For many small businesses, the winter months of January through March are a slow time of year. You might find that after the holidays and the New Year, some of your sales are slowing down. How can you get your business to pick up steam during a slow time of year?
Here are a few quick ideas for how to cure your winter sales slowdown:
Revisit your “cold” sales leads: Are there any former customers who you haven’t heard from in awhile, or old sales leads that went cold or fell silent? Use this time to get back in touch with them and see how they’re doing. They might be ready to buy from you again or to re-start the sales process.
Create new content: Slow times of year for your business are a great time to spend on creating some new content marketing pieces – such as updating your website, publishing blog articles, or creating new white papers or infographics to share with prospective customers. A slowdown in sales is a good chance to bulk up your pipeline of marketing content. Every new piece of content that you publish – on your website or as guest posts on another industry website or publication – is a potential first impression to introduce a new customer to your business.
Get busy on LinkedIn: LinkedIn is still an underrated social media platform for business networking, especially for B2B companies. If you haven’t done so in awhile, use your slow time of year to bulk up your LinkedIn profile, join some new LinkedIn groups, and start some conversations with people in your industry. LinkedIn is also an ideal way to do research on prospective buyers for your B2B services or products.
Join a new club: When was the last time you attended an in-person networking event or joined a business group or community organization in real life? Online marketing is great, but there’s no substitute for meeting with people in the real world. You might find that the contacts you make in real life – by going to meetings and showing up and creating live conversations – are especially powerful and valuable. People are more likely to remember you from a real-life conversation than they are to remember yet another email in their inbox.
Write letters: Don’t rely too heavily on email or social media or digital technology. Do you have a prospect who you would love to get in front of, who you know would be a great fit? Try the old-fashioned approach of writing them a letter – hand written, on paper! Everyone is bombarded with email and digital interruptions; you might find that “snail mail” is more effective than you thought, especially if you do it in a targeted, limited way.
Revamp your sales scripts: Has your cold calling script gotten stale? Do you need a new elevator pitch to introduce yourself to prospects? Has your business changed or expanded or shifted focus in a way that requires you to re-think your basic sales speech? If so, use this slowdown as an opportunity to revamp your sales pitch. Update your speech with the latest vocabulary that is most relevant to your industry. Make it shorter and more focused. Practice in front of a video camera and ask a friend or colleague to critique your performance.
Try one big new thing: Have you been wanting to try a new marketing tool, buy new software, or sign up for a new industry conference or trade show? Do it now! Slow times are an ideal occasion to lay the groundwork for future success by investing in new opportunities for marketing or networking.
Do a few little things every day: On the other hand, sales success is usually not the result of just one “big thing” – it comes from the steady discipline of doing lots of small things every day, every week, and every month throughout the year. Make a list of small but significant actions you can take in your sales and marketing processes. It could be something as simple as “send an email to former client” or “make 5 cold calls every day.” Whatever it is, if you can just break down your marketing goals into small, specific steps, you’ll be more likely to keep building momentum and making progress.
With the right attitude, you might find that a sales slowdown is not really a “bad” thing at all – it’s an opportunity to do some meaningful long-term work to improve your marketing and lead generation processes. Next time you have a short-term “slow” season, don’t feel bad – take action. Even if your phone isn’t ringing today and sales inquiries are slow, there are lots of easy ways to invest in your future sales success.