Prepping for Q4: Making Your (Sales) List and Checking it Twice

It’s hard to believe that 2015 is already more than halfway over. In just a few weeks’ time, we’ll be elbow deep in Q4, which is why it’s so important to prepare for the upcoming quarter now rather than wait until the last minute and wind up stressing rather than enjoying the holidays. The good news is that there’s still plenty of time to check everything off your sales list before winter rolls around. So, in the spirit of Santa Claus, the master of list makers, here’s a rundown of a few things you can start doing now to prepare for the upcoming holiday selling season:

Find out what’s buzzing. Take a look at what is currently trending in the world of food, fashion, media, entertainment, and other areas and apply it to your own industry. One easy way I like to keep up with what’s hot right now is by checking Twitter’s trending box, which you can customize based on where you live. The trends change daily depending on the frequency of hashtag uses. Why not join in on the conversation? By staying active on social media, you’ll increase the amount of people you’re reaching, which could very well lead to sales in the future because you’re keeping your company front of mind with potential customers. Also, by knowing what’s hot now, you can start planning what merchandise you’ll want to stock for the holidays and begin placing orders. You can also start “teasing” customers on social media and your website by giving them glimpses of what products will be for available in the upcoming months.  

Build your audiences. Twitter and Facebook may be the most popular social networks right now, but there are plenty of other platforms out there that can help you reach both current and potential customers alike. The Internet is a constantly evolving environment, so whatever network is popular now may be old news by tomorrow (MySpace comes to mind). If your company doesn’t already have accounts on Pinterest, Reddit, and YouTube, you might want to consider signing up. Companies are finding that these outlets are just as good for making sales. For example, shopping website Shopify analyzed 37 million of its social media visits, which resulted in 529,000 orders on its website. Even though Facebook accounts for 85 percent of all Shopify orders coming through social media, it found that orders from Reddit increased by 153 percent in 2013. Talk about a hidden social network for potential sales!

Understand your competition. One of your main marketing strategies should be analyzing you competition and finding out how they’re reaching their own customer base. It’s possible that they’re doing something that you might not have thought about yet. By researching now, you’ll give yourself enough of a head start to make changes before the hectic Q4 shopping season arrives and you’ll be too busy tackling other tasks to do so.  

Create goals for Q4. So now that you have a dialogue going on social media and you have an idea of what your competition is doing, it’s important to figure out what your actual sales goals are for Q4. Now is a good time to take a peek at how things shook out last year in the same quarter. After reading through your spreadsheets, ask yourself the following questions: What worked? What didn’t work? What could’ve been done to improve last year’s numbers? By analyzing those numbers you’ll have a better idea of what kind of goal you should set this year. Remember, it’s important to make sure that it’s obtainable and not too farfetched. For example, maybe you want to increase total sales by a X percent or you want to close X number of deals this upcoming quarter. Once you have a specific focus, it’s far easier to take the necessary steps to achieve your goal.  

Now tell me, what are some things you’re doing to gear up for Q4?

About the Author

Jeffrey Hayzlett is a primetime television and radio host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV and All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on CBS on-demand radio network Play.It. Hayzlett is a global business celebrity, speaker, best-selling author, and Chairman of C-Suite Network, home of the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders. Connect with Hayzlett on Twitter, FacebookLinkedInGoogle+ or www.hayzlett.com.

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