The holiday season is busy for a lot of people. In fact, the National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to grow between 3.2 and 3.8 percent during the 2017 holiday season. But in the B2B world, often sales slow down toward the end of the year. This can make scheduling sales calls a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s actually a great time to strengthen your customer relationships. And you can use the slowdown to your advantage. Here are four tips for keeping your momentum going to close those end of year sales.
Some salespeople assume that scheduling sales calls isn’t a good idea in November and December because customers are so busy. They may be busy — but that may be the best time to reach out. Your customers may be relieved to get a quick check-in call from you. It gives them the opportunity to re-order items that have sold well. Since they probably haven’t had time to call you.
If you think your customers are feeling frazzled, why not bring or send over some coffee or other treats. “It’s just something that you’re doing for them that’s building goodwill,” says entrepreneur, business coach and trainer Jan Spence. “It’s that touchpoint and you are inviting that opportunity for them to possibly say, ‘I’m so glad you’re here. Here’s what I need.'”If you think your customers are feeling frazzled, why not bring or send over some coffee or other treats. Click To Tweet
Also, remember that not every company’s fiscal year is aligned with the calendar year. It may be months away from the year-end budget crunch. So they may be hoping for that touchpoint.
When you’re trying to drum up some end-of-year sales to help your bottom line, why not explore some ways to help your customer feel good about the deal? Using specific incentives, price promotions or price-matching strategies can be really effective. You can offer incentives to your best customers to stock up now on popular inventory they’ll need early next year. Or, cut the volume pricing quantities. It might be as simple as scheduling a sales call to offer a small discount if they place an order before the end of the year. If your margins can support it, it’s a good way to get your numbers up.
It’s always exciting to get new inquiries. You need these leads to eventually close a sale. But qualify these prospects as rigorously as you typically do or else you might find yourself wasting precious time.
“When we’re in the sales process and we’re qualifying, I think we need to act very, very quickly,” says David Mattson, CEO of corporate and sales training company Sandler Training. But, in fact, it’s worth taking the time to clarify. Especially at the end of the year, you need to ask if the prospect is looking to order for this year. Or are they thinking about something months down the road? It can be tempting to try and make that quick sale before December 31. But getting a clear idea of timing will help you determine if it’s worth scheduling that sales call and how much time to actually spend on the account before year’s end.
If you primarily do business with B2C companies, look further afield to extend your business. As Forbes notes, B2B markets don’t have such a rigorous selling season around the holidays. That might be a new avenue to explore. For example, if you sell items that could be given as gifts, consider promoting them to companies as incentives that can be awarded year-round. Spence suggests also looking to your network for referrals into new markets and customers. It helps to have other people working on your behalf whenever you can.
When trying any of these tips, take careful notes on what worked and what didn’t with customers to boost sales this year. You’re not just learning how to better serve your customers now. When it comes to your year-end sales next year, you’ll have a to-do list ready to help meet your goals.
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