Do you find your business suffering from low or slow sales in the first quarter after Christmas? Perhaps the lead in to Christmas is slow for you and therefore cash flow is tight in January and February.
Many businesses hang on to their money over the holiday period and delay paying invoices. Most of us have experienced this to some degree, be it as an employee, employer, manager, sales rep, service provide or simply an observer. There are ways around this.
What do we normally do about it? We might send Christmas cards in the hope of a sale, catch up with clients for drinks or a meal, or just send a lazy email. At worst, we even put off paying those bills until the new year instead of looking for a sale. The trouble is, when it comes to looking for the lazy sale, everybody else is doing the same thing. It’s 101 herd mentality and it’s no wonder that these practices are not generating decent results. Think about it. Your mailbox is full. Your email inbox is full. People are even jamming things under the door. How can we expect to stand out and have an impact when the number of voices has tripled, quadrupled and even spilling out of our virtual and physical mailboxes!
We must try something different.
Perhaps even a purple cow, as Seth Godin would put it. I believe that we must disrupt the competition and throw a spanner in the works. We must look outside of our industry for ideas on how to cut through, boost sales, and ultimately build a fantastic new relationship. Relationship based on service, love and problem solving. For some, that word ‘love’ is unsettling, and perhaps that’s why they are not getting the results that they want. We have to love what we do, we have to love serving our clients and we have to love problem-solving. Our customers and clients can see right through us when we don’t love what we do. they can smell it. And if we’re not solving problems for our clients then what are we doing for them of real value?
Throw a spanner in the works
Here’s a great way to throw a spanner in the works and go for that new relationship, or at least that great sale.
- Identify your best selling service or product
- Identify your Best Buyer, the customer or client or company or prospect that you really want to build a relationship with.
- How does your product solve their problem? Could you write an engaging letter to that ‘prospect’ that’s so compelling and authentic that they find it hard to ignore?
- Now, write down five ways that you would normally market to them. Maybe it is love letters, like the idea above.
- Now think of five ways that you wouldn’t dare market to them.
- Now look outside of your industry for ways that you could market to them that are unexpected [Sir Richard Branson has a knack for this strategy]. List at least 15.
- Now think back to the last time you were so compelled by a ‘sales pitch’ or an offer that you had to buy, you simply couldn’t resist. What did it look like? How was it delivered? Did you even know that product or service existed? Was it already on your wish list? Was it recommended to you? Was it from an existing supplier or brand who you were already familiar with?
Amongst all the ideas now that you should have listed, there should be some predictable ones, exciting ones, boring ones, gimmicks, unexpected ones and authentic, service oriented ones. Do gimmicks really work or are they one hit wonders?
Let’s try this. Out of all the ideas that you’ve created, which is the most memorable and authentic combination?
I’ll tell you what works well for us, but first – hopefully you’ve done the exercise above and not skip through and skim read this communication, as most of us honestly do. Who’s got time anyway. This is why what I’m going to suggest to you what works well for us. It’s a handwritten letter with an outline of a problem that we can solve for that client and the invitation to discuss it for just 20 minutes.
Everybody has got 20 minutes to spare, even you.
Got another 20 minutes, then bake a cake for one of your favourite clients. We did. They want more.
A final word of advice. Get it out there! Don’t delay. There are no failures, only lessons. Perfection cripples. Sloppy success is better than perfect mediocrity. Test it and measure it.
I would love to hear your ideas and escapades, and the results that they bring you.
To your [baking] success.