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Accept the invisible Xmas gift

01 Dec 2006

As you start to participate throughout the festive season in functions that are loosely referred to as the “Christmas drinks thing”, what an opportunity it brings to all of us in the sales profession to build on existing relationships, create new ones and also review how we can best use these opportunities to cement sustainable relationships into the coming year.

If you see Christmas functions as an obligation then I suggest that you’re insane.  However if you see a function as an extraordinary friendly and creative environment through which to demonstrate how much you really care about another individual and the company they represent then you are certainly on the right track. 

Unfortunately some people refer to this time of the year as the silly season.  We trust that insanity doesn’t automatically follow being just a little silly.  The New Zealand Sales Institute’s definition of insanity can be best described by the following two statements:-

“If you keep doing what you’ve always done and you expect the result to be different – you’re insane”.  “If you keep doing what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got”.

So …….. why don’t you use this silly season to do something different? Start to consider every customer function as an opportunity to exceed someone’s expectations, to personally thank clients for their support during the year and make as many people as possible feel special and important.

Seize this Christmas season as an amazing opportunity and use it differently.  Stop attending these functions just because you have to or because there’s free drink or some food on offer and treat every single opportunity as a treasured and important networking activity.

It’s hard to imagine any better selling environment which is so congenial to building relationships than Christmas drinks.  How good would it be from a sales point of view to have Christmas drinks once a month in every office in New Zealand?  How much would we pay to be invited to or sponsor the Christmas drinks each month?  I think we all know the answer. 

This year try re-evaluating how you feel about the invitations you get to Christmas functions and use it as an opportunity to do things differently.  If you aren’t able to make it then call in advance and apologise.  After all, you’d do this in any other sales call, why should Christmas drinks be any different? Make sure you present your best self during this activity.  This may be difficult for some especially if it’s the fourth or fifth function on the same day.  However as a sales professional you are continually on show and your behavior is inescapably linked to critical factors such as professionalism, integrity and excellence.

Let’s recognise that we are not insane and that we can stop doing what we have always done and change our behavior and actions to be proactive in building, maintaining and developing excellent relationships.

The New Zealand Sales Institute wishes you all a safe and prosperous festive season and a fabulous New Year.  Remember – “people are not interested in how much you know, they are far more interested in how much you care.”

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