Only a few businesses are aware of their high seasons. But all of them know their slow seasons — a truly taxing time when sales rates plummet, prospects become harder to reach out to and almost impossible to elicit a response from. In some cases, it’s also the time when some of their clients leave because they don’t need their product or service all the time.
But how do you close a deal at times like these?
For us, the slow season is not about crafting new sales closing techniques. It’s about survival. Since we have been there ourselves, we would like to share our experience with you, so you would be prepared for a slow season of your own.
Close the deal or save your strength?
We faced our slow season in the very first year of running our company. It happened between the end of summer and the start of winter. Back then, we were highly reliant on generating new sales, but because most of our sales reps left on vacation in August, we didn’t generate enough new business. That led to a massive dip. We had to do a lot of belt-tightenings to make it to December when most companies finalize their budget and plan out the strategy for next year. Since we were operating on a prepayment model, we were able to secure projects for January. That December literally saved us.
Later, our slow season shifted to May. Many of our prospects are reluctant to make purchases at the end of spring because this is when their sales drop. Nobody wants to invest in projects that won’t show results in the next three months...
Survival tips from Belkins
First things first, there is not one universal sales technique that will let you escape your slow season. Your ability to make ends meet is defined by your preparedness for the hard times and your safety measures. So, instead of updating your sales closing lines, take a good look at your team and resources.
- Learn to predict your slow season. The sales drop when clients stop paying. If you’re working with the clients you have engaged recently, you won’t even notice it. This is why some people say that closing a deal during a slow season is possible — there are even case studies about the pros that succeeded in closing The Deal when all hope was lost. But the rate of interactions with your current customers will decrease considerably.
- Stay aware of your prospects’ industries. Now, you should know that slow seasons are different for each industry. Sometimes, it’s summer. Sometimes, it’s autumn. Sometimes, it’s winter. This is why it makes sense to start researching other industries and generating leads from there. Switching to a more responsive segment of your target audience will soften the blow.
- Don’t expect your best sales closing techniques to save you. When a slow season hits, even the most amazing email templates that let you seal the deal may come off as annoying to your prospects. To keep it safe, we suggest changing your approach, making it more subtle and flexible. Accept that you will be hearing “no” more often than “yes”. If your prospects are currently uncertain about employing your services, ask for permission to follow up with them later (always schedule your follow-ups!). Don’t act desperate and press them into making a decision on the spot — stay understanding and dignified, regardless of their final decision.
- Consider your business model. We rely on a monthly subscription and use prepayment models, so if the client is ready to close the deal, we can do everything quickly. However, if closing the deal requires a yearly contract, we would have failed to secure any client in December. Most businesses avoid closing long-term deals at the end of the fiscal year.
- Outline and track your revenue channels. You should know what fuels your company. If you’re not sure — do some research on your income sources. Does your company rely on new sales? Retention? Сontracts? To define your main breadwinners, view cash inflows for every channel over the span of two years. See how much profit each of them brought you.
- Identify the patterns behind your slow and high seasons. We have mentioned the importance of seasonality in your business before and spoke about doing seasonal adjustment for your business. When you know your best time, it’s easier for you to select the most appropriate selling techniques.
- Don’t be satisfied with your current revenue. No matter how nice your numbers for this month look, think about how your revenue is going to look like in the next month. And what about the next three months? Will it be enough to make up for your expenses? If your revenue plans are not calculated to deal with these situations, no amount of call-to-actions in your emails will save you.
- Accumulate some cash. Sometimes you won’t be ready for your slow season. Just accept it. Emergencies among your sales reps, time-consuming sales closing questions, a coronavirus outbreak…you can’t predict everything. This is why you should always have something saved up for a rainy day.
- Know what you can sacrifice. In case you’re dangerously close to running at a deficit, there must be an item of expenditure that you don’t need right now. Therefore, removing it from your budget will help you save money and invest in more pressing matters.
We hope these tips will help you find your way through a slow season just like they helped us. If you want more useful content, join our newsletter and be the first to learn about the updates!