Halloween is a frightening time on its own, but, in sales, when you have to look ahead at the last two months of the year, you look on with dread at the slowest time of the year, that time when all your clients want to push it to FY14.
Wouldn’t we all like to be booming with sales year round, without a care in the world? It sounds incredible, but let’s be honest, unless you’re a seasonal business or in the vast world of retail, the winter months can sometimes get a bit scary. During our first year as a design and marketing agency, we were averaging steady sales throughout the year, and with steady sales came no worries. However, when December rolled around, it became a different story completely. All of those frequent sales seemed to disappear and nearly every response to a lead became a “let’s wait til the start of the new year and hit the ground running then,” which is a solid idea but not when every client gives you the same retort. So, our December came and went and our business was left deep in the rabbit hole.
As any entrepreneur will tell you, pulling yourself out of a hole will happen over time, but, for us, planning to make sure it didn’t happen again started the first day of the new year. That year, our business made sure to follow a few key concepts to ensure we didn’t lose out again during the dead winter months.
Three ways to prepare for winter’s worst
- When the sales are coming in during your busiest times make sure you are storing away some funds for those few months that are less than merry, that way you can enjoy your holidays and not be in mourning.
- Secondly, in the months prior to your business apocalypse sell Sell SELL! With apps like Quote Roller that can assist in closing sales, you will be setting yourself up for steady work and consistent clients that will hopefully continue through the winter months.
- Lastly, there is a fact to keep in mind that is key to landing end-of-the-year sales. When dealing with larger clients and corporations you will find that they often have budgets set aside for the entire year and may be sitting on unused funds that need to be spent before December 31st (lest they lose them for the next year.) So, plan ahead and target those clients that need to use up any last-minute funds before the new year, giving them a head start and you some peace of mind.
Reasons to hope for the best
Now that we are aware of ways to prevent a holiday mishap, we can address the often phrased reply of “Let’s wait till the start of the new year.” It has a nice ring to it, but there are aspects of sales especially in the graphic design realm that clients don’t often take into consideration. New campaigns and new designs for a new year take time. If prospective clients want to revamp their image for the new year, taking the time during those winter months to work on those revisions will be beneficial to their business and yours. On the flip side, if you are the small businesses taking a hit during the slow months (like we were,) take this time to really think about marketing strategies for the new year. Standing around and waiting for business to get better isn’t the best use of time, but strategizing for the upcoming January will leave you and your business accomplished and ready to start.
All in all, there is no reason to be scared of the “dead” months. With strategic planning and storing away some funds (like nuts) for the end of the year you can approach those slow times with confidence and proactivity in mind.
There is no reason to call it the dead of winter anymore.