The holiday season is upon us, meaning your time is your most restricted resource. Don't waste it chasing down one of these all-too-common sales myths.
1. Black Friday Kicks Off The Holiday Season
The Myth: It's the holiday sales weekend that for some retailers represents more sales than they see in an entire summer, meaning you can increase your profits by hosting a Black Friday through Cyber Monday event.
The Reality: It's not the start of the holiday season. You can kick off your holiday sales or events as early as you want. Or better yet, run a promotion after the Black Friday-mania settles down. (There are a lot of people who refuse to shop on that day.)
2. The Sale's The (Only) Thing That Matters
The Myth: Big crowds mean big sales which equals big profits.
The Reality: Big crowds can mean big sales, but it also means a very crowded store filled with cluttered aisles and surly, overworked staff. Is that boost to your bottom line worth alienating your regular customers during the busiest season of the year and risking one (if not more) bad reviews on social media?
Make sure your staff is patient, smiling and accommodating—give them several breaks throughout the day, and keep some free treats like cookies and water stashed in the back. Offer those same treats to your customers—a bottle of water or a small bag of pretzels can go a long way to keeping the peace in a chaotic store. You can get the sale and a return customer.
3. Consumers Hate Holiday Shopping
The Myth: If you've ever been in a mall during the holiday retail season, it's easy to see where this myth comes from. People are in bad moods; they're grumpy and unfriendly. Holiday shopping is stressful.
The Reality: Richard Feinberg of the Purdue University Retail Institute found that most shoppers enjoy their holiday shopping despite the stress. Anything you can do to alleviate the stress intruding on that enjoyment can create new regular shoppers who return to your business again and again long after the holiday season is over. Try creating zones of quiet, offering a cup of coffee, or having a safe place they can stash their bags while they browse.
4. Networking Takes A Break During Holidays
The Myth: Everybody is extra busy during the holidays, which means business-to-business clients won't come to networking events and potential sales leads will resent any attempts to make contact. There's no point in "digging your well" between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.
The Reality: Networking doesn't vanish, it simply changes. You'll find fewer faces at your local Chamber events, but those same contacts are sipping eggnog and singing carols at holiday events all over town. Don't accept this excuse to skip making connections.
5. You Can't Take Time Off
The Myth: Everybody wants time off during the holiday season, which leaves just you—the captain—to keep the ship running. You can't possibly take any time for yourself or your family if you want to start the new year in any kind of good business shape.
The Reality: Holidays are the culturally designated—and accepted—time to refresh both yourself and your connections to the people you hold most important. Giving yourself time to do exactly that isn't just something people will understand ... it's something you need to do if you want to start the new year with energy and a clear picture of why you do what you do. Plan the time in advance, let everyone—customers and staff—know you'll be taking time off ahead of time, and enjoy the true meaning of the holidays.
What's your best holiday success or horror story? Share your joys and lessons with the community in the comments below.
Jason Brick has contributed more than 2,000 blog and magazine articles to local, regional and national publications and speaks regularly at writing and business conferences. You can find out more about Jason at www.brickcommajason.com.
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