Seasonal selling is like sailing with the tides. It gives your salesman-ship the flow and clearance it needs to most effectively get under way. As any seasoned sailor will tell you, if you try to fight the tide you’ll just get hung up on the sandbar. When you move with the flow, can buoy up your sales like a flood tide – if you know how to navigate them.
Some calendars come with tide tables, but most come with bank holidays and other national events. Get one out now and we will share a little jewel of a tool you can use in your own business. We call it Seasonal Selling. It requires identifying the upcoming holidays and special events now, before the year gets too far underway. These selling periods are punctuated by 3-day weekends when lots of sales are made.
Here are the 5 steps we use to plan a seasonal selling calendar:
- Start with the bank holidays and 3-day weekends.
- Notice when they fall and the amount of time between each of them.
- Identify the time prior to each 3-day weekend or bank holiday as the selling period.
- Notice that the selling period starts around the end of the previous selling period, and even earlier in many businesses where planning and preparation are involved.
- Divide up the calendar into the 8 to 10 selling periods and name each one appropriately.
Using this method, in the US there are at least eight seasonal selling periods:
The Martin Luther King Selling Period starts on New Years Day or before, and ends on Martin Luther King Day. It is celebrated on a Monday, and that means a chance to enjoy 3 days off in a row. Some businesses may want to combine this with the next selling period, but in the US this holiday lends itself to winter recreation or snowbird get-aways.
The Valentine’s Day Selling Period starts right after MLK, but many businesses like to start it immediately following New Years. This is an excellent time to sell romantic and high-value gift items, such as wine, chocolate, vacations, and jewelry. This year, February 14th, Valentine’s Day, falls on a Thursday, followed by the President’s Day three-day weekend. We like to call this selling period the Valentine’s-President’s selling period because of the proximity of the two holidays and the association with romantic products and services. This is a particularly exciting period because it includes Super Bowl Sunday on February 7th.
The Easter Selling Period is a month to a month and a half long, depending on when Easter falls. When Easter falls later in the year, St Patrick’s Day (March 17th) may be seen as an additional selling period, which can start right after Valentine’s Day. The Easter selling period also contains Passover, which is year on March 26th and determines the date for Easter Sunday. Easter is a great time to introduce new products and services. The advent of spring put folks in the mood for something new.
Depending on the business and the market addressed, some of these periods can really resonate with your brand. Certainly all of them provide the opportunity for holiday theme marketing and merchandising materials.
Next time we will examine the other seasonal selling periods and their implications and opportunities. So don’t put your calendars away just yet. It’s an exciting year ahead, if you know how to take advantage of the ebb and flow of the calendar tides!
Happy New Year everybody!
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders