Christmas is coming, the sales are going flat, it's time to put some money in your CRM hat. OK, I realise I'm not getting nominated for poet of the year for that one, but from meeting quite a few business owners at events recently who have said "Well sales always go flat at this time of year"
, it is definitely a very current and significant problem to be explored. Now I'm not saying sales won't dip, and obviously December is a short month, but from what I've been hearing from some people, it's like the world has stopped spinning and we might as well hibernate until January.
From my perspective that's not a view I'd accept (call me stubborn) and as someone trying to push our company forward every year, it's certainly not a phrase that would come out of my mouth, because the minute we accept failure (even for a small period), guess what happens? I was challenged on this view at a recent talk when someone said "You can't be naive about the fact it does go quiet though".
I replied, "In sales, when you go quiet, it goes quiet...simple. Even if the period is 'quiet', I would still want to be the busiest person in the market - and there will be someone who is and it can be you if you're good at what you do".
I'm sure we'll start talking again soon...
In all seriousness though, it reminds me of the last recession. One of the reasons I started Digity was to help give business owners confidence to spend and buy orders again. It's rearing its head again with Brexit and all the Brexcuses coming out. Yes, there are sometimes powerful factors outside your control that will have a big impact on your sales, but cutting back on your activity, repeating the same old things and cutting budget are three factors that you do have control of, and will have a huge negative impact on your sales. Hopefully you get the point - we can all make excuses but if you're not trying something different then don't look past the mirror when the numbers are spiralling.
So with Christmas spirit in-mind, let's be positive! Here are some ideas to flip your situation around and finish on a real high. These things aren't always obvious but trust me, they are all really easy.
TOP TIP: All the latest smart phones we've tested still make phone calls! Who knew...try it.
Ironic huh...the digital marketing guy telling you to get off emails, social media and apps and make a call. Maybe there's something to it?
So this is all well and good and I can tell you're thinking "OK Einstein so what do we do about it?".
Well my friends, get comfy and I'll give you my advice - if you implement at least some of it, I think you'll be surprised at the outcome - and hopefully next year, you'll be on the offensive rather than surfing the net for Black Friday deals.
1/ Let the world know you're busy - but you love it.
If you look like you've stopped or you disappear off the radar, you know what will happen. Someone said to me years ago " If you want something done, ask a busy person"
and that always stuck with me. At Digity there's never a dull moment but that's the idea; we want to grow, we want to be productive and we want more work, so if people ask me if I'm busy then it's easy to answer "Yes it's great and that was the plan"
. That's not a line from a training manual - it's just the way I feel because it's the type of thing I like to hear.
When I ask and people say, "No, it's a bit quiet"
I can't help thinking, "Why?"
and see it as a negative (or a chance for us to help) or they say, "Yeah it's crazy, I can't cope"
in which case I'd also look to see if I can help in anyway but the immediate reaction is "OK no referrals for you then"
. It's a balancing act but think through what you're saying, showing and putting out to get back.
2/ Deals might not get signed at this time of year but they can get made.
We're in a very busy period (it's great by the way and we want more so don't hold back!) but if we weren't busy on-boarding new clients now in time for the new year, I'd probably put on another few stone taking people out to lunch or going out on more socials to try and build relationships and momentum with plans. If your diary is looking quiet for appointments then switch to a more social schedule. Look at potential referral partners if you're in the services sector (which is who this is aimed at by the way - if you're in the consumer sector and you're quiet, please pick up the phone to me asap!) such as bank managers, accountants, marketing agency owners etc.
3/ Look through your pipeline and think about what you can offer them or help with to get something going.
NEWSFLASH! Until your prospect gives you a definitive no, do not close that opportunity off. So many people waste huge sums of money generating leads only to give up after a few calls and a couple of killer emails
. If this sounds familiar, get a CRM system in place asap - Zoho CRM is one we recommend as it's got a good mix of power, customisable elements and is easy to scale with users. Once you get a good plan moving forward via a decent CRM, your quiet times won't be as quiet and you'll always have a pool of prospects to dip back in to.
4/ Give prospects/customers a 'sneak preview' of something new.
This could be a new package, a new product, a way of utilising your core product/service etc. It's not for me to tell you what the new item is - just find one because it might catch some attention at the moment when it would get ignored at other times.
5/ Ask for feedback.
"But what if I don't like what I hear Chris?"
I hear you cry... my advice: keep it in perspective. Let's say you've been chasing me all year to sell me a new software that would be perfect for an amazing agency like ours, but for whatever reason I'm not buying - yet. If we're still taking your calls and not replying to your emails saying unsubscribe
then it's surely worth avoiding another wasted year before you actually find out what's holding me back. It could be budget, it might be I don't have time to think about it let alone implement it, I might be using a competitor (but possibly not that happy, hence keeping you on the radar) etc. There are lots of reasons but until you find out what they are, you can't help me any further. So ask.
If the next email I get from you says " Hi Chris, I appreciate your time so far this year and it feels like there's interest in what we've got to offer but as yet we haven't been able to take that forward. I know when we spoke you mentioned cost was one factor but I was just sat here wondering if there was anything else? If it's purely price, let me know your bottom-line and let me see what we can do - no promises but if I know where you're at, I'll do my best to see how we can help as we'd love to have you as a client. Alternatively, if there is anything that either myself or our team (including support) can help with or you'd like to speak to any of our existing clients, just let me know."
Now this approach doesn't guarantee a sale and you might not be able to do anything with the answer you receive, but at least you know what you're working with. In a lot of cases, it can show you that they're just not the right client for you at this time, so you agree to keep them updated going forward and you both move on. But at least you make a decision which stops you wasting time thinking about the what-ifs and optimistically opening your email every day waiting for that order to drop.
6/ Say thank you.
The end of the year is a good time for reflection and one positive thing you can do is call up someone you have a good relationship with or would like a better one with and thank them for what they've done for you this year. Again, I'll personalise it - if someone calls me and says "Hi Chris, we just had an end of year review meeting and I really wanted to say thanks for XYZ, it helped a lot this year. We've got so many exciting things planned for next year and my diary is looking crazy right now which is great - so much for winding down for Christmas!"
. If I get a call like that I'm only thinking one thing - this sounds interesting, dare I say exciting and whatever I did for that person, it inspires me to do more. Equally if I think there's already a high demand for whatever is being discussed then it drives a bit more urgency in my thought process - either of myself or for introducing others in to the mix and making more referrals.
7/ Set activity targets.
Above are a few ideas of things you could do which cost virtually nothing and can be highly effective. My final key tip is to set an activity target because you want to gain momentum ASAP in order to get some meetings/feedback/appointments to follow-up on before Christmas Eve. So get a list of things you want to do and then set a number of calls you're going to make, emails you're going to send etc to actually make some ground.
Then get cracking... good luck, I hope you're flat out until Christmas, end the year on a high and are pumped up and ready to hit the ground running in January.
Would you like any help?
We help clients make an impact, keep things fresh and push for more success so if you'd like to know what we can do for you, get in touch and we can arrange a free digital marketing consultation for your business: t: 01189 100 012