Start Planning Now for Q4 Sales

By the small business content developers at

Don’t get frantic, but we’re just over the mid-year hump, and the calendar is rapidly speeding us toward fall sales and holiday events. That means it’s time to put together your plan for expanding your company’s sales in the fourth quarter.

Why the focus on Q4? Well, whether you target consumers or other businesses, you have probably seen the increase in spending that typically happens in this quarter.

Even if warmer weather means Q4 sales won’t hit a high point, which is what happened last year, you’re still sure to see an uptick in revenues at the end of the year. Whoever your target market is, it’s important to confirm your sales plan and start implementing it now so that you can get ahead of the game before the mad rush in the winter.

  • Focus on strategic planning.

As Winston Churchill once said, “Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.”

While you may want to do everything at once, such as invest in technology, increase marketing, expand strategic promotions, and improve personalized offers, you may create more problems with such huge ambition. It’s better to slowly build up improvements in each of those areas. Pick one thing at a time to change or improve so you can measure the effect these changes have incrementally.

  • Make offers that convert.

You’ve spent the many previous months of the year conversing with your audience, educating them about the problem your enterprise solves, and preparing them to make a purchase. Now is your chance to use the frenzy of Q4 to entice them to buy.

Look at the offers you’ve made in the past that have been successes and those that have failed. Reevaluate tactics from previous campaigns and reuse what worked. Try a mix of reliable stand-bys and new marketing tactics to see what your audience responds to.

  • Remember important dates.

There are more opportunities for sales and promotions in Q4 than you might realize. In October you have Thanksgiving and Halloween. In November, American Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. In December, there’s Green Monday, Free Shipping Day, Super Saturday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Eve.

Savvy companies will have promotions for each of these days as well as other relevant religious days or even some of the celebratory or wacky holidays that relate to their industry.

  • Ramp up where necessary.

Whether you need extra help or increased inventory, prepare a plan for how you’ll build and bolster your company for higher demand and increased sales. Will you begin hiring earlier or need to confer with suppliers to increase your order size? Either way, you need to develop a plan for coordinating these actions with your team.

You might be tempted to delay working on these strategies until you see “how things go,” but as the proverb says, “he who fails to plan, plans to fail.”

If you want to delay your planning while you wait for additional information or until sales start picking up, set up a provisional plan now for how you’ll quickly scramble to ramp up your efforts.

  • Make sure your message hits its target.

Experienced marketers know that there are many factors that influence buyer behavior. Sometimes it’s how you say it, when you say it, or even where you say it that inspires your customers to buy from you.

If your mailing list magic has faded or your social media posts are flat, take a look at how you’re using those channels. Your mailing list may need an update or you may need to freshen up your messaging strategies. If you’re offering a substantial discount to returning customers or free shipping to new customers, make sure that the appropriate audience gets the message. You might feel like blasting your message from all channels, but a targeted message is an effective one, whereas an aimless message is a shout into the void.

Forecasting is an important part of running a business. It forces you to look ahead and steer in the direction you want to go. While it can be time-consuming, planning ahead allows you to anticipate likely changes and challenges that can affect your business, especially in the fourth quarter when things get crazy. Starting now with your planning will help you avoid some of the stress that comes with waiting until the last minute.

By Andrew Patricio

August 31, 2016