OREANDA-NEWS. August 21, 2015. Its hard to believe that 2015 is already more than halfway over. In just a few weeks time, well be elbow deep in Q4, which is why its so important to prepare for the upcoming quarter now rather than wait until the last minute and wind up stressing rather than enjoying the holidays. The good news is that theres still plenty of time to check everything off your sales list before winter rolls around. So, in the spirit of Santa Claus, the master of list makers, heres a rundown of a few things you can start doing now to prepare for the upcoming holiday selling season:

Find out whats buzzing. Take a look at what is currently trending in the world of food, fashion, media, entertainment, and other areas and apply it to your own industry. One easy way I like to keep up with whats hot right now is by checking Twitters trending box, which you can customize based on where you live. The trends change daily depending on the frequency of hashtag uses. Why not join in on the conversation? By staying active on social media, youll increase the amount of people youre reaching, which could very well lead to sales in the future because youre keeping your company front of mind with potential customers. Also, by knowing whats hot now, you can start planning what merchandise youll want to stock for the holidays and begin placing orders. You can also start teasing customers on social media and your website by giving them glimpses of what products will be for available in the upcoming months.  

Build your audiences. Twitter and Facebook may be the most popular social networks right now, but there are plenty of other platforms out there that can help you reach both current and potential customers alike. The Internet is a constantly evolving environment, so whatever network is popular now may be old news by tomorrow (MySpace comes to mind). If your company doesnt already have accounts on Pinterest, Reddit, and YouTube, you might want to consider signing up. Companies are finding that these outlets are just as good for making sales. For example, shopping website Shopify analyzed 37 million of its social media visits, which resulted in 529,000 orders on its website. Even though Facebook accounts for 85 percent of all Shopify orders coming through social media, it found that orders from Reddit increased by 153 percent in 2013. Talk about a hidden social network for potential sales!

Understand your competition. One of your main marketing strategies should be analyzing you competition and finding out how theyre reaching their own customer base. Its possible that theyre doing something that you might not have thought about yet. By researching now, youll give yourself enough of a head start to make changes before the hectic Q4 shopping season arrives and youll be too busy tackling other tasks to do so.  

Create goals for Q4. So now that you have a dialogue going on social media and you have an idea of what your competition is doing, its important to figure out what your actual sales goals are for Q4. Now is a good time to take a peek at how things shook out last year in the same quarter. After reading through your spreadsheets, ask yourself the following questions: What worked? What didnt work? What couldve been done to improve last years numbers? By analyzing those numbers youll have a better idea of what kind of goal you should set this year. Remember, its important to make sure that its obtainable and not too farfetched. For example, maybe you want to increase total sales by a X percent or you want to close X number of deals this upcoming quarter. Once you have a specific focus, its far easier to take the necessary steps to achieve your goal.  

Now tell me, what are some things youre doing to gear up for Q4?