From economic downturns and global outbreaks to seasonality, there is a myriad of reasons why a business may suddenly experience slow periods of sales.
While these periods of snail-paced sales can take a company by surprise and be discouraging, to say the least, slumps can strike even the most accomplished establishments. This leaves businesses with just a couple of options- lay down and take the hit or do all they can to prepare while using the time to grow and improve the company, with the opportunity to increase revenue on the other side.
5 Quick Ways to Boost Sales
No matter the cause of the slump, there are a variety of ways businesses can boost their sales and continue to grow during slower periods.
These 5 simple methods will give businesses opportunities to find new avenues for sales and profits even when foot traffic falls.
1. Vamp up online presence
Get social media systems pumping and start drumming up creative posts to generate interest and interaction from existing and new clientele. With social media being a great free source of advertising and engaging with consumers, this strategy is a must.
This can attract new customers to the location at little to no cost, and while strong followings can't be built overnight, staying consistent and listening to what the audience wants can also provide valuable feedback for businesses. Regular and purposeful posts are important, as well as speaking to the audience (not at them) while being relatable.
In conjunction with sprucing up social media, downturns are a great time to whip the business website into shape and ensure it's aesthetically pleasing, user friendly, and bug-free.
With online stores outstripping physical ones for customer traffic, making sure the site is mobile-optimized and able to process transactions online is becoming increasingly vital. This will ensure there is a steady stream of sales even when foot traffic falls.
2. Stay in touch with the community
While staying digitally active and present on social media is crucial during a sales slump, staying engaged in a meaningful way with the core clients is equally as important.
Many of those loyal customers will have email subscriptions to the business in the hopes of keeping updated regarding changes and new offers. Therefore, it's important to keep the communication channels open and remind these returning customers that they are still valued.
Businesses can also consider implementing an email autoresponder to ensure messages are promptly acknowledged.
3. Schedule in advance
When sales are slow, stockpiling great content and scheduling posts in advance is a fantastic use of time as businesses can enjoy a steady stream of social media or blog content without any effort even when they begin to enter into busier seasons.
For example, scheduling search engine optimized blog posts on the website in advance is a top marketing strategy as it allows a business to generate high quality, timeless content while keeping the site fresh and filled with regular new posts.
Bearing this in mind, generating the right kind of content that talks to the customer and places them at the forefront is paramount. Make sure blog post topics are thoroughly researched and an editorial calendar is devised to ensure all content is released on time.
Speaking of calendars, businesses operating seasonal collections or products may find it beneficial to design product calendars in advance, during slower sales periods. This gives the business a chance to stay ahead of the marketing curveball and plan the launch as effectively as possible.
4. Research new leads
Get in front of new audiences through outreach and public relations to reap significant dividends further down the line.
This all-important tactic requires extensive research and may require the services of a PR professional for effective reach. Avenues for reaching new audiences could include external blogs or websites, social media influencers, magazines, podcasts, TV, or even daily deal sites.
Additionally, ensuring the marketing and sales teams are working in sync to generate any new leads will work wonders for securing potential clients.
5. Refine all systems and processes
Downturns in sales don't have to be permanent. Therefore, using this time to keep track of prospects, enhance current systems, and ensure the business is operating like a well-oiled machine will ensure the company emerges from the slump stronger than ever.
Consider performing competitive analysis to identify market gaps and review product offerings, while exploring market trends and updating sales techniques. Put the sales representatives to work in uncovering new ideas for the product team and discover what products or services are missing.
Further use the time to learn about customers, their buying habits, and their opinions. Businesses could even consider conducting interviews or surveys to collect consumer stories, testimonials, and gain a better understanding of their buyer persona.
How Forecasting Can Help
Slower sales seasons can be tough to predict, however, forecasting software can be an incredibly useful tool in projecting future downturns and providing companies with sufficient warnings to prepare and plan, thus reducing unnecessary profit loss.
Using software tools, it's possible to create multi-year forecasts. However, by opting for the far more frequent month-by-month forecasting, a company can peer ahead with greater accuracy. Monthly forecasting and demand planning can include information regarding employee raises, new hires and terminations, capital expenditures or increases, strategic planning, and expense reduction.
No matter the strategy, a forecast should always include historical sales data and allow the departmental managers to make manual modifications to account for any unexpected factors such as local events that may increase foot traffic to the store location or an unexpected outbreak that could significantly lower demand.