It happens every year, in every sales industry: the off-season. Sometimes this is in the early part of the year in the case of car dealerships, sometimes it’s in the summer for local attractions (if you aren’t in a tourist area, anyway). Whenever it occurs, there are important things that marketers and sales professionals can do to help boost sales results.
You can look at this as laying “the groundwork for future success once business picks up again”, or as a chance to “keep the cash coming in all year ‘round.”
Below are some pieces of advice that can help keep the sales engine churning, even when the calendar doesn’t seem to cooperate. The key is to think creatively, strategically learn more about your customers and their needs, and to broaden your horizons.
One way to think outside the box is to explore ways to create off-season excitement. During the slow periods, use your predicted idle staff as an advantage. You have more hands available; maybe offer a shortened expectation for installation — even a day or two makes a difference. If you value it enough, even absorbing the cost of expedited shipping may be a way to fast-track a client during the off season.
Another thing that can be done is to take this time to re-evaluate your marketing process. “The slow season is a good time to take a look at the big picture of your marketing and sales process and try to make corrections and improvements,” according to Gregg Schwartz from Modern Marketing. Maybe there are marketing strategies that are not yielding results and can be abandoned. Perhaps there are other marketing avenues, such as social media, that can be mined for new prospects. With a low expectation of performance, you can take a step back to see what works and what does not.
Learn More About Your Customers
The off-season is a great time to look back at those unfinished projects and business leads that asked you to call them back later. Whether the sale is on the verge of closing or is somewhere earlier in the pipeline, this period affords you extra time to give attention to these clients.
This is also a good time to circle back to check on your customers and solicit referrals. The happy customer no doubt knows other similar businesses that may benefit from your products and services. This is a great time to build leads and prospect them without the nagging concerns of ever looming deployment deadlines.
Broaden Your Horizons
This is a great time to expand your product selection by adding new services. Add Unified Communications as a Service to your already solid managed services portfolio, long distance or Internet offerings? Find new verticals to approach by learning more about products you may have (such as Hosted Fax or Call Center), but do not truly understand. Take this time to explore other products.
The truly great sales professionals do not let an off-season define their success. Engage your leadership, marketing team, and even your partners and customers when you have a chance and make sales, fill your pipeline, and have as great a year as possible.