The Christmas Objection Is Coming Again!!

With the “business year” coming to an end and the festive season fast approaching it won’t be long before media salespeople start to hear those dreaded words: “call me back after Christmas” or “call me back after the holidays” or “call me back in the New Year”.

And what happens when you call those prospects in the New Year?

Mostly, those same people who gave you what I call the “Christmas Objection” still haven’t made a decision or they give you yet another reason for delay or you can’t get hold of them again! Worse still, sometimes they’ll have made a decision to use a competitor, over Christmas!

Has this happened to you? It seems to happen to many of the sales people that I train.  Year in, year out and to be honest it’s a “line” and most sales people fall for it!

The “Christmas Objection” arises every year from around early November and it’s used by prospects because it’s believable and effective. Buyers have found it’s a near enough foolproof way of getting sales people to stop calling them for up to three months.

So the real question is:  Are you ready for it? More importantly have you got a strategy to handle it? Bear in mind your competitors will get this same objection too, but possibly they’ll overcome it!

Firstly, you might want to work out why you are getting the objection.

  • Is it real? Sometimes it is, maybe the prospect is too busy with other things and wants to clear his desk before the holiday break. Or maybe a key decision maker is on leave prior to Christmas or the prospect is about to take a break themselves. Maybe the company budget finishes in December and starts in January. All are valid reasons in the mind of the prospect but none of them have to do with Christmas or New Year.
  • Is it a put off? Most times it is. The prospect simply can’t see the value in what you provide or a reason to allocate time to meet with you, maybe they can’t see the need for advertising at this time of the year, there’s no obvious business reason or they have already made a decision to go with a competitor and are too embarrassed to let you know! Here too, the reasons may all be completely valid in the mind of the prospect but once again none of them have anything to do with Christmas or New Year.

Next step is to work out how to handle the objection and it’s relatively simple. Ask more questions either on the phone or face to face. Not dumb questions but questions that allow you to drill down and find the real issue. Once you’ve uncovered whatever the issue is, you can deal with it. And don’t be surprised if the real issue comes back to what US sales “genius” Zig Ziglar once said: “Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”

The final step is to practice handling the “Christmas Objection” with your other team members – ask the finance, creative or production guys for their opinion on how to deal with it. You might be surprised.

Maybe have it as a training item in a sales meeting with the rest of the team (remember they’ll be in the same boat!). The sales meeting could also be a great way to practice responses and work out strategies for dealing with each of the core issues you uncover – trust, timing, need, money or desire.

Here’s the truth. These days the 24/7 ultra-connected business world doesn’t stop for Christmas or New Year anymore – it slows but it doesn’t stop, so the better prepared you are for the “Christmas Objection”, the better you’ll deal with it. After all who wants to be the Christmas turkey?

About the author: Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in providing training for salespeople and sales managers.  

Stephen can be contacted on email:  [email protected] 

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