The holiday season is upon us, and while that may signal a lull in some aspects of our sales activities, this is the perfect time of year to nurture our customer relationships and cultivate new connections. Our personal connection with customers is the platform upon which we build every future conversation, interaction and purchase decision. These relationships sustain us during difficult times, allow us to consult, advise, and, at times, even challenge our customers. More than any other factor, it is the health and nature of our relationships that determine our degree of influence with customers and their degree of loyalty to us.

So what makes the holiday season so special for nurturing personal relationships? First, it is a highly personal time of year. This season has deep significance to most people, whether they celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or New Year, and it creates unique touch points to connect and explore with clients on a more personal level. That's not to suggest that we ask our customers about their religious beliefs, but a more appropriate exploratory question would be, "This is a busy time of year! Do you have any travel planned this month or around the New Year?" The customer's response will likely set the stage for focused questions around family and specific activities. Many families have unique holiday traditions, and folks enjoy sharing these experiences. Similarly, holiday travel is an excellent topic of conversation and fuel for positive contact, either asking about plans prior to your customer's travel or inquiring after the fact, or both.

Bottom line, the holiday season gives us ample opportunity to expand common ground with customers and cultivate more personal connections that can only support good outcomes for our future sales success.