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What to do when you're having a sales slump

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Most product businesses, probably all product businesses, will go through highs and lows. It's what you do as a creative product business owner that matters.

Take a break

If your sales are not where you want them to be, the first thing is - don't panic! Understandably for independent product businesses when sales aren't great it can feel personal - what if no one likes my products anymore or worse me or the business! If your mindset is heading that way then it's time for some perspective.

We're not very good at taking break but this would be an ideal time to do just that - and with that you'll gain a little external perspective. Can you go and spend time with family or friends? Can you carve some time for yourself to recharge - if you can recharge you'll be energised and able to go back to your business with a curious mindset. You need a clear head to reflect back on what's worked well by looking at your business as objectively as you can.

Reflect then review

Get your analytical head on and look at your business to try and work out what's going on that's causing lower sales. So, for example, is this a seasonal low? Most businesses will have a very busy November and December, then January will be naturally quieter. Start to learn what the natural rhythm of your business year is. If you look back at last year, was this a good month for you and not so much this year? The majority of product businesses are seasonal. So if you've got that data where you could look back at last year, then you can totally switch your mindset again so that you can understand this is a quiet time for the business.

If it is seasonal, that will be a huge weight off your shoulders and you can then see it as an opportunity. An opportunity to focus on that long list of important tasks for your business you are always too busy to get to. Sales planning, forecasting, social media plans, content production - the list goes on!

What else could be happening? Have a look at any data that you can get your hands on. For example, there's a big difference between lower sales because people aren't coming to your website verses people are still coming at the same rate but now they're buying less. Those two things point to two different problems. If not as many people are coming, then you need to look at your outreach to customers - your email marketing, social media - maybe you there was a brilliant piece of pr coverage and now the sales conversion from that is tailing off, looking at what you can do to drive more people to your point of sale is vital.

If as many people are coming to your website as before but they're not buying as much, then review your website. What products have you got displayed? Does the layout need updating? Are many items 'out of stock'. By identifying the problem you can then find the right solutions.

Product strategy

The best sales strategy is a great product strategy. If your sales are disappointing, have a look at what was driving them by product previously, what was your best seller last month when sales were higher - are they still in stock? Have you made any major changes to your product offering - any items discontinued that were selling well and the new versions have not picked up those sales?

In contrast it might not be that you've brought something new in, maybe you haven't brought in enough newness. So, for example, people do like and respond to new products. If you've noticed your sales declining over a certain amount of time, it's worth checking this.

When was the last time you brought in something new? When was the last time you effectively started a brand new conversation with your customer and showed them something different?

These are all things for you to review when you're looking at a sales slump.

What next?

You're in this situation. You've done some analysis, you've taken a break and feel recharged and ready to move forward. I would suggest that you simply brainstorm - this was part of my sales planning challenge a couple of weeks ago and was very popular - come up with 25 different things that you could do.

So why 25? Well, it helps think of more than just the obvious and forces you to expand your mind, expand the possibilities of what you could do. Once you have done that, then pick one. Pick the one that's most exciting to you, that looks most interesting and that you feel you could get your teeth into and start there.

It comes down to you being really dedicated to finding what's gonna work, whether that's putting new products in front of your customers, trying new ways of doing things, revitalising your social media content, giving your customers a reason to come back and start shopping with you again and of course hooking in new customers.

So if you find yourself in the sales lull, don't panic - get curious!

Need some help getting out of a slump? Book a call with me to work out what's going on -

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