The summer is typically a slower time for most businesses. Schools are out, there is less traffic, and many people take vacations in the summer.
Considering that the busiest time of the year starts right after, this is a good time to put a plan in motion to make the most of the upcoming season.
Over the years, if there is one thing I learned about this business, is that clients have many more events than you know about. They are really busy with many tasks, and often times they never get around ordering anything even though they had a budget.
It is important to find ways to stay on your clients’ radar when they are not looking to order anything. And also on the radar of prospects who don’t have a vendor they love to work with.
Here I share three campaigns that were very successful for us in gaining business, that might help you as well.
The Summer Fun Package
Grab several self-promo items you have laying around. Put them in a padded envelope, or a box, include a personal letter and send it to your top clients and prospects.
You can get as elaborate as you want, but there is no need to overthink it. What really matters is that – through you package – you will be getting your client’s undivided attention. Plus, your items are likely to remain on their desks for a few days at least.
Provided your self-promos are quality items, the items themselves don’t matter as much as the fact of your package making an entrance. It will start conversations about upcoming events that you didn’t know about. It will often generate orders of the items you sent. It will generate referrals within the company.
The first year we did this, the idea came up when thinking about how to distribute a bunch of notepads that had a calendar on them. They had an expiration date, and here we were in the middle of the year.
So I decided to send them out to our clients. In discussing with my team, we decided to add other items along and make up a “story” that would tie them up in some way. We included a letter and a couple of catalogs, asking them to pass the extra one to a coworker.
This simple thing opened the doors for conversations about future plans, and a heads up on events we had no idea was taking place on a yearly basis. It also inspired our clients to do similar mailers which we helped them create and implement.
You can do this week.
Clean Up Your Promo Closet Campaign
This one is more suited for a promotion to gain new clients.
The idea is to create an offer to buy your prospects’ leftover promo items for a set amount, say, $100, for example, to be applied to the purchase of new items. In essence you are offering a discount, but calling it a purchase takes away the discount devaluing connotation.
This idea came up when I went to visit a potential new client who was a real estate management company. They had just merged with their own realty and were in the middle of unifying their brands. They had a closet full of promo items they no longer had a use for and asked how to dispose of.
We had just helped a client, who was also rebranding, clear their storage room of outdated promos. In that case, we just came in to remove them and donate them on their behalf.
This got me to thinking that there were probably many businesses in similar situations. Why not try to make an offer to buy them for $100, and replace them with new ones?
You’ll find full details about how we did this promotion here, but now is the time to plan it to ensure its success.
You’ll want to think of all its components. First, you’ll need to create the marketing message for your offer and calls to action. You might need to design a postcard to mail to prospects and add a landing page with details of the offer.
It’s not rocket science but you want to give it some thought. If you start to work on it now you can be launching your campaign by the time school is back in session.
Take Your Client to Lunch
I’m sure you will agree, building relationships are especially important in this account-based business.
Keep in mind, if your interactions with your clients revolve only around orders, they are transaction based. Even though you develop a relationship in the process and build their trust, it a transaction-based relationship.
That’s why meeting with your client in a social setting is very important. It adds another layer to the relationship and makes it stronger. It provides an invaluable opportunity to get to know your clients better. It also helps discover ways to serve them better and uncover new business opportunities.
Even though this is an informal meeting, you still want to have a “meeting agenda” to make the most of your time together. You want to be prepared with the questions you want answered. These might include, how things turned out at past events, changes that might be coming up, plans for expansion, new products, etc.
Besides the pleasure of spending time with someone you enjoy doing business with, you’ll be amazed at how much you learn about your clients. Like what they really value in working with you, which allows you to know where to step it up.
I started to practice this because I had seen it work it in other industries. I had seen successful business people visit their clients and take them out on dates. It seemed easy enough to do, and I loved that this was not a sales call.
So I scheduled lunches or visits with every top client. Besides a stronger business relationship and increased business, it also rendered long-lasting friendships.
I just presented you with 3 easy, doable ways to gain new business. Each of these requires little money and some thought, planning, and effort.
If you have another one to add I would love to hear from you.
If not, which one will you implement?