Christmas In July

By Drue Lawlor, FASID
Director of Coaching, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting

Use the lazy days of summer to help fill your pipeline now by tempting clients to plan ahead to prepare their homes to be “design ready” for the fall and winter holidays. Why not nudge clients to start planning (and hiring your firm) early and help them (and you!) to avoid tight deadlines and challenges that brings with it.

In your marketing plan include a focus on advantages of being prepared for holiday entertaining – family and friends – parties and overnight stays, etc.

Consider partnering with a charity for a Christmas in July fundraiser – design an event that reaches out to your ideal clients and promotes your business while supporting a worthwhile cause/charity. Make it fun and use social media to promote it If your ideal clients are relatively local, you may want to identify a locally known charity or fundraiser. Several ideas are funds being raised for: a veterans’ memorial; to provide a playground in a low income area; to help a group supporting families in crisis; or maybe to renovate the local animal shelter.

Partner with a few businesses who share your firm’s culture and ideal clients. You could reach out to a few local restaurants, wine/beer resources to not only partner with you for this event but also offer drawings for their “products” – Maybe each partner in this event offers a coupon and/or special gift for every attendee who RSVP’s ahead. Those other businesses may also benefit from encouraging attendees to plan ahead for holiday entertaining and out of town visitors. Financial planners – who can be ideal partners who share your ideal clients – could encourage attendees to setup a meeting to plan ahead for the added expenses of home renovation, holiday entertaining, etc.

Encourage each business (AND the charity) when they send out invitations to invite friends and colleagues to the event. Again, if you offer gift/coupon/”reward” for those who RSVP ahead you will have a better idea the number of attendees.

Everyone, no matter what their income, loves a bargain. So brainstorm with your partners in this venture to identify what can be offered by each of you that would be viewed as a definite bargain – while helping each of you to fill your pipeline with ideal clients: new, current and past. Beyond what you might offer everyone who attends as far as a special offer, you might think of one or two special drawings that involve all of the businesses involved. It might be a catered holiday party (for a specific number of people) with living and dining rooms decorated for the holidays, and small gifts for each guest (which could be provided by businesses who don’t have a “product” that fits this scenario – such as a financial planner). Whatever the “prizes” or gifts offered, they should relate to and give a “taste” of the businesses of those participating. Remember that the purpose is to promote all of your businesses.

Finally, don’t lose the momentum you have created – have a plan for follow up after the event.

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