Selling in the Silly Season
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Selling in the Silly Season
How to be effective over the holidays
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Salesprocessdiva: Selling During the Holiday Season

Salesprocessdiva: Selling During the Holiday Season | Selling in the Silly Season | Scoop.it
This blog has a worldwide audience - so while today's post is geared toward U.S.-based small business owners, the concept applies elsewhere. Here in the States, our Thanksgiving celebration is next week.
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This article was written by Paul Newsome a while back.

The Silly Season is upon us. It is the time of year when customers stop making decisions and hold off placing orders: either because it is the busiest time of year (for example, the lead up to Christmas for retailers and summer for the tourism industry) and it is all hands to the pump, or the holiday mode takes over and tired buyers and business owners say ‘it is not worth starting anything new until next year when everyone is back and refreshed’, or they say ‘the budget is spent for the year, so we will wait until next year.’


Generalised statements yes, but the problem we have in New Zealand is that the symptoms of the silly season are seen for far too long – from October through to February. While Kiwis may like to go for most of the year without taking a break then take all of January off, this has to be a  contributor to the productivity issues of New Zealand.


Contrast this with Northern Hemisphere countries. Industrial breaks for Christmas and New Year, and the summer holidays, are generally a couple of weeks. There is certainly no lag of several months.


The ‘silly season’ will be presenting some sales people with a challenge. Having 9 months of activity during the year can make it tough to hit the target. Monthly sales targets can drive the wrong behaviours particularly at this time of year. Indeed, desperate sales people using questionable tactics while trying to hit unrealistic targets is another symptom of the silly season.

 

So how can we feed the pipeline and keep sales progressing during the silly season? Here are 7 things you can do over the next couple of months:


Check your own mindset and belief. If you are thinking that no-one will buy from you over the
next two months, then that is what will probably happen. Your activity will reflect this thought, and guess what – noone will buy from you.


Know your customers and your markets.  Some customers and markets will be actively buying now, and some won’t. You must know which is which. When is the end of the financial year and when do budget rounds start and finish for your prospects? Those that have budgets that end in December may have money to spend before the end of the year.  Summer season business will be in high consumption right now. Focus on service and delivery and maximize the opportunities of the season. Businesses that are out of season will be preparing for the next season. They may not be placing orders over the next two months, but they will be planning and making decisions. Your activity should be focused on building trusting relationships by delivering value, rather than trying to force a sale over the next month.


Fish in the ponds where the fish are most likely to be feeding. Only by doing your homework will you know where these ponds are, and what kind of bait to use.  Start on small things.  Find small things that will get projects started. There may be some preparation work or auditing that is best done while the customers business is relatively quiet. Maybe a small scale pilot or trial on one machine, or with one department will be best done at this time of year.


Look for opportunities where you can complement and enhance the existing solution, rather than replace it. This may be with one part of your solution. Starting small will reduce the risk of change for the customer at this time of year, allow you to prove your capability and establish trust, and will open the door for bigger opportunities in the future.  Help your customers with their planning.  Understand your customers goals and objectives for next year, and help them with the planning. Rather than focusing on when they are going to place an order, focus the conversation on when they want to see results and the impact/benefits of your product or solution in their business. If it takes two months from placement of order to implement the solution, then waiting until Feb next year to begin will mean an April installation and 1/3 of the year will have gone before the solution is in place and providing value. An order placed now with some flexible and mutually agreeable commercial terms may be advantageous to you and the customer.


Maximise the sales opportunity. If there are fewer opportunities around at this time of year, you need to make the most of them. Maximising the sales opportunity should apply at any time of the year, however if you know your customers and your customers customers, you will be aware of what opportunities may exist to maximise the sale. Asking high quality questions will enable you to uncover these additional opportunities that may not at first be apparent. For a simple seasonal example, don’t just sell the bbq, what are the opportunities for the cooking tools, cleaners, gas cylinder, outdoor furniture…


Be Different.  Be different with Christmas greetings and functions for your customers. Don’t just go through the motions and look like every other company and sales person out there. You are making contact with your clients, so as well as saying ‘thank you’ for recent business, use it as an
opportunity to progress sales and generate new leads.  What can you do to make a difference and provide some value? Corporate Christmas cards just do not cut it! If you send cards, enclose something in the card which gives the customer reason to contact you in the New Year.  

 

Work on yourself.  If you have quiet time, use it for your own planning, preparation and personal development. Most people spend more time planning their holiday than they do planning their life and goals. Invest some time on what you want to achieve in 2013, how you will do this, and who you need to ‘be’ to achieve this, and your success in 2013 may mean the holiday next summer will really need some planning!

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Sales Guy : Selling During The Holidays :: Quick and Dirty Tips ™

Sales Guy : Selling During The Holidays :: Quick and Dirty Tips ™ | Selling in the Silly Season | Scoop.it
Learn how to make selling during the holiday season profitable. Get tips on what you should be doing to ensure you sell during the holidays.
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