AMiable Solution #429: Milk(chocolat)ing a Sales Season
The candy industry has four big sales seasons: Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and the winter holidays.
Although the focus of these sales cycles may not surprise you, the length of two of them might. According to the National Confectionary Association (NCA), Valentine’s Day has a six-week sales period. Halloween: eight.
Eight weeks of sales for a one-day holiday? Pretty sweet.
Although your offers may not be as universally appealing as the chocolate- and sugar-saturated bundles of joy sold by NCA members, your products and services obviously have value and appeal to your specific markets. But how can you stretch out the buying season? How can you make the sales season/celebration last longer?
Danny Wong, an entrepreneur, marketer, writer, and contributing author to www.entrepreneur.com, thinks the answer isn’t necessarily in stretching out the sales season, just the sales cycle.
Why? In his July 7, 2016, article, “7 Surprising Reasons to Extend Your Sales Cycle,” Wong suggests that waiting longer to close a sale—although a little scary and challenging—actually produces better relationships.
· Longer sales cycles let you learn more. According to Wong, the longer your sales cycle, the more time you spend with your prospects, learning what their problems are and uncovering untapped needs. This, he argues, helps you understand both your customers and their needs better, and it could lead to bigger sales and additional opportunities down the road.
· Longer sales cycles increase trust. Most customers won’t buy from a company on first contact. They need more time and information to know that the company is legit and trustworthy. The more time you spend getting to know the customer and vice versa, the more comfortable your buyers will become. Trust not only generates sales, but it also builds relationships.
· Longer sales cycles can mean better customers. According to Wong, “a long sales cycle is usually indicative of high revenue, complex deals…the types of customers and contracts you want in your pipeline.” The more invested you become in a prospect or buyer, the greater the return is likely to be.
Not all industries will have the same success as the candy industry (according to NASDAQ.com contributor Julia Glum, Halloween candy sales are up 48% from last year and up 60% from 2019!), but with a strategic and well-planned extended sales cycle, the results could be just as delicious.