You're bound to get the dreaded "I'm out of the office until next year" email or the "Get back to me after the holidays" phone call sometime soon. This stall in communication can put stresses on business deals and office workflow, which affects the ability to your job and likely increases the chance of unwanted stress levels during the holiday season.
Sometimes this stall is due in part to your client's travel schedule, but more often than not it relates to the rapport you build with them. For example, say you need press materials or information on a client's 2018 apparel plans. Your client is more likely to be responsive if you've built a strong relationship prior to the impending holiday season. A strong, communicative relationship provides a solid ground for you to press the client for materials or contracts. If there's minimal communication throughout the year, it's likely you'll be waiting until the holidays pass to get a response or definitive answer.
Every year it's bound to happen, so why not take the steps necessary to avoid it all together? This makes it less of an annoyance to the client and less maddening for you.
Here are a handful of precautionary steps to take to avoid the communication roadblock:
- Start diving in early
- Look at past budgets for clients and start the conversation
- Scout out prospects for the new year a couple months in advance
- Ask clients what they want to see in your product line next year
- Establish ad pricing for the new year in early September, noting a Jan. 1 effective date
- Offer bonus incentives for those that commit before December
- Incentivize employee performance
- Grow strong relationships with current clients
- Make monthly phone calls just to touch base when things are quiet
- Send holiday email messages for all the major holidays
- Send thank-you cards just because
- Go the extra mile in creative ways to show clients you care
If you've done all you can to avoid stalling clients and you still get the "catch me after the holidays" response, do your best to pin down a date that you'll be in contact. Over the holidays, send a nice note just to keep you top of mind for when the new year ramps up.