Wednesday, December 17, 2014

12 Ways to Make the Most of the Seasonal Slowdown in your Business

When I used to be in a sales job, I'd always hear the same excuses this time of year:

'No one is going to answer my calls'
'No one wants to spend money during Christmas'
'It's the dead season, we should just shut down the office and go home'

I hear similar sentiments now from clients and friends in speaking:

'No one is hiring speakers for this time of year'
'No one will see my emails'

...and of course, the one we ALL use...
'I'm just so busy with the holidays - I'll just regroup and start again in January'

I admit, I'm guilty of saying and doing all of these things over the years. But I've also found success in going the other direction. Instead of shutting down your speaking, what if you ramped up? Particularly when so many others ARE ramping down?

12 Ways to Make the Most of the Seasonal Slowdown

1. Say Thank You - a holiday appreciation message to all those you spoke to, to those who referred you, to your coaching clients, to mentors, to anyone this year who has made a difference. It's a great way to stay top of mind to them, and to remind yourself you're not in this business alone.

2. Update Your Social Media Profiles - do you have the same Twitter/Facebook background as you did a year ago? Even six months ago? Do you have your LinkedIn profile updated with your latest accomplishments? Have you set up viewing lists on your YouTube? Take some time to freshen up your public persona, so you don't end up looking like last years present.

3. Create a New Ethical Bribe - have you been offering the same e-book on your webpage for years? The same list of tips? Come up with something new - maybe start a new list based on the new approach. Reward your current list by sending the new item, maybe an audio or video recording, as a holiday bonus.

4. Start Your Next Book - because you probably never got around to it, right? If you did, congratulations! What's next? Start with an outline, and try writing it in a different way than you did last time. Set a deadline, and get going!

5. Rewrite Your Speech - is your Keynote getting worn around the edges? Pull up a copy, or transcribe your last presentation, and start deconstructing it. What stories can you update? Replace? Are there parts of the speech you, or your audience, are getting tired of saying/hearing?

6. Make Your Phone Calls - as much as most of us hate cold calling, it's still an effective way to secure speaking opportunities and solicit clients. Maybe they aren't there, but you can still leave a message and give them a heads up about the email you're about to send them. You'll be surprised, though, by how many of them still go to work and pick up the phone during the holidays.\

7. Show Up at Events - particularly events you'd like to speak at, whether you're targeting service clubs, associations, Meet-Ups, chambers of commerce, even Toastmaster meetings. Meet the people who can book/hire you, and meet people who can introduce you to people who can book/hire you - and get to see your audience in a more casual, laid-back atmosphere than the rest of the year.

8a. Podcasters - Start Booking Your Guests - if that's your format. All those busy people you want to interview are slowing down a bit, and may be more open than before to something new. Build a list of 'dream' people, and go after them. If you don't interview, plan your programming - what will your topics be the first quarter of the year. Worst feeling ever is getting in front of microphone and drawing a blank!

8b. Bloggers - you can go on a writing binge - write 5, 10, 15 posts to start off the new year. Just as I suggest for the Podcasters - plan your programming. Maybe use the blog to write your book. Create a theme each month. Build a series your readers can look forward to each week. Go to and and get a redesign. Lots of options to get ready for 2015.

9. Make a Video or Audio (or 12) - Videos can be as short at 1-2 minutes, and probably shouldn't be longer than 8-10. Set up a backdrop, get out the lights, and turn on the camera while everyone else is at the mall, or, if you really want to have some fun, let them come in and watch, or wander into the frame. Some of the most authentic moments come when you're interrupted by your 2 year old, your cat, or your pet python.  Even if videos seem out of reach, just talk into your computer, and make some audio content to sell or offer on your website. If a video turns out poorly on the visual side, save it as an mp3 and salvage the words - your message is valuable!

10. Launch an End-of-the-Year Special - the New Year often brings new rates - encourage your clients to book you NOW at current rates. Or...create a special holiday-oriented training program that is available for a short time. Have old product in stock? Bundle it, and sell it at a special price.

11a. Read a Book - you're so busy the rest of the year. You've probably bought a bunch of books that have just sat there. Pick one, and read it over the holiday break. If it's industry related, take some notes, and start applying what you learned. Or, if it's a leisure book, like my penchant my Science Fiction, just reward yourself and enjoy the mental break.

11b. Watch a Movie - perhaps in the theatre, perhaps one you missed, perhaps an old favorite. I took my oldest daughter to the third Hobbit today - and it was great Daddy/Daughter time. I'm hoping to hit the Theory of Everything on my own in the next two weeks as well. Movies can inspire as well as entertain, and if you feed your brain with the right inspiration, who knows what kind of ideas you'll come up with?

12. Let It Go - that feeling that the year is almost over and you didn't get enough done, and that you're not where you want to be yet. Instead, take inventory of your victories, however small you think they may be, and see them all together, adding up into what was probably a better year than you thought. Even though you can use some of this time productively, don't forget productivity can come in many forms - and spending this time with your family and friends, or even on vacation, can be extremely valuable.

I'm sure you can think of more things to do, that may be more specific to what you want to accomplish - I'd love it if you shared your ideas in the comments. Just don't let yourself get overwhelmed. You don't have to do all 12 - even if you just do ONE, you'll end up ahead of where you would have been otherwise.

Use the Seasonal Slowdown to breathe new LIFE into your business, and start 2015 with momentum and energy, so you'll be able to Speak & Deliver more than ever before!

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas - I like not only the sales ideas, but the other background work that sometimes is forgotten. Awesome!



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