After the Summer, Sell rather than Sale...

By Jeremy Blake on July 30, 2020

More magazines are sold in September than any other month of the year. After the summer people look to the future and want to know about what’s new and up and coming in whatever field their hobby, interest or business is in.

So, when a retail customer appears, the value of that opportunity is very high. and conversion rates should be watched closely.

How to convert them requires skills that some businesses will invest in, and others will wait for the weather to cool, long after the sales have gone cooler.

Whatever your market, it is so important to get September sales flowing and the temptation is to make sales of whatever value to get your confidence up after a long period of your customers being away and business purchasing decisions being punted into September.  Be warned though, the behaviour your two, twenty or twenty thousand salespeople begin with will inform their future habits in the lead up to the end of this year and into 2021.

A Cautionary Tale

As I returned to work in September in 1999 in my telesales role for a major publisher, my team and I were told some breaking news by our sales manager.

What he said went something along these lines, “I have news that some of you will find challenging and others less so. The smallest advert we offer is being discontinued. Research from head office shows it has the lowest renewal rate and as it is ineffective in letting customers advertise their business in such a small space you will no longer be able to offer it. Oh and by the way that is from today.”

Gasps ushered from the high volume/low profit margin sellers in the team, whereas those that rarely sold the mini ad weren’t bothered.  In price terms the lowest cost to advertise with us had risen instantly from £155 to £310.

Off we went and hit the phones in our roles in outbound sales. Just before 5pm, our smiling sales manager Martin came bounding down the corridor and surveyed us. He waited fifteen minutes until the last of us had completed their call and told us this news.

“What a day you have had team. You have sold collectively at the highest revenue you have ever sold at in a single day. In fact, you have sold just shy of what it usually takes you two days to sell.” We began smiling and looking around at each other with self-congratulatory grins. Martin went on, “what I told you this morning was a big fib. A whopper, a load of cods and I’m not sorry I did. We aren’t getting rid of the smallest ad we offer. I just wanted to prove to you that you are better than you think you are. How about we decide as a team to offer that ad sparingly, and not sell at the lowest common denominator?”

A few people were shocked, others loved it. I sat that there enjoying the lesson he’d taught us. I hope in turn I have taught you one too.

September Sales Tactics

1. Habits - Remind people that the habits they engage in now will put them in good stead for the next quarter and beyond.

2. Profitable - Talk about profitability versus volume and get the team buying into ‘revenue responsibility.’

3. Beware! - Share my cautionary tale and get a debate going about what they feel about what Martin did and what they believe the team should collectively agree to.

4. Check - What are the milestone dates you all agree on to see how you are performing as a team?

5. Collaborate - What else can the team collaborate on to make everyone have a stronger sales performance?