By: Ted Lamphere
Most businesses do not experience consistent and static sales year-round. Typically, a business will offer a product or service which is more in-demand during a certain part of the year, while less in demand during others. Considering this, it is wise to prep for the off-season before it comes around.
Some people might be under the delusion that the off-season is a period of total hibernation, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The period when business begins to slow is the time during which you should be even more active in maintaining current sales leads, as well as working to generate new leads. In business, taking this time off is simply squandering these opportunities.
To sit back and wait for peak season to return is a waste of time which could be productively put to use. The methods you would use to generate sales during your peak season are probably going to differ significantly from those which you would employ in the slower part of the year; despite this, a truly creative and resourceful salesperson should have no trouble thinking up an approach to gaining leads during the off-season, and leads collected in the off-season could lead to sales during your peak period.
Taking a New Approach
During the period when sales are down, your customers don’t simply cease to exist—they are still out there, and are likely planning their future purchases. It may not be coming for a few months, but by getting to your customers first, you can create an impression that will stick with them and translate contacts now into sales later.
Check Out the Demographics
The dry spell between peak seasons offers a chance to get to know and better understand your customers. You can explore your customers’ demographics, find out what they like about your product and what attracts and drives them. By exploring your customer base, you may even discover an entirely new demographic to whom you had never before even thought to market.
Give it a Personal Touch
The slow season offers a chance to not only get to know what type of person buys your product, but who they are specifically. People are attracted by a friendly and personal touch. In addition, by getting to know your customers more personally, you can tailor your approach to what attracts them on an individual basis. In this way, you can make sure that a customer from the most recent peak period will be a customer during the next.
For example, if you sell car parts via affiliate marketing, you could spend your off-season reaching out to fellow auto bloggers. Get to know them and their readers’ needs. Send a personal email. If the contact information is available, give the blogger a call. This extra effort will really set you apart from the competition.
What a Bargain!
Another approach you can take is to offer promotions during the off-season. There are always a handful of people who will be interested in certain products throughout the year for various reasons, and offering special deals during a period when a product is less in-demand is the proven method for attracting those buyers.
For example, one online company found their affiliate marketing program had a definite upswing during a certain time of the year. The company sells tailgating supplies—like cornhole bags and boards. Obviously, cornhole products are most popular during tailgating season—and sales basically dropped to zero after Christmas. But by offering special deals in the spring and summer, they were able to capitalize on the warm-weather BBQers.
Not only can offering a special deal drive sales during the slower parts of the year, but it can help drive sales later when your product is back in season. The buzz that would be generated by a customer attracted by a discounted price can help to attract more off-season customers, and these same customers can help to draw in more buyers later, as well as be return customers themselves, literally multiplying your business.
Rather than lying dormant during the months when sales are slow, utilize this time wisely – don’t miss opportunities for off-season sales, and likewise don’t miss the chance to lay the groundwork for future sales. Take this time as a chance to explore your customer base, get to know current and prospective buyers, and don’t overlook chances for sales that you might not have expected. After all, a missed opportunity is still a missed opportunity regardless of the time of year.
Ted Lamphere is a business consultant and marketing guru. He regularly shares his ideas on popular business and marketing blogs. If you want to get in touch with him, look him up on Twitter or Facebook.