With the holidays approaching, many small businesses are looking forward to more customers, increased sales and higher profits. Although the holiday shopping season is short, it’s very significant for small businesses. The National Retail Federation estimates that 20% of a company’s sales come during the last two months of the year.
Generally, prospects follow a sales cycle before and after they purchase. It’s your sales funnel. Customers become aware of you, they learn more about what you offer, they may research competitors and then they either purchase or don’t.
To maximize the impact of the holiday season, you’ll want to take steps to shorten the sales cycle. The quicker you can draw customers in, gain their trust, and make a sale, the more customers and profits you’ll have. Here are several ways to shorten your sales cycle during the holidays.
Build awareness on a social media in advance.
Building awareness of your company doesn’t have to be a one-on-one process. In fact, it shouldn’t be unless your products cost thousands of dollars. You want to make sure a wide range of people become aware of your company well in advance of the holiday season.
One of the best ways to do this is to use social media. With social media, you can connect with a large number of people in a short amount of time. Building a large audience organically takes time, but you can connect quickly by using paid social media advertising. All major social media networks offer paid options that allow you to promote your posts to specific types of people. The cost is significantly less than traditional advertising.
When people become aware of your business before the holiday season, you’ll be top of mind when they make out their Christmas buying lists. This helps you speed up your sales cycle.
Share heartwarming stories on video.
Building trust often takes time, but you can shorten this time by incorporating emotion into your content. Most decisions are made based on emotion, although people don’t like to admit it. Add emotion to video based content. Not only is it a popular medium, but it allows people to see body language and non-verbal cues, which are key in building trust with another person.
By sharing heartwarming videos, you’ll be capturing the spirit of the season while also helping people trust your company and feel drawn to purchasing from you. Whether your video is a behind-the-scenes brand story, a customer testimonial, or a touching story involving animals, you’ll capture hearts, minds and hopefully a purchase or two.
Offer in-store pickup and store-only bonuses.
When people shop only online, you run the risk of losing them to a competitor. You can’t control an online environment well, and even if you have your branded online store, you can’t stop people from looking at competitors at the same time.
Instead, encourage online shoppers to come into the store. Offer free in-store pickup for online orders, special in-store only deals or freebies. Some easy freebies to offer include free gift-wrapping, 10% off a purchase in December or extended warranty on certain items
When people come into your store, they will be surrounded by your products and branding. Your staff will interact with them, and they’ll feel the warmth and authenticity of your brand. They’ll experience your great service first-hand while also seeing additional items they will want to buy.
When you get people in the store, you limit comparison-shopping and help close the deal in the final stage of the sales cycle.
Once you’ve gained a customer, remember that you want to invite them back. You can offer special coupons for January, a discount if they refer a friend or a special new customer event. Whatever you do, don’t forget to continue your relationship even as you shorten your holiday sales cycle.
Do you need help shortening your holiday sales cycle? Call me today and I’ll help you get started.