Have your best summer ever with these revenue-generating strategies.
Identify Great Clients
Summer is a perfect time to steer a course toward greater profitability by focusing on earning and keeping quality clients. Use our quiz to analyze your clients and determine who’s the best.
TREAT CLIENTS TO FUN OUTINGS
When the weather heats up, you can create warm memories by taking clients on summer outings. They will reward you for it. Here are eight ideas.
- GO TO A BASEBALL GAME: Sure, you can impress your business partners with box seats at a major league stadium. But, don’t fret if that’s not in your entertainment budget. Minor-league games can provide good times too, and at bargain prices. For a list of minor-league teams and stadiums in your area, go here: www.littleballparks.com
- HOLD A HAPPY HOUR: Call your local clients and rally them together at a favorite watering hole. Offer an open bar for an hour, order a few appetizers and you’ve got yourself a casual soiree that will pay off.
- HOST A PARTY: Looking to do something larger scale? Host a client appreciation party. Have the festivities catered, and consider theming the event – perhaps something outdoorsy, like a barbecue. If you really want to up the impact, combine work with pleasure by inviting a few trusted suppliers to display new items for clients to check out.
- GET ON THE GREENS: You don’t have to pull together an entire golf tournament (although you could), but a few hours on the links with a couple of hot prospects could just be enough to seal the deal. Hone your skills at the driving range beforehand.
- CAST A FEW LINES: Fishing provides the right mix of relaxation, excitement and time for chatting. Charter a boat, grab a few mates and you’re sure to hook a sale.
- HEAD TO AN OUTDOOR CONCERT OR PLAY: Do your top clients’ tastes trend more to the cultural? Then take advantage of the warm evenings by treating them to performances in the park or similar events. You’ll be the star of the show if you do.
- TAKE TO THE WINE TRAIL: Treat clients to a tasting event at a nearby winery – or consider having a sommelier lead a tasting at your office or a swankier location. Lucky to be in an area where wineries are clustered? Then rent a limo or van and have your clients safely shepherded to several of the estates for sipping.
- DO A DINNER CRUISE: Scenic and relaxing, dinner cruises provide ample opportunity for relationship-building. You’ll become a friend rather than just a business associate – a distinction that goes a long way toward encouraging customer loyalty.
STEP UP SELF-PROMOTIONS
July is an excellent time to launch self-promotional initiatives that will help build your business for the latter half of the year. Here’s how to do just that.
Creative Marketing Concepts (asi/170631) has mastered simple and effective self-promotion. The San Francisco-based distributorship’s sales reps incorporate strategic self-promotion into every presentation they make to prospects. Typically, CMC brands hot-selling items and reps discuss the pieces during in-person pitches. Items are then gifted to buyers. “We look for popular items with an interesting story – products that will enhance the presentation and make it more entertaining,” says CMC President Zachary Tyler.
Of late, CMC has scored self-promo success with the DigiClean – a microfiber screen cleaner from Flexible Innovations (asi/54596) that sticks to the back of mobile devices when they’re not being used for cleaning. Embellished with the distributorship’s branding, the cleaners are cut into T-shirt shapes and feature the slogan “Your Logo Here.” The T-shirt shape provides a novel talking point that allows reps to discuss how CMC can provide apparel in addition to fun, attention-grabbing hard good products. “Every single time we show it to people they are wowed,” says Tyler.
Wow indeed: Last year, the self-promos generated an additional $130,000 in revenue for CMC through sales of the DigiClean alone.
SPARK SUMMER SALES
Summertime and the living is easy. So it’s the perfect time to connect with clients who probably have a less hectic schedule this time of year. Here are proven business boosters.
Summer could be the best time to sell for B2B sales reps. It’s just a matter of knowing how to shake things up and uncover the possibilities. Here are six great tips for producing positive and long-lasting results.
Prospect where your clients are. Meet and greet them on the golf course, at the ballpark and at a BBQ. Wall says meeting customers at a fun location of their own choosing increases the odds they will return your calls and e-mails.
Know your customers – and their schedules. Summer sales often take longer because decision-makers are out of town. Sales reps should adjust by working faster to catch major players before they split.
Listen, then share. Eagerness to close the sale during the slow summer period makes it tempting to present your solution before the customer is ready to hear it: “What you need is…”. This can be especially true for top sales reps who can let their expertise and enthusiasm interfere, says Mike Bosworth, founder of Mike Bosworth Leadership. Bosworth’s advice: Listen to your customer, then share a story describing how you’ve helped one of their peers. This way, you deliver a problem-solving vision and ignite the customer’s competitive nature – changing the off-putting “You need” to “I want.”
Connect emotionally. Christine Miles of Miles Geraci Consulting urges sales reps to connect with customers emotionally – and the slow summer season is ideal for reinforcing this principle. Grasp the emotions as well as the facts customers are presenting. “Follow the emotional breadcrumbs,” says Miles. A veteran sales rep she knows was traveling when a client called with a crisis. The sales rep, caught without access to any information, tried Miles’ advice. For the first time, he asked his client, “How did that make you feel?” The conversation transformed their business relationship, and ever since, they have connected on a deeper level.
Embrace the calendar. Emphasize offerings consistent with summer, suggests Rich Carollo, VP of Lion Circle (asi/67620). Then upsell your packaging. If you’re giving away T-shirts or golf visors, package them with a coupon or QR scan code to convey a message.
Set yourself up to win. Working in smaller chunks of time helps you maintain focus and keep summer distractions at bay, says Lori Richardson, a sales strategist and CEO of Score More Sales. And don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to build relationships.
Most experts agree summer is a great time to update templates, reassess strategies, and double down on training. The fact your clients are taking a break gives you opportunities to break out of your routine. Enjoy.
Target this Niche: CRAFT BEER
The popularity of craft beer is growing. In this increasingly competitive segment of the beverage industry, promotional products can play an important role in helping brewpubs, microbreweries and craft breweries build their brand and gain market share.