Ten Tips for growing your business during the slow Summer months
Memorial Day is behind us and Summer has (unofficially) begun!
Ahhh…sweet, sunny days at the beach, hiking through cool, green mountains, BBQ Sundays and…crummy sales? Everyone reading this knows that Summer, from a sales standpoint, is the year’s toughest season. Problem is, many dealers use this fact as an excuse to hit the shore or the links and abdicate the management of their businesses until Labor Day. And that’s a mistake.
Just because sales slow down doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do, Summer is the perfect time to plan marketing, merchandising, staffing requirements, training, etc for the Selling Season.
If any of you are friendly with farmers, think about the way they spend their “Off Season.” Come Winter, when the ground is frozen solid and there’s nothing to grow or harvest, smart farmers repair their equipment, grow seedlings, maintain buildings and basically prepare for planting season while catching up on all the things they neglected during the busy months. If they can do it, you can, too!
So, here are ten things you can do to boost your business:
1-Work The Phones (…and e-mails)! When your “Regulars” aren’t walking in the door, give them a gentle nudge. Every time a new or updated product becomes available, there should be a list of old customers who need to know about these items. One of our dealers told me they consider it “Rude” to call customers. Really? Your competitors don’t! You’re performing a valuable service by keeping your customers informed. They’ll appreciate it!
2-Shop for “Specials” Business is lean for manufacturers, too. Many of them offer Summer Savings while others simply need you to prod them. Ask your vendors for B-stock lists, overstocks, discontinued items. Many companies will give you lists of closeouts without the need to buy anything. “Make them an offer they can’t refuse” and remember, Cash is King!
3-Market, market, market! Now’s the time to create a year’s worth of promotional materials, e-mail blasts, advertizing strategy, start a “Constant Contact” campaign, etc. Have a “Facebook” page? If not, build one. If you do, boost your views by publicizing new products, events, employees, even vacation photos. Ask your staff to contribute!
4-Step outside! Still plenty of time to demo, spec and install Outdoor Speakers, TVs, etc. Many of or brick-and-mortars have a pair of weatherproof speaker playing outside the entrance to their stores…good idea!
5-Higher Education: Your clients’ kids are off to college in September. Do they have a Dorm room system? A pair of Dynaudio Xeo and a Sonos Connect offers incredible performance and takes up less space than a “Boom Box”! How ‘bout a USB DAC and a pair of headphones? Kids love music and parents love their kids: sell them something!
6-Event Planning: Summer might be the worst time to host events but it’s the best time to PLAN them! Your vendors are planning their autumn itineraries and most of them will probably be passing through New York. As with advertising, you need to plan several events, not just one! 4-6 events between Labor Day and next Memorial Day
7-Train your team! NOW is the time to encourage Rep and Manufacturer visits. As a Rep Principal, Summer is our busiest season for vendor visits. Your sales team should be knowledgeable experts and your vendors are willing and able to train them while we all have time to spare!
8-Write Job Descriptions: It’s amazing how few dealers actually create written, formalized Job Descriptions for their employees. A particularly useful exercise is to develop Task inventories for key positions and then ask the employees to list the things they do on a daily basis. You might be shocked at the discrepancies between their perceptions and yours
9-Tweak Your Merchandising! Time to consider an Auro 3D demo? Increase your commitment to Turntables, DACs and headphones? Any lines that are underperforming? This is the time to revamp your showroom and line list.
10-Interview Publicists: We know several dealers who’ve hired publicists and have, as a result, received great editorial coverage in major publications. I strongly suggest speaking with a few publicists and exploring what they can do for your business and how much it will cost. (Probably a lot less than ineffective Print Ad campaigns!) I’ve got suggestions, if you’re interested…