By Paul Dobbins

The holiday season is almost upon us. And while opportunities for increased sales are in abundance this time of year, there are also increased opportunities to drop the ball and ultimately turn off your customers.

So before the holiday shopping rush arrives, take time to check in on your sales team’s skills to see if they’re ready to take on every customer that comes through the door. Seasoned sales pros and newbies alike can stand to brush up on their customer-facing skills, and it’s your job to make sure your team is on track with the right tactics.

To get you started, we’ve rounded up pro tips from our top sales guys on the best ways to boost sales during the holiday season.

  • Reward your customers. Develop a system for keeping track of your most loyal customers. Show these customers you appreciate them by offering valuable special offers or loyalty programs. And don’t forget the power of ‘thank you’ to keep your best customers coming back.
  • Timing is everything. When are your customers most likely to start their gift buying ahead of the holidays? For reference, take a look at last year’s sales and plan out your deals and offers accordingly. Post-holiday sales are an especially good time to move older inventory.
  • Create a digital shopping experience. Customers today place a premium on convenience. Cater to this preference by considering which aspects of the customer experience can be facilitated online via social media ads, email promotions, and more.
  • People-first approach. Customers can sniff out if you’re too keen on just getting the sale and moving them along. Put them at ease by making it clear you place your customers’ needs first. Ask them questions to show you care most about finding the right solution for them rather than just another ring of the till.
  • Engagement is key. While providing a digital experience is important, when your customers are actually physically in your store, do whatever you can to pull their attention from their screens. Show customers you’re interested in getting to know them by striking up interesting conversations that go beyond “What can I help you find today?”
  • Be open to new ideas. Be fresh, creative, and innovative; challenge your team to think outside the box to strategize new sales opportunities. Getting stuck in routines and going through the motions is an easy way to see your sales slip.
  • Individualize customer experiences. Sales should never be one-size-fits-all. Spend a little time getting to know customers on an individual level, and you’ll set yourself up as an expert with recommendations your patrons will truly value.
  • Pump up the value-adds. While it may seem small-scale, offering value-adds—like device protection plans—is a great way to show customers you understand their needs and are considering their interests long-term. You never know—introducing other helpful products and services they may not have known about otherwise is a great way to boost customer loyalty and your bottom line.
  • Show value over price. Know your products top to bottom, as well as their practical applications for various customer segments. Go beyond price to show patrons the true worth of the products and services you have to offer.

It’s important to remember that change doesn’t happen overnight – be patient with your team as they work on the above strategies. Start now, and by the time the holidays roll around you and your team will be ready for your most successful season yet.

Paul Dobbins is Director of Account Development at Fortegra Financial Corporation (a Tiptree Inc. company). Fortegra® and its subsidiaries comprise a single-source insurance services provider that offers a range of consumer protection options including warranty solutions, credit insurance, and specialty underwriting programs. Delivering multifaceted coverage with an unmatched service experience for domestic and international partners and their customers, Fortegra solves immediate, everyday needs, empowering consumers to worry less and Experience More.