Your buyers can afford wallowing in the January blues; you can’t. Snap out of it!
Perhaps the only active sales in January are back to school, transportation back to the city and the crooked traffic cop hoping to find your car insurance expired. Most of the other sellers are ‘recharging their batteries’ from December’s ‘shut down’, which is unfortunate.
It’s an interesting phenomenon in Kenya. In December buyers push everything to next year. “Let’s talk next year” they say. And there is no valid reason why-it’s just an attitude we have developed. Not January, the following month, but “next year”. If you are so lucky as to be told January, chances are January won’t be January. Excuses will abound until February rolls around. “The manager hasn’t resumed yet” or “Bado Januari, boss.” (It’s still January), they will lament.. It is the unfortunate seller who gets trapped in this January blues mire. Falling into this trap will see you waste a whole month (possibly quarter). If you are in the “bado January” bandwagon, snap out of it. Use January to plan for the year. Here’s three things you should do.
As this column has averred again and again, and will continue to, prospecting is the lifeblood of your success. With no one to sell to you are a fish out of water. You will sputter and die. So list down all your clients, browse the internet, use LinkedIn, print and social media to get new prospects. From clients, ask for referrals-and remember to be specific about it. It must be done in a way that is easy for the client to effortlessly respond. As specific as the lady who stops another one in the street, to compliment her on how clear her skin is and to ask what she uses. There is no ambiguity here and it’s simple to respond to. Likewise, when talking to, say, the Sales Manager at Venus Hotel, ‘please refer me to your counterpart at The Livingstone Hotel (which is also a 5 star) or, “to a fellow manager in a WhatsApp group you are in”, is a question the client can easily respond to.
Study your performance and customer trends. When are you at your highest and when, lowest? Why? Depending on what you are selling, your customers in Q1 2015 may still need your services/products this quarter. And why? Because human beings are creatures of habit If I’m selling training services chances are that those that required my services last March will require them again this March-it’s when they have planned to do their training. And so, as the progressive seller you are, plan to reach out to them ahead of March-with substance. Not the same product or service, but, something useful to them that will break their January blues. For instance, calendars, for those that still make them. In my view, it would be better to have something else of even better value-like how you have studied the client’s account and want to share ideas on how he can save himself some costs.
While the world is still warming up, deepen your relationships with back office. Sell internally. Buy the fellow who delays your payments lunch. Or throw him a curve ball- invite him to your church! (that should have his head spinning throughout 2016); Or, if you have diaries or branded flash disks from clients, give your relatives a break and instead share the “goodies” with back office staff complete with a sincere, “Thank You. Your support means a lot to me”; or, simply, “Happy New Year”. And to both those who like you and those that don’t. Not being customer facing, they rarely get these “goodies” and you will be amazed how appreciative they will be of them. In all these battery recharging activities, remain sincere.
Snap out of the “Bado January” lethargy- buyers can afford it; you can’t.
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