- Running a small firm? Who holds you accountable?
- Marketing & Sales Success Begins with a Simple Step… Thinking!
- Your Sales Forecast Doesn’t Have to be a Guessing Game!
- Lead generation is a 3-step process.
- Measuring Sales… it’s Not just about Revenue
- 7 Selling Behaviors Seller-Doers Must Employ to be Successful.
- Can you really be “all things to all people?”
- 12 Marketing & Sales Activities you Gotta STOP this Year!
- How to maximize the impact of your marketing investment.
- Revenue Growth? Try the ‘5% Challenge’… it’s Brilliant!
- Should you ever walk away from revenue?
- Get Ready for 2017 with these 6 Marketing & Sales Activities
- 20 Marketing and Sales Concepts Business Leaders Need to Know, Part 2
- 20 Marketing and Sales Concepts Business Leaders Need to Know, Part 1
- 10 Guidelines for How to Be Successful at Sales
- Strategy Before Tactics!
- 6 Marketing & Sales Lessons Learned in our First 4 Years in Business
- The Sales Presentation: Stop Reading the PowerPoint Slides and Tell Your Story
- Content Marketing not working? Eh, don’t worry about it!
- Marketing Measurement: 3 New Methods You Have to Try in 2016
- The One Thing You Must Include in Your 2016 Marketing & Sales Plan
- Not using LinkedIn? Are you kidding me?!
- Is it OK to fire a client?
- Take Charge of Your Own Success… Stop Relying on Others!
- Getting first-time clients to take a chance on you.
- 9 Ways to Build your Business During the Summer Slowdown
- The Top 10 Ways to Build Awareness
- The 13 Most Common Website Mistakes
- The Most Important Part of Exhibiting
- Content marketing isn’t a one-time thing… it’s an all-the-time thing.
- THINKING! A framework for creating better business plans in 2015.
- Not happy with your marketing & sales? Then make just one change in 2015!
- For Beginners: Should I Tweet Daily? Yes… and here’s how.
- Got your Marketing Plan for 2015? No?! Now’s a good time to start…
- How to Connect with Booth Visitors – An Exhibitor’s Worksheet
- Not getting the email results you want? Make sure you’re following these 7 email marketing guidelines.
- 10 Ways to Get Clients to Sell FOR You (and they won’t cost a dime!)
- Do you know where you’re going? Why Strategy should drive your marketing & sales.
- 11 execution tips to help you exceed client expectations
- How to Turn First-time Clients into Repeat Clients
- 15 easy, low-cost marketing and sales tactics for 2014 – Part 2
- 15 easy, low-cost marketing and sales tactics for 2014 – Part 1
- 13 Lessons for Researchers Who Don’t Want (or Like) to Sell
- Social media marketing success in 30 minutes a day
- Get it right! You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
- It’s not that complicated! A common sense approach to the marketing & sales process.
- How MR firms are blowing it with new customers: Lessons learned while secret shopping
- Management or sales… you can’t serve two masters.
- Prove it! Nine ways to convince prospects to work with you for the first time.
- Five everyday ways to grow your business
- How that ‘one great client’ could doom your firm
- Six marketing and sales mistakes MR firms make every day
- Eight proven ways to build awareness – and why you should!
- Suspects, Prospects and Clients: Is your firm focused on the right target?
- A Checklist for Conducting Your Own Marketing & Sales Audit
- Learning to play the game: What football can teach us about marketing
- Differentiating your firm in a crowded marketplace
- 25 low- or no-cost ways to grow your business
- 15 Reasons E-mail Still Matters in Sales and Marketing
- Come prepared, dress the part and follow up: 10 dos for exhibiting at MR trade shows
- No rookies, no gum and no Frisbees: 10 don’ts for exhibiting at MR trade shows
- How to see yourself as clients see you
- Marketing 101: It takes Work to make it Work
- Use the 8 Ps of Marketing when Setting Strategy
- Integrate the 4 As of Marketing into Your Planning
- Size Does Matter: 4 Approaches to Growing Your Business
- The 12 Guiding Principles of Marketing (part 2)
- The 12 Guiding Principles of Marketing (part 1)
9 Ways to Build your Business During the Summer Slowdown
For better or worse, we work in a feast-or-famine industry… business vacillates up and down, often for no apparent reason. But one thing is fairly consistent… our industry usually slows down in the summer. Client projects dwindle, families go on vacation, the kids are out of school, etc.
But rather than bemoan the slowdown in your business, maybe you should take advantage of the extra time on your hands to focus on building it… to plan out and execute some marketing & sales activities.
And here’s the best part… aside from not costing much money, even if you decide to get away for a few days… most of these suggestions can be done from the beach with an internet connection.
Plan your fall conference schedule. Take a look at the fall conference season and decide which events you want to attend, the ones where you want to exhibit and those you want to send a colleague to. Most of the big events – ESOMAR, CASRO, TMRE, CRC and so on – take place from late September through November. Plan now to get them on your calendar, book early to save on your air travel, make sure you can reserve a hotel room at the venue and give yourself plenty of time to prepare (how’s your inventory of business cards?).
Update your website. When was the last time you took a ‘critical’ look at your website – the design, the structure and content? For design, get a professional involved – there’s nothing worse than a website that’s homemade or outdated… or both. Get some people unfamiliar with the site to put it through its paces – to navigate everywhere and give their feedback on the ease of navigation and any broken links. Lastly, we have a habit in this industry of writing what we think our clients & prospects want to read, rather than what they want to read (and believe me – there’s a huge gap!). So, before you update the content – let some of the people it was intended for – your clients & prospects – read through it. For more website improvement ideas, Click Here.
Spend some time learning about marketing & sales. Most people in our industry are not marketing or sales pros… though, to help with the growth of the firms, they need to be. So, spend some time this summer accessing available resources – almost all of them for free. Set up Google Alerts for specific marketing & sales topics, sign up to receive enewsletters from knowledgeable experts (Click Here to subscribe to ours), join marketing-related LinkedIn groups, search Twitter with hashtag terms like ‘#marketing’ or ‘#selling,’ scroll through aggregator sites like www.AllTop.com, subscribe to magazines, read a book and so on and so on. Yes, it really is possible to teach on old dog new tricks!
Don’t just post on social media… engage. Social media marketing is about two things – posting/sharing (which most of us do reasonably well) and engaging/commenting (which many of us don’t do – at all). This summer, make a concerted effort to engage in threaded dialogues on LinkedIn groups (or even start a discussion), re-tweet a great tweet that you come across, add to the ‘Comments’ section at the end of someone’s blog post and so on. Your engagement in those discussions builds awareness for you and helps to showcase your expertise.
Clean up your databases. Most likely, you have two databases that need tending to… your in-house/sales/CRM database and your LinkedIn connections. For efficiency sake – end effectiveness sake – both of these lists need to be as clean, accurate and up-to-date as possible. Scroll through your CRM list… Do all emails looks properly formed? Are there any competitors listed? Anyone from an industry/geography that you don’t service? Do you need to segment the list – e.g. clients, prospects, suppliers, competitors, by industry, etc.? And with LinkedIn… make sure you ‘tag’ your list (the LinkedIn way of segmenting your connections). Also, when you get your daily LinkedIn email and see that one of your connections has changed jobs – go back to your CRM and update it appropriately. Finally, when you get the “bounce back” report from your email blasts, use that to help clean up your lists, too.
Create a marketing & sales calendar. Marketing and sales are not magic. The success comes from doing a little something every day… from paying attention to the steps in the process and executing when needed. A simple calendar of activities – an excel spreadsheet works fine – will help. Remember to break things down into their individual steps… e.g. placing an ad in Quirk’s might be one item on your calendar, but it’s actually the last step in a multi-step process:
- ad space reserved with Quirk’s
- define ad concept/message
- write ad
- ad copy approved/updated
- ad designed
- ad design approved/updated
- ad sent to Quirk’s by deadline
- ad posted
So, think about all of the little steps for each of your marketing and sales tactics, assign a due date to each step and then put all of that in a simple calendar that everyone can follow.
Create an editorial calendar. A subset of your marketing & sales calendar is your editorial calendar. Here, you’ll spend some time thinking about and planning what content (articles, eBooks, blog posts, webinars, etc.) that you want to make available to the public. Think about broad topics, then specific topics, what form it will take, who will do the writing (and designing, if necessary), and any notes to help the writer. Even if all you’re doing is a weekly blog post… there’s nothing more stressful than waking up the day a post is due and having no idea what you’ll be writing about! Don’t let that happen to you.
Perfect your elevator pitch. Most pitches go like this…”I’m Mary Jones with Jones Research… we’re a full-service firm in Chicago.” Typical… and pretty pathetic. How is that going to elicit any sort of response? While there are several ways to enhance an elevator pitch, here’s a singular idea that can really help. At the end of your standard pitch, add this, “And what makes us unique is [fill in the blank].” Your ability to define and deliver a true point of differentiation will make all the difference.
Blitz a city. Pick one city where you have 5 or 6 sales prospects (or more) and plan a 2 or 3-day trip to visit them. Schedule meetings with as many of them as you can. Don’t go just to sell… go to help. E.g. deliver a lunch-n-learn to their staff on the newest technology or methodology. Also go to get to know them better. E.g. take a couple of key contacts out for dinner. Nothing can improve a relationship like some face-to-face time.
The bottom line is this: Don’t let the lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer get you down. Embrace the lull in your business to help build your company.