Companies know that their fourth quarter matters a great deal. The end of the year can make or break your business.

With most consumers putting all of their energy and time into buying products and services during the final part of the year, companies look to use these purchasing habits to their benefit.

Here’s how to put your best foot forward and propel your business across the finish line as the year comes to a close.

Know Where You Stand

Before you make too many assumptions about what you’ll sell and where your profits will be, you need to know where you stand in your business.

Knowing how much you’ll realistically earn by closing time on December 31st will give you a better idea about what you’ll need to do to prepare to get the most out of the fourth quarter.

The last three months of the year tend to be very busy and stressful for businesses. Go back in your financial records and see what you earned during last year’s Q4.

If you’re in a better position than you were then, you can aim to achieve more this year. However, if this year has proven to be more of a challenge in the financial department, you can prepare accordingly.

Make a Plan

Once you know where you stand, you can make a plan for your fourth quarter success. Whether your sales are soaring high or you’re hanging on by a thread, you can formulate a strategy that pushes your business forward.

Sit down and take the time to decide what you need to do. Look at the weeks ahead and decide when you’ll put out products or offer exclusive services. Decide when you’ll need to market these items, when they should go on sale and how you’ll deal with items that are selling quicker than you thought they would. Will you re-order some products or extend some services?

Create Strong Marketing Messages

The fourth quarter is the perfect time to gain the attention of new customers as well as loyal clients. Strong marketing messages that pull consumers in will be how you’ll make more sales during the end of the year.

Think about what marketing tactics have worked well in previous years. Start early and refine your sales pitch, web pages, marketing emails and social media messages that will be a part of your marketing campaign.

Put Your Customer First

Companies who get too involved in their numbers and statistics can sometimes forget about the customer. That’s why it’s important to look at the way your clients engage with your business.

Make sure you’re providing flexible payment options. The more ways a consumer can pay you the better. Take a look at what your customers said last year and what they’re saying this year about your company.

Look at the positives and the negatives. Think about ways you can improve the customer experience during this busy time and plan on how you’ll implement these improvements.

Encourage Customers to Come Back Often

Since consumers are in more of a mood and mindframe to shop during the final months of the year than at any other time, you’ll want to encourage them to come back to your place of business often! That means giving them any opportunity to take a look at your store or website, take out their wallet and purchase your products.

Use discount codes or coupons that will expire in a set amount of hours or days. You can also give them a coupon that will be available to use at a later date. This encourages them to come back to your business and buy even more.

Host Events That Bring Clients In

Customers want to buy products and services, but they don’t always want to be sold to. To encourage more sales, you can host events that bring loyal customers and new customers into your business.

This is a chance for people to see what exclusive items you offer during the season, and for your employees to become familiar with devoted fans of your company and make a great impression on your new customers. If customers have had a positive experience with your business before, they’ll be more likely to come in again.

Since many industries see sales increase during the fourth quarter, generating a great amount of revenue for the last portion of the year will make your business highly successful.

Using these tips and techniques, you can prepare for one of your best final quarters. With some time, effort and work, your company will be where you want it to be for the new year as well.

This article was contributed by Cameron Johnson, a business consultant and social media expert. Over the course of his career he has conducted case studies on both social media optimization and non-profit marketing. Cameron has also had the opportunity to speak at international marketing conferences and was recently recognized as one of the world’s top 100 advertising experts to follow on social media.

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