How To Beat the Summer Bummer

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For some summer can spell a business downturn as clients and prospects head for the beach, take time off with the kids, or just sip some saki at sunset.

Logically, it’s a great time for a sale, right? Get that phone to ring! The problem is that many small businesses go about conducting a sale in a manner that’s actually harmful rather than helpful. Most people look at a sale as a way to lure in new business and promote trial of new products and services by slashing prices and screaming come and get it.

This approach however, can have the impact of penalizing the very customers that got you here in the first place – the ones that lined up and paid full price. Much better to focus a “sale” on your very best customers in an effort to get them to do more of what generates the best kind of profit. A sale, conducted in the typical manner, also trains customers to wait until everything gets marked down – effectively the real price.

    If you want to really create a powerful summer sales approach, don’t simply discount stuff, think some combination of the following offers:

  • Exclusive and private members only discount sale days
  • Community building events that include the entire family
  • First crack at the newest stuff hours just for current customers
  • Earn credit and discounts for referring and passing out gift certificates
  • Promotion with your non-profit partner that donates a portion of sales during an exclusive event (you can probably find a way to work this into one of the non-profit’s events)

The net result of approaching summer this way is that you reward your best clients and give your prospects the sense that when they become clients then they get lots of unique benefits.

This may seem like a retail play, but this is true of any kind of B2B or even service business. There’s no reason you can’t use a sale in this manner as well.


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  1. Hi John,
    So good of you to promote rewarding current/past customers for their business and loyalty. This can pay for itself a million times over.

    I recently offered free business card design and printing to one of my best referrals. It won’t take me a lot of time, but it’s a great way to say “thanks” for all the awesome word of mouth she’s done for me. It’s so much easier to retain an existing customer, and encourage them to become evangelists for you, than it is to attract a new customer.

    The slowdown of the summer is actually a welcome relief for me this year. 🙂

  2. Great Post,
    An example is the retail store Kathmandu.
    Here in Melbourne there are playing together with the government to help homeless.
    If someone brings an old coat in, they give 40% off any jacket. Old coats are cleaned and donated.
    Cheers
    Lucio Dias Ribeiro

  3. Great post – I especially like the idea of getting your top customers to simply ramp up their word-of-mouth efforts for you. I’ve found that the special “pre-launch” promo or sneak peek is an excellent way to make this group feel special, plus it equips them to then spread the word.

  4. Excellent post. Fortunately for me, my small auto dealership experiences a huge surge in business during the summer. I’m going to need it this year, gas prices are creeping hard into my boating fund.

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