There’s snow in the air, logs on the fire, and the mistletoe has been strategically placed around the office.
It can only mean one thing – it’s beginning to look a heck of a lot like Christmas.
But, before you close up shop for the holidays, grab a mug of hot chocolate and gather around the fireplace. It’s story time, and we’re going to share ten Christmas stories for you. Each comes with a lesson for your business to help you boost your cold sales, all courtesy of the holiday season.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.
Story 1: The brand who learned to be consistent
Once upon a time, there was a business brand who didn’t want to know what it wanted to be. One moment, it was all sleek and serious. The next, it decided it wanted to be crazy and fun. It would change its color scheme all the time until it eventually forgot what color it was in the first place.
Whatever it tried, nobody paid it any attention, so it decided to give up and just stay the same. But something strange happened. As time went by, people would remember the brand. The more it stayed the same, the more people remembered it. And the brand found out it hadn’t needed to change after all; it was fine just the way it was.
Take a lesson from Christmas branding:
A jolly bearded chap, dressed in red and white. Conifer trees covered in tinsel. Elves on shelves.
All those aspects combine to create an easily recognizable brand for the holiday season. They’ve become shorthand, a quick and easy way to bring Christmas to people’s minds.
- They’re simple
- They’re visual
- They complement each other
So what’s that got to do with sales?
If you want your company to be the first in your prospects’ minds, you need a clear and solid brand in place. It doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, the simpler it is the better.
But it has to be consistent! If the colors constantly change, if the type of tree is different each year, then you wouldn’t have a brand. You’d have a mess.
Action: Analyze your brand. Is it easily recognizable from your competitors? Is it simple and consistent?
Story 2: The Scrooge who almost ruined Christmas
In ‘A Christmas Carol’, Charles Dickens introduced us to Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge had a rather interesting take on Christmas:
Not exactly the kind of person you’d invite to your office party. He was a miserly man, a penny pincher who only cared about himself. This made him about as popular as a plate of sprouts.
If you want to avoid a visit by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, now’s the time to get generous.
Now, you’ve put a lot of hard work into your product/service, so you may struggle with the idea of discounting.
But with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas offers and Boxing Day sales, this is the season your potential customers are out there hunting for bargains.
Bear in mind, customers are savvier and are looking for genuine deals. UK consumer watchdog Which? found a whopping 87% of ‘deals’ were the same price or cheaper than their Black Friday price at other times of the year. If you want to keep your customer’s trust, be transparent with your offers.
Action: Take a look at your products and services and see if you can offer a genuine discount.
Bonus Action: Watch ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol.’ You can thank me later.
Story 3: The story-telling that touched customers’ hearts
Every Christmas, companies compete to see who can come up with the best advert.
British retailer John Lewis has built a strong reputation over the years, mainly thanks to their clever use of storytelling. This year’s effort, featuring Elton John, has been watched on YouTube over 11 million times at the time of writing (already more than last years ‘Moz the Monster’ effort).
The adverts are clever, linking John Lewis with the idea that ‘some gifts are more than just a gift.’ The adverts are professionally polished, costing millions to produce. But John Lewis also has a history of producing great little stories in their own right, such as the Man on the Moon,’ an emotional tale where a girl gets a present for the lonely man who lives on the moon.
Chances are you don’t have the same kind of budget as John Lewis, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also use storytelling to boost your sales.
It doesn’t need to be a high-quality video or an epic 10,000-word blog post. Just tell a story about your customer, and how you can help them with their quest.
Action: Clearly identify how your product or service helps your customers, then try building a simple story around that. Remember—the customer is the hero of the story, not you.
Story 4: The business who became part of something bigger
I know it’s Christmas when I start seeing the Coca-Cola advert on the telly. For me, it’s become intrinsically linked to the holidays. In effect, it’s become part of the Christmas brand, amplifying its own brand.
If you can find a way to link your product/service to something else, to something bigger, you can also increase your reach.
This one isn’t just restricted to Christmas though. Are there annual events specific to your industry you can either sponsor or speak at? The chances are there’ll be some event relevant to your business taking place in the next 12 months.
For example, here is a list of conferences around the world that B2B tech companies should be checking out in the year to come.
If your budget doesn’t stretch to sponsoring massive events, then how about working with complementary business to cross-promote each other’s services?
Think about what other services your ideal customers would need, then find professional businesses in that sector. Both you, the other business, and your customer will benefit.
Action: Find events or companies that are linked to your service, and reach out to see how you can help each other.
Story 5 – The email that went around the world in one night
Physicist Arnold Pompos isn’t afraid of tackling the tricky questions of science, the ones that keep us awake at night. That’s why he worked out just fast Santa would have to go to visit every home over Christmas night; a sleigh-sizzling 4,705,882 km/h (approximately 220 times faster than the flight airspeed record, or roughly equal to the speed I’ll check my phone when I get a new notification).
While that’s pretty impressive, and I don’t want to take anything away from Mr. Claus’s achievement, he’s got nothing on email. Email can cross the world and reach your prospects in the blink of an eye. Plus, it doesn’t need to take the rest of the year off to recover.
Now, while I wouldn’t recommend you email every home in the world in one day, I’d definitely encourage you to email your prospects and customers. Obviously, if you’re running a promotion (see our second story) over the holidays, you’ll want to make sure your list knows about it.
But even if you decide to take a break over the holidays, remember emails are for life, not just Christmas.
Action: Start planning your holiday/new year cold outreach campaign today.
Story 6 – The Nutcracker who defeated the Mouse King
One of the most famous ballets of all time, the Nutcracker is a Christmas story all about toys, curses, and a seven-headed mouse. You know, the usual stuff. The Nutcracker goes into battle and saves the day by defeating the evil Mouse King and living happily ever after.
While your customers may not be battling seven-headed mice, I guarantee they are battling something. Your job is to identify those struggles as they relate to your business. Always remember that your customers aren’t interested in your product/service. They’re interested in overcoming their challenges, whether they’re personal or business related. The Nutcracker didn’t want a sword; he wanted to defeat the Mouse King.
In your cold sales, make sure you spend enough time dealing with the specific problems you’re able to help your clients solve. Research shows we’re loss averse, meaning we’re more likely to go out of our way to avoid a loss than secure a win. We’ll make twice as much effort to avoid losing $20 than we will to gain $20.
Demonstrate how you can help your customers defeat their own personal Mouse King and you will never have to look far for sales.
Action: Identify your customer’s ‘villains’ and spell out how you help defeat them.
Story 7 – The child who was left Home Alone
One of my favorite movies, when I was growing up, was Home Alone. If you haven’t had the pleasure, the movie covers negligent parenting and what happens when a child, Kevin McCallister, is left alone in a house targeted by burglars.
How was one child able to stand up to two nefarious criminals? He came up with an ingenious collection of traps and managed to keep the thieves at bay. It’s like the Saw movies, but for kids.
He didn’t wait for the thieves to break in before he went to work though. As soon as he realized the danger, he began his preparations, pouring icy water onto steps and setting blow-torches at head level.
While the majority of you shouldn’t be using blow-torches in your sales (and you certainly shouldn’t be thinking of your prospects as criminals), you need to take a leaf out of Kevin’s book and make preparation a priority.
If you’re emailing your prospects or getting on calls without doing the proper amount of research, you’re going to end up disappointed.
Kevin was able to outwit the villains by anticipating exactly what they were going to do. He knew what they were going to do before even they did.
Do you know your prospects that well?
You should know your prospects enough that you know exactly what they’re going to say next. You know what their goals are, what challenges they’re facing (see story 6), and what their objections are.
It’s tempting to skip over the research and get right into the meat of making the sale, but preparation will pay off many times over.
Action: Research your prospects, especially common objections.
Story 8 – Rudolph and the red-nosed USP
Ah, poor Rudolph. Mocked mercilessly for his very shiny nose, he was excluded by the other, more normal-nosed reindeer. However, when the weather turned bad, who did Santa turn to? That’s right, Rudolph and his bright red nose were able to guide the sleigh on its 4,705,882 km/h journey through the mist and fog.
In any business, it’s important to know what your red nose is. What makes your business unique?
To be blunt, statistically, you’re unlikely to be the best or first in our field, unless you’re able to really narrow down your niche. You will never be the first accounting software company, and you may lack the resources to be the best. However, you could possibly become the first/best company providing accounting software designed exclusively for media companies based in Austria, or something else equally specialized.
Just like Rudolph, your unique selling point (USP) might even be something other people look down on.
‘Oh, you’re a small business?’
Great. You’re far more agile and provide a more personal service than your larger competitors can dream of.
‘Oh, you’re more expensive than your competitor?’
Great. That’s how you’re able to provide a far superior service.
Whatever your USP is, don’t be ashamed of it. Avis famously embraced being second in their industry with their ‘we try harder’ campaign.
Make sure everyone knows the reason they should be doing business with you.
Action: Identify (and promote) your USP
Story 9 – It’s a Wonderful Life
George Bailey is having a bad Christmas. His uncle has lost a lot of money his company desperately needs and now the police have been called to arrest him. He’s thinking of ending it all when his guardian angel comes to the rescue.
To convince him his life is worth living, the angel shows him what things would’ve been like if George had never lived. George learns a valuable lesson, the angel gets his wings, and everyone lives happily ever after (including the evil Mr. Potter, who kept the money George’s uncle lost).
It wasn’t enough for the angel to show George how wonderful life really was. He had to show him how bad it might’ve been before George learned his lesson.
As salespeople, we know it’s not enough to list the features of our product; we have to make it about the benefits. How will our prospect’s lives improve as a result of using our service?
But sometimes, even that’s not enough to motivate them. They put off making a decision until later and carry on as they always have.
In that case, you need to channel your inner guardian angel and show them the consequences of not taking action. Remember, people are naturally loss-averse, so show them what their inaction is costing them.
Action: Show your prospects what a world without your solution looks like.
Story 10 – The salesperson who took time to recharge
Once upon a time, there was a hard-working salesperson. She’d had a good year, and was close to hitting all her targets. However, the end of the year can be a strange time for businesses, as the salesperson found out.
She was sending out of emails, making lots of calls, but no matter what she tried, nobody responded. It seemed like everyone else was winding down, planning their office parties and looking forward to the holidays.
Rather than enjoying the holidays, the salesperson became stressed and miserable.
Look, I get it. If you’ve got a quota to hit and limited time to do it, of course, you’re going to do your absolute best. Good for you!
But it’s also important to take some time to recharge.
The American Institute of Stress reported that 61% of Americans are stressed over work, with an annual cost to employers of $300 billion due to stress-related healthcare and missed work. Over in the UK, 74% of adults report feeling so stressed that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope at least once in the last year.
It’s simply not worth sacrificing your health to hit your targets.
However, by taking the necessary time off to recharge your batteries, you can actuallyb boost your productivity.
No matter whether you celebrate Christmas or not, please, take some time to switch off.
Action: Enjoy the holidays, and start the new year with a bang!
I hope you enjoyed our collection of Christmas stories. Start applying the lessons in your business today and you can look forward to increased sales all year. Now go ahead and enjoy the holidays guilt-free.
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