1) Know Your Goal
It sounds obvious, but a lot of times we’re just trying to make it through the day. Stop and look at your progress. What is your goal for the year and how far off are you from reaching it? If you don’t think you can reach your goal, determine a new, more realistic one that you think you can achieve.
Also, think about where you’re going to start next year. A new year brings a lot of hope and optimism so people will look to you to help them reach their goals. Set yourself up for success now.
2) Reduce Your Expenses
What expenses can you let go of for a quarter? That $49/month for call forwarding can add up. Run through your monthly expenses. Are there charges you’ve forgotten about? Maybe you don’t need that service anymore.
3) Motivate Your Team
Motivate the people you work with, even if it’s just yourself. Maintain a positive outlook and have a conversation with yourself, your team or your boss about how you can finish the year strong. Be transparent about expenses and opportunities. Focus on what you can achieve now and early next year.
4) Follow Up With Former Clients and Lingering Prospects
The most successful strategy for gaining new customers is to go back to former customers. The second most successful strategy is to go back to prospects you haven’t been able to close.
Reach out and give them an opportunity to reconsider signing with you. Ask them how they’re doing. Don’t sell, just listen. Create a positive reconnection with them. If there’s an opportunity, it will present itself.
5) Market a Special Offer or Opportunity
This is a great way to offer the perception or actuality of additional value. Everyone’s looking for deals, especially during the holidays. So explain that your rates are increasing next year, but former and current clients can lock in existing rates for a year.
You can also extend a limited time offer for a select number of people. If you normally offer 6-month contracts, maybe offer 3-month contracts to a handful of people so they can get a feel for working with you. Whatever you choose to offer, create a special opportunity with a sense of urgency.
6) Add Value to Your Existing Offerings
A lot of businesses avoid discounts, which is understandable. What you can do instead is add something extra to your service to surprise and delight your prospects.
If you’re a consultant, maybe offer an extra hour per month to your package. Or offer a free one-on-one consultation to new customers.
7) Improve Your Marketing Efforts
There are lots of ways to do this (without being loud or spewing content everywhere). One good option is to change how you currently use email. If you email most often about your products and services, draft a personal email to your ideal customer instead.
Talk about why you started your business, who you serve, etc. Anything that will create a personal connection. The only call to action should be to ask them to respond and let you know what’s going on in their world. Be personable and build real relationships (which won’t happen if all you’re doing is selling).
You can also send an email asking for feedback about you, your business or services. Is what I’m doing helpful? What else are you looking for?
Offer your subscribers something of value. Create an e-Book or checklist that you can email your subscribers for free. Or send a postcard or palm card. We’re all so focused on technology these days that when something shows up in the mail it’s exciting. These things go a long way toward building rapport.
8) Establish a Referral Program
A lot of people don’t do this but it’s a great way to build relationships with your existing customers and with people who serve your ideal customer but don’t compete with you.
Referral marketing works through word of mouth and online recommendations. Referrals typically happen organically, when people remember, but you can influence the timing by doing a value exchange.
For example, if you’re an exercise coach you can partner with a nutrition coach. Introduce through social media or a podcast to your respective audiences. If someone from your group joins the other person’s group, they aren’t going to leave you.
Other referrals may be former or current clients. Tell them about your referral program and give them a commission for each new client you get.
9) Step Up Your Social Media
Keeping up with every social channel is exhausting. So if you’re a B2B service business, focus on LinkedIn for the fourth quarter. Add value and show up. Write something that could be a blog but post it on LinkedIn. Share your expertise. Then tell people you know about what you posted and ask them if they can like and share it.
You can also use LinkedIn to think about who your ideal customers are. Do they have certain positions? Executive Director? Chief Marketing Officer? Search for people with those titles and reach out to them.
Just don’t sell out of the gate. Most people ignore those messages. You’re not building a relationship that way, you’re just showing up to pitch. Always serve first. Give value before you ask for anything in return.
Facebook also remains a strong platform for businesses but only for those that offer value or give prospects some strong reason to engage. You may have 1,000 people who like your Facebook Page, but they may not see half of what you post unless you boost or promote your page. So how can you encourage engagement? If you always post images, maybe go live sometimes. Do something different to disrupt the norm and get people to pay attention.
If you have a visual brand (maybe you’re a designer or exercise coach), then you need to be on Instagram. Show up with those beautiful images that get people into your space and show them what it’s like to work with you.
If you’re already on all of these platforms, focus on the ones that are best for your business.
10) Offer or Request Special Financing
You may not be the only person who is anxious or nervous about the fourth quarter. So maybe you can offer extended or deferred payment plans for clients. Whatever makes sense for your business. 50% now and 50% later is better than 0% now.
The flip side is that maybe you are in the position to ask for extended payment plans from your vendors. If you’re having a hard time getting clients, try to work out a payment deferment or reduction for yourself.
The bottom line is everyone experiences low points in their business. You can employ these tips any time your company has a downturn.
I hope this guide proved helpful — let me know in the comments.