Why you may not want to prospect in December

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Editor’s Note: While this week’s post is somewhat aimed at those in print media, we all can learn the lesson of proper timing and prospecting.

In the print media business, we often look for leads and prospects in competing publications. This usually pans out very well, as clients who advertise in competing publications have already bought into the benefits of print advertising. It is our job to counsel them on the benefit of OUR print advertising product(s).

For 11 months out of the year, this is a good plan. We have opened some previously closed doors using this method. But, when December rolls around, that all changes.

Somewhere around Thanksgiving (or earlier), businesses go into “holiday marketing mode.” Gone are the normal, run of the mill ads. Now the majority of advertisements carry a holiday theme, complete with photos of Santa Claus, reindeer and a lot of red and green ink.

Industries that really don’t have anything holiday-related to market will don the “look of the season.” Can these ads run in our publication(s)? Yes and no.

Yes

If your publication(s) have an upcoming holiday edition, then by all means, make the offer. But act quickly, as holiday advertising budgets are different than normal budgets — and they dry up fast.

No

The majority of the time, good marketing consultants will shy away from the “quick hit” of a holiday ad. In order to build a long-term relationship, and thus long-term success, a quick hit misses the mark.

Retailers are trying to land impulse buys during this season, and other businesses are merely offering their well wishes for the season. Both of these work as part of an overall marketing plan during the year, but not as an “introductory” effort.

Another downside to this type of prospecting is lead time. Many publications have already begun work on their January editions, which eliminates the need for holiday-themed ads.

What do I do then?

Just because you shouldn’t prospect holiday ads/clients in December does not mean you shouldn’t prospect at all. This is a great month to touch base with clients you have contacted (but not closed) throughout the year.

While many budgets for the new year have been set, many are still being completed. It is a great time to go from the back burner to the front burner in the minds of these potential clients.

I’m not in sales. How is this post relevant to me?

As my friend Jerry Frentress says, “We are in sales all the time. Our number one product is us.” December is a time we can thank those who have chosen to do business with us, give us employment our referred us to others during the year.

That being said, many others are doing the same via Christmas cards. Make sure whatever gesture you choose, it stands out in a sincere way. Send something tangible, even if just a hand-written note. You have no idea the kinds of dividend it will pay in the long run.

Welcome to December. Now make the most of it.