A personal touch makes for a happier holiday season

While your competitors scramble to get out their holiday cards, why not do something this season that most of them don’t do?

Get personal. Share your seasonal sentiments face to face if you can, or by phone if you can’t.

While sending out cards remains a popular way for business owners to extend season’s greetings, it’s not the most productive way. The problem with those cards is that they can easily get lost in the shuffle. So many of your prospects and clients get so much stuff from so many vendors that they don’t always pay much attention to whom sent what.

Kind of defeats your purpose, don’t you think?

Personal connections in these competitive times have far more impact than cards or social media messaging could ever have. That’s why your seasonal strategy should be to meet rather than message, talk rather than tweet, and call rather than card.

These personal interactions enable you to make a more positive impression. Wishing clients glad tidings and thanking them for past business is more meaningful when you do so in person.

A face-to-face meeting with a client during the holiday season is networking at its best. It provides you with a golden opportunity to solidify your personal relationship. That’s especially important, considering that the long-term value of each client is more than 100 times the value of a single transaction. Your current clients are your best ones.

Person-to-person meetings with clients also enable you to ask strategic questions and get their feedback on your service. In addition, you can learn about their challenges and decide how you might address those challenges in the future. Another advantage of meeting live and in person is that you can read your clients’ expressions and body language, and gauge their true feelings

Savvy business professionals don’t limit their holiday get-togethers to clients. They realize the value of reaching out to prospects, former clients, contractors, vendors, suppliers and even industry bloggers and media representatives. All can be valuable sources of leads, referrals and future business.

Getting together over the busy holiday season can be challenging, which is why you may have to resort to the phone to pass along your holiday greetings.

Will you reach everyone you call? No. Will you end up leaving a good many voicemail messages? Yes. That’s standard operating procedure in an era when Americans spend 3.2 billion hours a year talking to and listening to voicemail.

Nevertheless, sincere personal messages are always appreciated.

A funny thing happens when you call and offer your personal best wishes for the holidays. You don’t mention your services, but those you contact often do, when they return your call. Your holiday call may just result in more business or some good referrals.

So many business professionals have generated so much business simply by calling and saying “hi” to past, current and prospective clients. Calling yours to say “happy holidays” will make your holidays happier — in more ways than one.

Sending holiday cards made more sense back when those you needed to know were not so inundated with an information overload. But that was then, and this is now. And now is a time when a personal touch over the holidays is more important than ever.

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