Each year around Christmas I share a variation of this post. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
Santa Claus is the greatest salesman who ever lived!
Why do I believe Santa is the ultimate salesman? To start, he has a couple of success stories most of us can’t compete with. First, he’s successfully run the same family business for hundreds of years. There’s something to be said for stability, especially over the long haul.
Second, Santa has a client base that expands every year — no matter the state of the global economy.
Can your business make those claims?
But those aren’t the reasons I believe Santa is the greatest salesman who ever lived. Contrary to what you might think, his success doesn’t come from his business savvy. After all, consider the obstacles he has to deal with.
- Business attire: Santa obviously doesn’t buy into the “dress for success” philosophy. Power suits are fine but a red suit and hat, both lined with fur, is a little over the top in today’s casual business environment.
- Delivery system: Santa’s remains way behind the times here. His “One Day Delivery” is literally that – you get your packages one day a year. He doesn’t seem to notice in today’s economy people want what they want, when they want it, and that usually means now. But the real problem behind “One Day Delivery” might just be his delivery method. I think you’d agree the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, or UPS would be much more efficient than eight tiny reindeer pulling a small sleigh.
- Manufacturing: Some say Santa’s operation is too labor-intensive to survive much longer. After all, he’s competing with Wal-Mart, Amazon, Apple, and other giant organizations. In today’s marketplace, how can any business can get by without automating? Perhaps if he automated a process or two he’d have enough inventory to open this store more than one day a year.
- Efficiency: I realize Santa gives his product away for free but that doesn’t mean it costs him nothing. He has all those elves and reindeer to take care of. Food and lodging are bad enough but health care costs have to be crushing his profit margin! And, what about worker’s compensation costs? If he automated at least he’d save a little money and might be able to take Mrs. Claus on a nice vacation – somewhere warm for a change!
- Branding: All companies change their branding to fit the times and Santa might want to consider doing the same. After all, “Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas!” has gotten a bit old and stale over the centuries.
- Orders: I think Santa could fill orders much faster if only he’d set up a website. And how about replacing all those last minute letters with email, text, instant messaging, or a Twitter account? It has to be painfully slow for him to read all those handwritten letters.
So, all this begs the question, “Why is Santa so successful…in spite of himself?” In business if you continually land new customers and retain the old ones then you’re doing something right. Here are six reasons Santa continually attracts new customers and retains all his current ones:
- He loves his job! Perhaps, “Ho, Ho, Ho,” is his corporate culture and not just some slick branding slogan.
– Could you do the same job day after day, year after year, for most of your life, and remain so upbeat and jolly?
- He genuinely cares for his customers. His goal is to meet everyone’s needs and all he hopes for in return is to see joy on their faces. He personifies what it means to be customer focused.
– Do you get joy from serving your customers?
- He gets to the personal side of selling. Granted he’s not always accessible but he doesn’t expect clients to come to him. When he’s at his absolute busiest, with his deadline approaching and delivery date nearing, he can be seen everywhere talking with his customers. How he can be in so many places at one time I’ll never know.
– How often do you initiate contact with your customers, even when it’s inconvenient for you?
- He creates an experience. A toy is just a toy, except when it’s from Santa. Because it only comes once a year and will be found under the tree on Christmas morning it creates anticipation and builds excitement! That’s so much better than getting something online or from some mail order catalog.
– Do you create an experience for your customers?
- He adds value. When people hear the word “free” they often think “cheap” or wonder, “What’s the catch?” Even though Santa gives his products away we love what he gives us mostly because it comes from him. Don’t you have a few things you value above all others because of the person who gave it to you?
– Do your customers see you adding value?
- He delivers on his promise. Santa does what he says and always delivers; no excuses, no extra charge, always on time!
– Can your customer count on you to be that consistent?
So there you have it, six reasons behind the success of jolly old St. Nick. Did you notice that everything Santa does is within your power to do with your customers? That’s right, there’s no reason you can’t do the same things Santa does. And here’s some welcome news for most of you – you don’t have to wear a silly red uniform while you do those things!
I hope you enjoyed this post and that you and your loved ones have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.
Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses on sales and coaching have been viewed by more than 100,000 people around the world. His blog, Influence PEOPLE, is read by people in 200 countries across the globe.