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Here comes Santa Claus, Part 2

As I indicated in this blog last Thursday, if you’re expecting to capture some consumer Christmas spending, now is the time to craft your strategic Christmas sales plan. And, as promised, here are some ideas that could help you arrive at a plan that will work in your dealership.

Timing: Determine the start date and length of your Christmas promotion.

  • The “12 Weeks of Christmas” specials. (Won’t work – still 10 weeks till Christmas)
  • A “12 Gifts of Christmas” promo. Start by offering two or three specially-priced gifts and periodically add others to the list until all 12 are revealed. This gives you reason to contact customers and announce each surprise gift added, etc.
  • The “Countdown to Christmas” promo. Divide the days till Christmas into equal numbers and change the specially-priced Christmas item(s) i.e. the “30 Days till Christmas Special Deal,” “20 Days till Christmas Deal,” and so on. Each change presents a new item and reason to contact/notify your customer/prospect list.
  • The “Daily Deal” promo. For a marine dealer that doesn’t have a full-time IT person, daily frequency can be accomplished by sending customers a list of the upcoming specials for the week, i.e. Monday’s deal, Tuesday’s deal, etc. Emphasize each deal is for that one day only.
  • “Christmas Flash” promo. Flash mobs are in, why not flash sales? Periodically announce to customers a Christmas Flash Sale, featuring a specially-priced gift item(s) but for a very limited time. If, for example, it’s for a Saturday-Sunday Only, clearly communicate the time limit and create urgency to buy before the flash goes out.
  • The Elite Christmas promo. This one’s for your select list of biggest spending customers. Offer this exclusive group some high-end, specially discounted gift ideas for the captain, first mate or crew, etc. This allows you to push high price-point items because, simply, this group isn’t as likely to respond to low-priced items and, perhaps, should only be offered the big deals.

The Deals: Create the complete list of Christmas specials to be promoted.

  • Every department – sales, service, accessories, parts – should be included in some part of the strategic Christmas sales plan. Each should bring their best ideas to the planning table now and the most enticing and viable will be selected to anchor the promotions.
  • The service department, for example, could offer discounts or package significant extras on certain maintenance services(s).
  • The accessories and the parts departments have a wide range of options to offer meaningful discounts on enticing items. But the discounts must be recognizably big and the item(s) in demand or it’s not going to bring in business.
  • The sales department has wide latitude, too. Christmas discounts on a certain model(s) could get a prospect to move. Packaging electronics, future servicing, family “toys” like tubes, skis or wakeboards, dockage or storage, Christmas Eve delivery to the customer’s driveway with big red ribbon, of course – and so on.
  • When the ideas for creative deals seem to end, remember the gift card. The fact is as gift givers, we’re becoming a gift-card-crazed society. In part, it lets the recipient choose something that they really want. And it’s far easier for the giver to “cover the base.” For the boater or angler, a gift card could be the best of gifts and for the supplier there is no discount even necessary. But be ready to provide a nice, appropriate gift certificate.

The Delivery Plan: How you going to get it done?

  • It’s paramount for each special offer that you determine if it’s an in-store only transaction or an online/phone/shipped-to-you deal. And it’s critical this be made very clear when communicating the deal to the customers. Everyone on staff who might be involved in the fulfillment process needs to be aware of the details. There would be nothing worse than having to apologize to customer(s) because the promo wasn’t handled as promised.

Finally, once the timing, items and deals are all set, communicating to the customers is what it’s all about. For ideas and tips on reaching and exciting customers, please check back here on Thursday for the Part 3 of Here Comes Santa Claus.

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