Now that the weather is warm up and the school year is finished, it’s time to address the “summer slowdown,” also known as the summer doldrums. It’s that time of year when many business owners, managers and their staffs have time off and head for vacations.
Because of that, salespeople can have a tougher time getting in front of the decision makers, and maintaining their sales pace and numbers.
If you’re experiencing the first summer slowdown of your sales career, here are a few tips on how to ensure sales stay strong while temperatures rise.
1. Change your mindset: Sales consultant Grant Cardone says that having the proper mental approach can make a big difference, and that sales managers should make it clear to their teams that they will not succumb to a slowdown. “Hold a daily meeting to discuss what you are going to do to prosper — not contract — this summer,” he writes for Entrepreneur. “Set clearly defined goals and list the activities that need to be undertaken to achieve them. Give yourself deadlines for your goals and create a no-excuses, no-negativity environment. You’ll be surprised by what you can achieve.”
2. Force yourself to act upon that mindset: Sales consultant and author Mike Brooks compares the summer doldrums of the sales season to NFL training camps, when the work that goes into those brutally hot months can pay off later in the year. “Keep working hard — if not harder,” he writes for salesgravy.com. “Make more calls. Send more emails, stay later and come in earlier. The time you put in now may not seem to pay off right away, but in the fall you’ll see the fruits of your labor.”
3. Take advantage of a client’s plans: Steve Johnson, co-author of Selling Is Everyone’s Business, says that salespeople can use time off as a talking point, in a story for accountingweb.com: “It’s great that you’re going on vacation. That makes it even more critical that we meet right now, before you go.” Or sales reps can use their own time off as that same launch point to “create a natural sense of urgency,” he says: “I’m going on vacation in two weeks, so we really need to get the ball rolling in the next few days.”
4. Lean on your best clients: As Cardone writes, use your connections, and make it clear to them that your work pace does not slow down during the summer. “Target anyone who has bought from you in the last 90 days through direct mail, phone calls, emails or social media,” he writes. “Get into regular communication with these customers and figure out how to expand your business with them. For example, find out what you can do to assist as they prepare for vacation or to help fill a gap in their absence.”
5. A laid-back approach can appeal to some clients: Kendra Lee, author of The Sales Magnet, says that the relaxed summer vibe can lead to new networking and sales opportunities. “If you invest in prospecting in the summer just like you do every other season, you’ll find that it’s easier to get prospects to agree to meetings, lunch or even a round of golf,” Lee writes for thevarguy.com. “You can get much more creative about how you network and create relationship-building environments that feel less rigid.”