Winter is pretty tough; it can be cold and bleak. Unfortunately, for a lot of businesses winter correlates with a slump in trade. Often we accept this as part in parcel of being a business owner and as a result fail to plan for this time of year.
A wise person once said the best thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise and is not preceded by periods of worry and depression (or something like that).
But it doesn’t have to be this way! By planning ahead and getting our sales funnel in order we can stay on top of things so we are prepared for winter and with that ready for the prosperous spring and summer that follows.
Here are some ideas for getting ahead of the winter slump.
Always be prospecting
We say prospecting is a 24/7 activity, always be looking for your next client. This may be as simple as noting down business names when driving through your local industrial area, reading the local paper and sharing your suspect list with colleagues. Take note of what is going on in the business community, who else can you add value to?
Target specific businesses
Many of us attend networking and referral groups, but more often than not attendees stand up each week with the same spiel – “Hi I’m so and so from so and so business, we specialise in this and that if you know anyone who is interested, please get them to give me a call”. The problem with this is it’s a rare occasion when someone actually says to a colleague, “Hey I’m looking for something, do you know anyone who does that?” It’s an even rarer occasion that this occurs when you are actually looking for the referral. So instead, at your next event, target referrals and businesses you would love to work with and ask for them by name. See what happens.
Use Winter as a time to reskill your sales team
Sometimes no matter how much we prepare; there will still be quiet spells. Use this time to upskill your sales team; look at their KPIs, their weekly sales activities and their sales funnel. When you are a growing business, you must constantly review your salespeople, their sales process may be working for them but is it working to grow your business?
Review your current clients.
They say it now costs ten times as much to bring on a new client as it does to maintain an existing client. So for every dollar you spend on retention of existing clients you will need to spend $10 to gain a new client. Now is a good time to review your current clients who haven’t bought off you in the last six months. Consider how you can add more value to their business. You may have a range of products; your client is buying products A and D from you but who is providing B and C? Your clients already know and trust you; it is your responsibility as a provider to make sure you are fulfilling all their requirements.
I hope these ideas help, if you implement just one it could be the influencing factor that makes the rest of this winter and the next more profitable and less stressful. Stay warm everyone!