It's Vacation Time

Every year in August, most B-to-B direct marketers are in the doldrums — at least until the last week of the month when customers return from their summer vacations. Next to the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the late July/early August period proves to be one of the slowest for B-to-B catalogers. So what can you do? Here are some ideas on how to handle these down periods.

* Make sure your own staffers use their vacation and any accumulated comp time.

* Reward your hard workers with an extra day off. There will come a time during your busy period that you’ll be glad you did. Set up a system to do it fairly based on merit.

* Try a “private sale” targeted to your online customers’ “wish lists” or planned/past purchases. Friday tends to be a particularly good day for such limited-time bargain offers.

* Take advantage of the time to change over files, do new product training and get ready for the fall season.

* Ask your call-center reps to help out other departments that might be busier. These cross-department experiences can build a strong team and promote cross-training.

* Host a cleanup day to rid your office of old files, furniture, etc. Clean keyboards, cubicle panels, walls and doors, among a host of other things. Have your team take pride in its environment and workspaces.

* Now’s the time to host a “bring your child to work” day or week, but make sure you have a manageable program.

* Organize cross-department tours so everyone in the company can learn what goes on in the various departments.

* Host the company picnic, summer party or staff barbecue. Thank your staff members, and get them geared up for the fall selling season.

* Plan training exercises in your call center where reps use role-playing to critique and learn from each other.

* Engage all in planning and preparing for the busier season ahead.

Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes@b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221 (direct line).

Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes @ b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221

Comments or questions are welcome.

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