Check back for the weekly word from Kevin.

How do you increase revenue when sales are slow?

Every business experiences lulls in sales. It could be seasonal or just an unexpected slow time.

No matter the reason, looking at your slow times as an opportunity can help you find new clients or maximize existing relationships.

Here are three ways to keep the cash flowing when business slows down:

1.     Ramp up lower budget marketing – Promote and reconnect with your mailing list and give your email newsletter a makeover. Create discounts just for your mailing list or social media followers.

2.     Host an event or pop-up sale – If you have a physical location, an event or pop-up sale is a great way to bring traffic into the store. But online retailers and service providers can have events too. An educational webinar with an attendee only discount can also be an attractive way to create new relationships.

3.     Create content – take a look at the FAQs you get during your busy time and create content around those items. A series of blog posts, videos or infographics that you create during a lull can help make your life easier when you’re super busy.

Don’t let lulls get you down. Taking steps to prepare ahead of time—and taking the opportunity during a lull to invest time into your business—may help you generate revenue even during slow seasons.

Never a bad time to ask a question

If the business world learned anything from the 2017 Oscar’s Best Picture screw up, it’s that there is never a bad time to ask a question.

Handing someone the wrong thing or reading the wrong name is a mistake that could happen to any of us. But making that mistake at the end of a ceremony that cost millions to produce, in front of more than 34 million people? Yikes. The entire situation could have been avoided if Warren Beatty or co-presenter Fay Dunaway had simply said, “hang on a minute.”

If something just doesn’t seem right as you are working on a project and your gut is telling you to get more information, do it. It’s always better to take a step back and push a deadline a little to give yourself that certainty. Most clients will appreciate your thoroughness and dedication to understanding.

What’s trending with millennials these days?

If you haven’t noticed, the Millennial generation is now the largest population group, with equally large buying power.
You may be wondering what kind of marketing tactics get the best results with them. Look to product demos, case studies, and customer reviews as the biggest influencers on their purchasing decisions.
• Product Demos: You must “show” how your product works, how it works better than your competition, and how it is the must-have solution to the problem. This group is a “believe it when I see it” bunch, and product demos, whether on paper or on video, will make all the difference. Vibrant photos of your product or service in action will catch the Millennial’s attention.
• Case Studies: Focus on real customers that have received real benefits from doing business with you. When you can, include the customer’s name or business. Case studies capture the imagination and help people relate to the possible solutions you have to offer them. They want to know how you have helped others just like them.
• Customer Reviews: This is big. Millennials will believe what their friends say and what other independent parties say about your product. The important thing to remember about reviews is that this digital generation is savvy to fake reviews—so do what you can to get your best customers to give real write-ups on Amazon, Google+, or shared on Facebook. It has to be the real deal.
All traditional means of marketing work with the Millennial generation, but focusing on this kind of content will yield increased results. The delivery is not the focal point. Yes, they are on their smartphones all the time, but don’t think that they are swayed only by digital means. Print, especially direct mail, works very well, but focus your content on “showing” your product through actual case studies and getting your customers to support your greatness. Take these steps and, if you’re lucky, you’ll soon be “trending” in Millennial social-media feeds.

Some skills will never become obsolete

Margaret Wheatley said, “The things we fear most in organizations—fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances—are the primary sources of creativity.”
This was true for a business owner who was feeling helpless as the innovations around him pushed his industry into obsolete status. It kept him up at night, and his employees started fearing for their jobs.
One day, just when he thought closing the doors was inevitable, he saw his employees messing around—acting out like children. Instead of disciplining them and getting them back to business, he just stood back in awe.
An amazing new idea popped into his head. He saw his employees’ capabilities in a whole new light and realized that his company wasn’t dying at all. It was on the verge of innovation. The skills they had developed through years of hard work and success were not obsolete in spite of the movement of the industry.
The excitement of creating something new inspired forward momentum that took them from concept to finished product in 45 days.

Facing Darkness, Part 2 (Movie Review)

Facing Darkness is one of those movies that will stay with you. It’s been almost a week since I saw it, and I find myself still going back and thinking about what I saw.

This is a good documentary. Like most good documentaries I’ve seen, the pacing and timing is a bit slow and plodding, but the content is so good, the slow unwinding of the story will be forgiven.

I also found that I was never quite sure when the film was going to actually roll the credits. Like a pastor who says “and in conclusion…” and then doesn’t get to the last Amen for another 20 minutes, Facing Darkness kept me guessing when it was going to be complete. Still, this can be forgiven too, since the story was well told.

In the first part of this review, I mentioned that there were two “grabbers” that got me in this movie. The first grabber was Fear. Click to read Facing Darkness, Part 1 Movie Review.

Second Grabber – COURAGE The second grabber was Courage. The medical professionals willingly submitted themselves to an extensive robing and taping process that was extremely thorough. The very act of donning the space suit like attire was frightening; everyone who went through the process knew that any little mistake or misstep could result in their death. And a horrible death Ebola is.

The documentary tells the courageous story of Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia as they rose to meet the overwhelming challenge of history’s worst outbreak of Ebola. Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian relief agency that ministers throughout the world. Known primarily for distributing millions of shoeboxes to poor children (over 135 million shoeboxes have been given out since 1993), Samaritan’s Purse is one of the most widely recognized charities in the world.

I didn’t know that there were only two organizations on the ground battling this terrifying disease; MWF (Doctors Without Borders) and Samaritan’s Purse. Eventually, the US Army would arrive with much needed personnel and material, but for a long time the MWF and SP were the only ones there.

Facing exhaustion (imagine being taped into those space suits for four hours at a time) and mental/emotional fatigue, the volunteer workers fought Ebola with everything they had, and then three of their own medical staff were diagnosed with the dread disease. The documentary tells the story of Franklin Graham and SP and all they did to save the lives of these brave medical professionals.

The spiritual battle was just as real as the medical battle. Liberians reacted to the dread disease in a variety of ways, and their reaction to Ebola was both terrifying and frightening at the same time.

Good news! Facing Darkness is coming back to select theaters across the country on April 10. Click here to purchase tickets at a theater near you. Don’t miss this opportunity to see this film on the big screen. Your participation in buying tickets will send a good positive encouragement to our friends at Samaritan’s Purse too.

The Difficulty of Making the “Double Sale”

Sales can be tough (News Flash!). For me, sales is/was a lot like swimming.

I’m not a natural swimmer, and I certainly am not a natural salesman. When I was ready to swim across the deep end for the first time, I had to brace myself, think my way thru it and then just do it. Pretty much the same for sales; brace myself, think thru it, just do it.

I’ve also noticed that it’s more than doubly hard to make the “double sale.” What’s a “double sale?” Any sale that requires the selling of a concept and then the sale of a product is a double sale.

Here’s a real world example. When I started a local interest magazine, I knew that advertising sales was going to be the break or make aspect of the project. So, I started selling advertising anywhere and everywhere I could. One thing I learned fast…if I had to convince someone of the importance of purchasing advertising, and then sell them on advertising in my publication, my chances of actually making a sale would plummet. That’s a double sale.

Sure, I could convince someone to advertise, but then a whole new world of advertising would open up to potential client, and my publication was just one of their new options. In these situations, I might be able to convince my prospects they needed to advertise (Sale 1), but then I still had to sell them on buying from me (Sale 2). Pretty tough to make two sales to one person, especially if that person had not been convinced to invest in advertising prior to our conversations.

 

This chart demonstrates the difficulty of the double sale. Suppose you want to increase sales. Here are your three options.

  1. You can sell more to your existing customers.
  2. You can sell to prospects (add new customers).
  3. You can sell new products.

When you try to sell a new product to a new customer, that’s a double sale. You’re actually combining number 2 and number 3 from the list above. And a double sale like this is going to be much tougher than a normal singular sale.

In these scenarios, it will be much easier to sell a new product to an existing customer, because that’s just one sale. Existing customers are already sold on you; they’ve bought from you before. If you’re selling a new product to a prospect, that’s a double sale because you have to convince them that you’re trustworthy (Sale 1), and they need your product (Sale 2).

Even if you can make the double sale, you will have to spend more time to make those sales. I’m not saying you should pull the plug when you realize you’re in a double sale situation, but I am saying that you should be aware; this is not gonna be easy, and this is gonna take some time.