgets while they were still in the planning stages.
I can still recall my rookie days when I called on my prospects with our newly-released "Christmas package" only to hear, "Sorry, but we gave our budget to the newspaper just last week."

While it might no longer be "the newspaper," you can bet there are countless traditional and new media reps who will be pounding the pavement around mid-October in the hopes of capturing lucrative Christmas advertising dollars.

You need to plan now for your Christmas sales meeting the first week after Labor Day. And it needs to feel like Christmas!

A properly planned Christmas Sales Meeting can put your sales team in the mood to be the early bird, to be the first in the door to talk to their prospects about the important Christmas selling season.

Here are some of the tactics we encourage the stations we consult to utilize during their early-September Christmas sales meeting:

• Hold it off-premises. And like Christmas gifts, make it a surprise. Forewarn your team you are holding a special off-premises sales meeting right after Labor Day, but don't let them know the theme.
• Surprise your attendees with Christmas music, seasonal décor, and of course, wrap up your meeting with a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings.
• While your team is at the sales meeting, have someone back at the office post the appropriate notices, packages, and Christmas spirit visuals to maintain their Christmas focus upon their return.
• Identify the most high-potential Christmas prospects and categories, traditional and non-traditional, complete with category research, and some sample Christmas campaigns.
• While I'm not a fan of "packages," I'm well aware that there are clients, and some radio salespeople, who need packages to motivate them. If you're releasing station Christmas packages, do so at this meeting and gift wrap each package as your gift to the team.
• Have one of your personalities make a surprise visit to your meeting in a Santa suit, and deliver your special packages and incentives programs.
• Include your Christmas' and New Year’s greetings packages in every presentation and plan, rather than trying to sell them separately later in the year.
• MOST IMPORTANTLY: Don’t forget the two worst months of your year…January and February. When you make your presentation for the holiday season, you’ll find it easier to book the post-season sales and events as part of your package NOW. Once the harsh reality of winter sales slumps set in, it’s much more difficult to talk about optimistic sales projections.

Wayne Ens is President of ENS media Inc., a marketing and motivation consulting firm that specializes in helping small- and medium-sized markets to increase their local-direct sales. If you want to increase your revenues in 2014 email, or make an appointment to see him in the Consultant’s Corner at the RAB Radio Show in Orlando.