A naturally slow time of year, no matter whether you’re a five star hotel or a one-man electrical contractor, you can almost guarantee that your sales are going to take a bit of a hit during January.
Just because this dip in sales is expected, however, it doesn’t mean that you just have to sit back and accept it and these five points all explain how you can increase the amount of sales you make during the notoriously slow period of the January dip.
1. Have a sale
Although the most obvious way to increase sales during the January dip is to have a ‘January Sale’ and one that you may already be planning, the reason I’ve mentioned it is that it isn’t really an option – customers will be expecting you to have a sale in the New Year, especially if you’re a retail outlet and therefore whether you cut prices substantially or not, be sure to have at least some items on special promotions during January.
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2. Utilize selling tactics
One of the best ways to increase sales is by utilizing certain selling tactics, with upselling being one of the most prominent.
Used by companies all across the globe, upselling is the process whereby you offer the customer an additional product just before they make a purchase.
Most fast food chains offer the perfect example, as when you walk into a McDonalds, for example and ask for a Big Mac, it’s guaranteed that you’re going to be asked ‘do you want fries with that?’ and / or ‘is that large?’.
Something that can be used not just when sales are slow in January but all year round, have a look at the products or services that you offer and come up with a few additional products or services that you could provide just before a customer completes the sale. Try each idea out over a certain period of time (determined by your customer turnover) and see which works best.
3. Offer new products or services
There’s a good chance that if you’ve been established for at least a few months, you’ve got some customers who like your company and benefit greatly from the products or services that you provide.
There’ll come a time when these customers become somewhat blasé towards your company, as they’ve seen every product or service that you offer, although they do continue to return to see what’s on offer regularly.
The best way to entice these customers into making another purchase is to offer a new product or service, whether it’s something completely different that they might be interested in or just an amended product or service that you already offer.
4. Tailor your products or services to the January market
This isn’t an option for everyone, as not every business has a product or service that they can amend, but if your company does offer a service that is easily changeable or can provide products that can be changed depending on the seasons, for example, it’s worthwhile looking at promoting these heavily throughout January.
If you’re a financial advisor, for instance, as the Christmas period can take its toll financially, with many people spending heavily on credit cards, it would be wise to focus your promotions on dealing with credit card debt or how you can get back in control of your finances.
In terms of products, one of the most obvious examples is to begin selling items that are related to the weather – January is a time of the year for many when it’s cold and snowy, so boots and gloves would be the items here. However, as money is very often tight during January, you want to be promoting a simple, cost effective range, rather than your highest quality items that are likely to be your most expensive.
5. Listen to your customers
It’s a simple concept but one that so many business fail to do – your customers are the people who are keeping your company alive and therefore it’s imperative that to continue with your success, you listen intently to what they say, whether it’s positive or negative, concise or in-depth.
And what’s important to remember is that you act on what you hear – you might not like being told that your company offers products at too high of a price during January or your services have no relevance to the post-Christmas market, but if that’s the feedback you’re getting, you need to be doing something about it.
January is a slow time for businesses all around the world, but it doesn’t have to be a period when your business suffers tremendously. Take into consideration these points, use some common business knowledge and be positive and you’ll come out the other side ready to take on the rest of the year.
Note: This post was originally published on December 21, 2010 and was re-featured on its currently-listed publication date.