Would you really dare to give each client a gift of $500 each this Christmas? What about something worth $2000? Or maybe $5000?
You think I'm joking right? I mean, here you are struggling with your 50-cent marketing budget and I'm giving you the key to your bankruptcy. At Christmas time, too!
Marie Ain't No Santa Claus!
Nope! She's just like you and me.
She can do the Ho! Ho! Ho bit, until she's faced with the prospect of expensive client gifts. Oh sure she wants to revel in the spirit of giving, but her bank balance is screaming for some mouth to mouth resuscitation. And that's something she can't ignore.
What's Worse Is Marie's Clients Probably Won't Even Like the Gifts!
Look at yourself. Did you really like that burgundy sweater you got last year? Or that gift basket full of calorie-ridden chocolates that made you wish you hadn't seen them at all?
Let's face it. Murphy's Law kicks in bigger and bolder at this time of the year than any other. On average (and often because you're buying gifts in bulk) you're giving your client a gift that's so far off the mark that you might as well throw it in your own trash can and save him the trouble.
How Can Marie Play Scrooge and Santa Simultaneously?
There's one simple concept every business ignores. It's called "Spare Capacity." Hotels are never totally booked, flights are never quite packed to the gills, and by golly, most businesses like yours and mine (no matter how busy) always have some free space and time.
Marie could use this factor to her advantage. If she approached my business, these are the steps she would logically follow.
1-2-3, Cha, Cha, Cha (Here Are the Steps!)
Step 1: It's all in the way Marie puts it. If she simply asked me to speak to her clients, I might decline, but if she made it extremely tantalizing, I'd be only too willing.
“How would you like to meet with 20 new clients, that would be very keen to do business with you?”
That kind of question would get my curiosity wound up pretty quickly. She can then explain how she would be introducing me to 20 of her top clients. All I had to do was offer each of them an hour of my time. If I did a good job, I would get a whole bunch of new clients that would be quite eager to meet me.
Let's say I charge $500 for a consultation. Marie could qualify her clients well, and give them each a voucher to meet up with me. In this consultation, they would have the opportunity to throw any of their marketing issues and I would have the chance to wow them with my fancy footwork.
Step 2: Once we're in agreement, she could create a voucher that she can give to her clients. This voucher offers them the specified time at my convenience (I only need to meet them in my free time). This voucher would offer them the benefit of some radical, unusual marketing either via the net, phone or in person. To make the deal sweeter, Marie could offer me 20 hours of her time to meet my clients.
Step 3: We give these vouchers to our respective clients for Christmas. We tell them that we've bought them a gift that will help them tremendously in their business and that gift is worth $500 or $2000, as the case may be.
Any one of those solutions would be worth anything from $200 to $20,000, depending on what the client did with the idea.
How does that compare with your $20 gift right now?
Where Do You Start Looking?
There are no rules. Just because you sell products, it doesn't mean you have to do this Christmas swap with products.
If you sell products like beds, start looking at chiropractors, massage therapists, interior designers. If you look around you, you will find dozens of businesses that will be more than willing to play "Christmas gift" if there is something in it for them.
If you sell services…ditto. Look for services as well as products. Every one has spare capacity. Services are most highly valued because they're abstract and based on the person themselves, but you can find products that are sitting in someone's warehouse that they'd be glad to have you take off their hands, in return for access to your top clients.
Best of all, this solves the problem of the suitability of the gift. Wouldn't a business be more excited by a highly prized service than another daily planner?
Why This Concept May Not Work for You
Marie has got to make sure that I give solid information in the consulting session to her clients. Sales pitches are a no-no. Your swap must be a REAL gift, not some shoddily disguised sales pitch.
Pick your "Christmas Partners" carefully. A lot could go wrong here if all they're seeing is dollar signs.
The second reason why this may not work for you is sheer laziness. You might find it easier to step into a gift shop and blow $1000 on gifts for your clients. It's easy and it beats having to knock on doors and trudge through snow or sun (depending on where you live on the planet).
Hopefully You're Not That "duh!''
When you give your gift, all you're doing is trying to make your current client happy (and that's great!). With Marie's concept, you're actually getting a chance to meet another 20 new clients.
Say that quietly to yourself: Twenty new clients without you having to do any selling. You don't even have to spend any advertising or marketing moolah to get them in the door. Best of all, they will actually be grateful to have you over.
Does that send a chill down your spine? What if you could do this deal with three people just like Marie? Would 80 appointments be good enough for you?
Are You Going to Have a Great 2003 or What?
No one ever told you about Santa Scrooge did they? Well, now that you know, what are you going to do about it? This rocks, my friend. Now go out there and create a New Year that's really worth big bucks in your balance sheet.
If you do, the next time your banker hears Ho! Ho! Ho! he'll know it's not Santa!
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