The other weekend, at the company children’s Christmas party, I was Santa. For a couple hours, I was the center of attention! The children squealed with delight and hugged me. Their parents smiled warmly at me. Everyone except for a bashful kid or two wanted to sit on my knee. I even had cute young elf groupies! I was the most important person on earth!
Once the photos were taken, the candy canes distributed and the presents handed out, everyone moved on to other entertainment. I think it was a magician. All of a sudden there I was, alone, just a sweaty guy in a red velvet suit. I trudged off to a dark office and quietly changed back into my street clothes.
As I sat in the dim light, listening to the children and parents laughing and clapping as another rabbit was pulled from a hat down the hall, I realized that the ups and downs of being Santa for an afternoon were not that much different than being a sales person at the end of the year. At year-end, everyone is happy to see you and wants to know what you have in your sack. Do you have a wee candy cane for the top line? Did you bring a gift-wrapped deal for the good boys and girls who have been working so hard in their offices all year?
It’s a jolly “Ho! Ho! Ho!” and hugs all around when the sale team arrives with orders piled high on their sleigh! In fact, we’ve grown to expect that their magic workshop will come through every year to help us meet our targets. Of course we make sure these yuletide heroes feel special when they once again deliver the goods in December.
Then January rolls around. The holiday goodwill has faded away, new quotas are set and the only sack a sales person is accused of carrying is full of sand. It’s quite a transition – from Santa to sandbagger over the space of a couple of weeks.
So this Christmas, please spare a kind thought for your sales team. Raise a glass of cheer to those jolly men and women who keep us all employed during the year through their hard work and relentless optimism. It’s tough being a sales person but never more so than at year-end when you carry the added responsibility of being Santa. It’s a responsibility that most sale people I know are happy to bear, though. I guess it must be a nice change from pulling rabbits out of a hat during the rest of the year!