Have you found during recent weeks that feedback from your customers has diminished? Possibly this is tied to slower orders and more time spent by your sales team in the office? I’ve found that this is quite common across most industries this time of year, however a slow down on the customer front should signal a need for an increase in business growth activities. That’s right, you should actually be ramping up activities related to growing your business when your customers are slowing down.
Sound counterintuitive? It would seem it is for most.
Long ago my mentor told me, absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder, it makes people forget. If your sales or marketing team take the “dog days of summer” as an indication to take a break and slow down and smell the roses, you need to shake things up! A reduced availability of customers is not a sign that it’s time to make fewer customer calls, spend less time on the road, or take some vacation time yourself.
Well most importantly because this is exactly what your competition is doing. Don’t you want to take the opportunity of their diminished activity to gain some traction in their territories or with their prime customers?
Secondly “time” is exactly what you or your sales team likely complain that they don’t have when it comes to doing key business development activities such as researching new prospects, dropping in on high potential customers, or investigating the possibility of introducing new products or entering a new market.
Lastly, just because things typically slow down this time of year doesn’t mean they will automatically recover again after the summer months.
A client of mine earlier this year experienced a “predictable” slow period and as a result slowed down their business development activities. Unfortunately things didn’t “bounce back” as they usually do and we’ve spent the last couple of months creating a high impact business development plan aimed at not only clawing back some lost sales, but identifying at least 25% more new business opportunities. (If you’d like to do the same, send me a note at email@example.com and I’ll tell you more about how we are doing this!)
So… Are you starting to think differently about how to handle your slower times? Here is my suggestion for you as a brief business growth activity for this week.
- Identify and calendar the typical slow periods in your business (i.e. summer months, Christmas, etc.).
- Outline proven business development activities for finding and closing new business.
- Identify some “prospecting” activities that your sales team never seems to get around to.
- Identify target accounts, regions, or specific customers that you’d like to do business with.
- Identify proven or unique products or services that might be most appealing to those in #4 above.
I’d suggest you pull the above information together in collaboration with some of your key team members (i.e. executives, managers, employees, suppliers), and then pull your sales team into a ½ day session where you brainstorm and develop a plan of action aimed at ramping up these key activities during your slower periods. The key to success here is having some defined objectives, actions, timelines and accountabilities, however if done correctly a ½ day should suffice to get the plan outline together.
And there you have it… Your plan of action for ramping up business development during slower periods, all calendared and everything.
So take advantage of this slower time to put together your plan. If you’d like some feedback on it, send me an email and we can set up a call to discuss.
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© Shawn Casemore 2016. All rights reserved.