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Summer is here which means warmer weather, plenty of pool time, vacations, and, for many promotional products distributors, the dreaded “slow season.” In fact, if you ask any distributor in the industry to pinpoint their least effective selling months, they will likely identify July and August as the culprits. Seasonality is something that must be taken into account by every business owner. However, seasonality can also spark creativity and opportunity.
As we enter traditional slower months of the selling year, here are 5 ways you can take advantage of the seasonality to grow your business:
- Focus on Verticals – When clients seem to shy away from purchases over the summer months, it’s an excellent opportunity to focus on their vertical supply chain. For example, if a large portion of your clients are hospitals, take a look at who supplies their medical instruments or the insurance companies where they may have partnerships. By diversifying your client base into prioritized verticals, you begin to insulate yourself from the cold selling times.
- Expand – It is in nature as it is selling promotional products: adapt or die. If you are complacent in simply maintaining your current sales, then a drop will be inevitable. However, if you use the slow months to expand to new markets, then even a temporary sales slowdown will represent an overall gain in new clients.
- Emphasize Social Media – Maintaining and expanding your social media reach during traditionally slow times is a must. Even though clients might not be flooding you with orders, you better believe they are still checking their social media news feeds. Use this time to share case histories, begin a content marketing strategy (including a blog), and showcase your expertise so when your clients are ready to buy, you will be top of mind.
- Partner Up – You’re not the only business concerned with at least maintaining – if not increasing – sales during the slow season. Teaming up a client with another non-competitive client (or even a prospect) to share promotion costs can lead to more sales for you and your clients. For example, your local pet supply store could give away brushes with the brand of the dog groomer located around the corner to their patrons. At the same time, the dog groomer could give out toys with the logo of the pet supply store to all of her customers. This approach helps everyone and drives engagement through partnership.
- Plan for the Fall – This is an obvious one, yet many people don’t take advantage of the slow times to adequately plan for the busy seasons. Take the time to align your marketing efforts, study merchandise trends, brainstorm social media campaigns, or create your own marketing calendar so your efforts will remain steady even when sales inevitably pick up.
As a business owner, you want to do more than just keep busy during a slow season. You want to take on activities that will not only allow you to stand out, but will positively impact your bottom line. By taking a proactive and creative approach to the traditional slow months of July and August, you will take a very critical step to ensure your business remains relevant and thriving will thrive all year long.
Bill has over 15 years working in executive leadership positions at leading promotional products distributorships. In 2014, he launched brandivate – the first executive outsourcing company solely focused on helping small and medium sized promotional products enterprises responsibly grow their business.
A featured speaker at numerous industry events, a serial creator of content marketing, Vice President for the Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South (PPAMS), and PromoKitchen chef, Bill has extensive experience coaching sales teams, creating successful marketing campaigns, developing operational policies and procedures, creating and developing winning RFP responses, and presenting winning promotional products solutions to Fortune 500 clients.