Foresight and action can turn the potential sales you book in 2018 a certainty in 2019
You’re winding down towards the end of 2018, and preparing to lock and load the early sales for 2019. If you’re not in this space, your first sales will only flow into your business towards the middle of next year. That could be a death knell for your business. Get selling, don’t stop, and keep your business momentum moving. But, even as you prepare for success, you need to prepare for disappointment in 2019. Many of those early sales you’re gearing up for...won’t happen. On The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield, Pavlo Phitidis discusses how you can prepare for disappointment, and mitigate the effects of your early 2019 failed sales:
Why your sales meeting made in 2018 won’t happen in 2019
Why would your customers you’re selling to this year let you down next year? Here are some reasons, most of which are not in your, nor their, control:
- Staff disappointments: In the new year, the customers you made meetings with last year arrive at work energised and ready to do business, but members of their staff don’t. Instead, your customers must deal with staff absconding or leaving, throwing their business into chaos and disrupting the momentum built up from last year.
- People moving on: Staff hung in for their year-end bonus at the end of 2018, only to return in 2019 and promptly resign. They’ve found a better offer elsewhere, and leave, causing failed sales because planned meetings get cancelled.
- Debtors killing cashflow: Your customers start the year expecting to be paid for work they delivered last year, but their customers are too indebted to pay on time. This creates apprehension and panic in their businesses, making a sales meeting with you a last priority.
- Suppliers breaking momentum: Your suppliers don’t get moving in 2019 until they’re fully stocked up, and that means your supply chain will disrupt your system of delivery. In turn, you end up having to disappoint your customers, and this leads to failed sales. At the same time, their suppliers become their priority too, causing the same break in momentum. This makes getting the ‘engine’ of their business started for the year, a tougher task than expected.
- Strategic changes: Most businesses commit to new strategies at the beginning of a year. What they thought they wanted last year, changes next year, and you’re not included in that plan.
- Holiday conversations: Your customers might change their minds over the holiday period, after hearing about new technologies or solutions they believe could solve their problems. Rather than sticking with the solution you offer, they look towards new ones, and you end up with failed sales.
All is not lost
Forewarned is forearmed but only if you act. Here are a few tactics you can use to prevent the sales meetings and commitments made this year fading away in the first quarter next year.
The way you sell your products and services during the year must change towards the end of the year. Rather than forcing your customers into a large deal, opt for smaller commitments and engineer your sales towards securing that sale in a different way. For example, if you operate a gardening and landscaping service, don’t tie your customer down into a large project or year-long contract. Rather, offer and secure a smaller project, with a view to growing it in the new year. You may end up selling the landscaping and design plan in 2018, for a 10% deposit, with the full project and delivery of the rest of the payment occurring in 2019. That small fee will create a continuation of the project in 2019, securing you a sale.
Offering your customers an incentive to secure the sale now can prevent failed sales in 2019. You could offer your customers 10% off next year’s products at this year’s prices. Alternatively, offer a deposit-based incentive, whereby customers could secure a discounted deal by paying a 20% deposit upfront, with the balance payable in 2019.
Know your customer
Understanding your customers’ buying processes, cycles, and behaviours, will help you to prevent failed sales in early 2019. Sell in accordance with your customers’ behaviour and buying cycles, and you’ll secure good sales for the new year.
Avoid hard sells
Don’t get desperate - the hard sell approach will only make your customers push you into meeting up next year, just to get you out of their face. That meeting won’t happen, or it’ll be tainted by your hard sell approach. Sales cannot be imposed on customers: they only buy products and services that they believe solve a problem in their lives.
Confirm the value
You’re focused on closing the sale, but don’t forget what you’re in the business of doing: solving your customers’ problems. Clarify the problem you solve for your customers, reminding them of how they will continue facing the same, or similar, problems in 2019. Remind your customers of how you solve their problems and the value of your products and services.
Motivate your customers
There is little worse than repeating the difficult year of 2018 in 2019. Motivating and inspiring your customers to start afresh and do what they do differently, can leave enough of an impact that they look forward to the meeting they set with you.
Get selling but change your approach and ensure that your 2018 efforts set you up for 2019! Don’t forget to keep selling, because that helps you maintain your business’ momentum, even when everyone else seems to shut down for the year.
Winners build marketing and sales systems that run throughout the year, and not just during peak trade season. A year-round sales strategy that keeps your business going, no matter the month, gives you the edge to compete, succeed, and avoid failed sales in 2019.
At Aurik, we help you plan to keep selling so you can build an Asset of Value.