When it comes to sales, few people would question that timing matters. After all, you won't have much luck trying to sell a house to a couple that just signed on the dotted line for the home of their dreams. But personal timing of the buyer isn't all that can affect whether someone decides to make a purchase or to hold off. Seasonal factors can contribute to businesses' success with sales. Here's a look at three ways you can simplify your seasonal business strategy for greater overall impact.
In Sesame Street, there's a song that goes, “One of these things is not like the others.”
In business, the saying is more like "none of these are like the others." Different industries perform differently in each season, and should be treated accordingly. For instance, retail saw a huge boom in sales in March this year, while car dealerships saw their biggest sales around Black Friday. If you tried to put the heat on for car sales leading up to March, you'd be largely allocating resources in a trivial pursuit.
When looking to make the most of seasonal ebbs and flows, research your particular industry. For example, say you own an ad agency. Many brands plan the next year's marketing budgets in October or November of the current year. It would behoove of you to work on setting appointments during the end of the third quarter, so you'll be in the door and pitching your services by early fourth quarter before budgetary decisions are finalized.
Capitalize on Information and Impulses
Once you're familiar with your industry's busy season, it's time to gear up to make the most of it. If you sell insurance and you know open enrollment is about to strike, you should consider buying leads a month or two prior. For any business in which leads are the sales department's bread and butter, look into a service like Quote Wizard, where you can buy high quality leads that will help your team sell more effectively in your chosen season.
In addition to purchasing relevant leads, think about your buyer's natural impulses. If your business is selling homemade fudge, you likely see a peak in sales around the holidays. Think about the mindset of your customer at this time, when they're feeling generous toward the people on their gift lists, and opening their wallets a bit more freely. This is a perfect time to upsell your offerings, or present an entirely new product (mini fudge Christmas trees, anyone?). However you approach it, consider what your buyer is thinking during the season, and aim to meet them where they are.
To Push or Not to Push
It can be tempting to force the sales as you get closer to one of your biggest seasons. But buyers will resent feeling backed into a corner, and your team will begrudge feeling smarmy if they're instructed to press the sales. Instead, let your busy seasons be an enjoyable time for both your salespeople and your customers. Think about the concept of customer-centric pressure, by which the salesperson only applies pressure when it's in the best interest of the customer.
If you're a jewelry associate and you're helping a college student on a budget pick out an engagement ring for his girlfriend, think about how you can best serve his needs. If there's a limited sale on princess-cut diamonds that ends over the weekend, you'll want to talk him out of leaving the store empty-handed. But if you know that the same deals will be available in a couple months after he's saved up a bit, encourage him not to take on debt and to wait until he has the money in cash. By keeping your customers in mind, and only applying pressure when it serves their cause, you create goodwill and increase the likelihood you'll have a loyal customer both in and out of your best sales seasons.
If you want to maximize your sales based on the seasons, take a strategic approach. Study your industry and determine which times of the year are optimal for your particular business, then use a service to find individuals who are primed to buy. Don't forget to cater to seasonal impulses, and only push a sale if it's truly in the best interest of the customer to do so. If you let these strategies guide you, you'll see a higher ROI in your highest selling seasons, and a lot more customer satisfaction as well.