Most industries have regular cycles of slow time. This is often around holidays periods like Christmas, New Year and other cultural or religious occasions. But it could occur for other reasons such as seasonal sales peaks and troughs, or end of financial year issues.
Have you ever wondered how can you keep your sales busy during these slow times?
In a moment I’ll give you four ideas on how to keep your revenue flowing when the rest of the world slows down, but first a few important points.
Not everyone is on holidays. This is a simple point but one that is often lost amongst the holiday plans and seasonal priorities. And many of those who do take holidays may have shorter breaks than they used to. So make sure you’re working with the facts, not just a general assumption that “It’s not possible, because everyone’s on holiday”.
Don’t leave it until the last minute. You really need to plan ahead to make sure you’ve got options. Planning for industry slow periods needs to be done months in advance. Leaving it to the last minute may be okay for some, but most of us will find the opportunities have gone elsewhere.
These ideas usually work best when you have an existing relationship with a qualified client. So work hard to establish the relationship, and get your client to understand that you really can help them. When this is achieved you’ll often find your client is willing to consider changing their timing, and maybe even waiting a little, to have you do their project.
Did you notice I just said a “qualified” client?
Here’s a few tips to help you qualify your clients. Make sure your client:
- Has a need for your services and/or products.
- Has an interest in what you can do for them.
- Has the motivation to do what is required, including making a decision.
- Has invested some time with you, getting to know you and how you can assist them. This can be a good indicator they are willing to work with you and may respond favourably to an offer.
OK now for those four ideas to get projects lined up for the slow times of year:
1. Make it known.
Clearly tell your clients that you will be available over the holiday period. Don’t assume clients will not want to work with you. Many clients will have extra time available to focus on what you can do for them, and to work on making progress with you.
2. Offer incentives to buy from you during the slow period.
There’s no need to “give away the farm”, but you can be creative about how you tailor an offer to suit the occasion and stimulate clients into action. In reality your offer could attract new sales opportunities, or it could bring forward demand/orders/projects that may have happened at a later date. Either way you are generating revenue during the slow times.
3. Generate extra leads earlier in the year.
One of my clients is about to have the first New Year period ever with projects on their books to start in January. Typically their industry is seen as “quiet” over the New Year period. Initially they didn’t believe they would be able to secure work to be done over the usual December/January holiday period. But during the year this firm took a different approach and generated enough leads, and managed them correctly, to take them through into next year.
4. Stay in touch.
Be proactive and call your clients to:
- Check their progress
- Help them plan ahead
- Do some research
- Ask for referrals
Take the time to communicate. Clients have their own concerns and priorities that may keep them from thinking about how you can help.
Remember, holiday periods aren’t always slow for everybody. Stay vigilant and plan opportunities for the slow times ahead.