What holiday is this anyway Well, happy whatever


    ’Tis the season to gather with family and friends — to get closer, to share stories and to exchange gifts.

    ’Tis the season to celebrate, to reunite, to remember, to eat, to drink, to be merry, and, er, to sell something.

    ’Tis the season of increased advertising. That’s great news for the struggling media businesses, but short lived once the first of next year rolls around and the after-holiday sales are over — unless they have discovered that the Internet is their friend and that 2010 is the year of the Internet.

    I received a lot of mixed messages these past few weeks: “Our sincere wish for a Happy Thanksgiving,” followed by a sales message in the same card or e-mail wanting me to buy right now because it’s the holiday and I can get HUGE savings or a HUGE discount.

    Which is it?

    Are you really wishing me a great holiday? Really? Or are you just using a holiday as an excuse to ask me to buy your stuff?

    Here’s how to find out if your holiday message (Thanksgiving or otherwise) is sincere or just a timely pitch:

    1. Examine your messages. Who does the wording favor? Are you screaming “Me! Me! Me! Pick Me!”

    Is there anything in your message that’s new? Or is it the same old “Wishing you a happy holiday … Please buy our crap” message that everyone sends?

    If you want to wish me a happy holiday, do it — all by itself. If you want to sell me something, I’m OK with that, too. Just be honest and sincere with both messages.

    2. Where’s the value? What part of this message will I keep? Are you sending me your favorite Robert Frost or Walt Whitman poem? Are you sending me a charming paragraph Mark Twain wrote 100 years ago that symbolizes the spirit of the season?

    Or are you just reducing prices and slashing the profit right out of your business in an effort to sell me something?

    2.5 What are you reading and deleting? Probably the same stuff you’re sending.

    Now is the time to make a difference with value — and value messages. Now is the time for sharing and giving. Why don’t you share something or give something that I perceive as valuable to me?

    The message can still be about you, but one that helps me without asking me to buy something. I believe those are separate messages.

    For example, if you sell clothing, give me a list of five new things to wear to a holiday dinner or gathering — of how to WOW at the holiday party. That’s all! Don’t offer me 20 percent off, don’t even tell me your extended hours for the holidays. Do that in your weekly e-mail magazine or newsletter (oh, wait — you don’t have one).

    So, as I was completing this article, the perfect corporate e-mail arrived. It’s from Dale Carnegie’s offices in New Jersey. Here it is:

    “Jeffrey, Everyone at Dale Carnegie Training of Central and Southern, New Jersey, would like to wish you and yours an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday feast this coming Thursday.

    “As we take the Thanksgiving Day break from our hectic business and personal lives, it is the perfect time to reflect on the things to be thankful for: our family, friends and, yes, our business associates, graduates and future graduates.

    “To ensure your Thanksgiving dinner is a huge hit this year, we wanted to share with you a great Web site by Betty Crocker that lists a number of cooking tips and ideas. If you or someone you know is cooking this year’s holiday dinner, it is a great link to visit (www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/event-occasion/thanksgiving/).”

    I clicked and found every recipe I could imagine, from the most trusted American name in cooking — all at no cost and no pressure to buy anything.

    Maybe you can use this as an example for your upcoming holiday messages.

    Free GitBit: Here’s the holiday tip — be in touch with all your customers with a value message every week and you won’t look like a hypocrite at holiday time. A weekly e-zine would also make you and your business official members of the 21st century. Ho, ho, ho. Jeffrey Gitomer can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail salesman@gitomer.com.

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