Beach time. Family time. Holiday time. Summer has arrived and as much as it is a benefit when it comes to taking a little vacay to relax, sales business tends to take a hit. Though some businesses come alive in the summer, it is not the norm. Many businesses slow down when the summer months hit. In other words, your team needs to be prepared for the summer sales slump.
The first thing you need to remember when beating the summer sales slump is don’t panic! There may be a bit of a dip but things will pick up again after Labor Day. But, what do you do in the meantime? These slow months should be used for doing footwork that will help to ramp up for the bigger sales in the fall. Rather than sitting there idly, it is a time to work on professional development and sales coaching that you did not have as much time for in the busy months.
Even though things may be slower, always keep the team focused and drive toward the number. But keep in mind, because of the summer sales slump, It may be harder to make sales goals. In other words, more effort may be needed. So, if you really want to keep the team motivated, offer an incentive for the highest sales in July and August. Encourage them to push through and do what they can despite slower times.
Lay of the Land
The second key to beating the summer sales slump is paying extra attention to the pipeline and forecast review. While these things should always be kept in mind, it is especially important in the months leading up to the summer. This will give you an idea of expected sales and a trajectory for what you need to work toward.
Understand that slow business happens because others are on holidays but this also means that your reps will be taking holidays as well. To combat this, ask for their schedule in advance so you know who will be in the office, who will be in the field, and who will be on the beach. This way, you will be able to plan better when you know who will be available.
Reps will know that business will slow down so they need to take action as well. They should be reaching out to their prospects and know what is going on in their world so they have a time frame to work with. For example, if they know a potential customer will be away in August they can push for a July close on a deal. If the prospect will be away in July the sales rep can take note and set a reminder to touch base first thing in August.
Beating the summer sales slump also means taking advantage of all that’s available in the summertime. Oftentimes there are many events held during these months that your reps should take advantage of, so you want to know who is available. For example, there may be training opportunities that some of the sales reps can attend. Or there may be a charity golf tournament that your company can put in a team for. It is important to take advantage of social events that offer the opportunity for face-to-face networking time that can be used to drive business.
The Good Leads
The third way to beat the summer sales slump is during the dry months, revisit “dead leads.” Sometimes a deal does not work out and it is forgotten about but it is never a bad idea to reassess it. Perhaps some things have changed that could alter the outcome. Maybe there have been upgrades to the product, maybe the warranty has changed, maybe the focus of the customer’s business has changed; there are a lot of things that may change an old dead lead into a great sales opportunity. So, take this time to send out some emails and make some phone calls.
During the sales summer slump, there should be an emphasis on prospecting. While there may be a lot of people away on vacation there is still someone back at the office running the show. Make some phone calls and see who you can speak with. If you can, find out when the decision maker will be back in the office and see if you can set up some appointments.
It’s also a good idea to take the time to create a summer email or go out and visit former customers to seek referrals. If there have been changes or additional items added to your product you can also have those discussions with former customers.
Because of this slump, it is also important that you master the skill of upselling. So, when you do make a sale, see what other products the client is interested in. Some of the items may seem small and arbitrary but the more you can upsell, the higher profit margin you will see at the end of the day.
Make it easy for people to set up meetings with you as well. Perhaps they know they will be on vacation but would like to meet with you when they return. Send out some emails and include a link to a schedule they can use to set a meeting time with you. The easier it is to do business with you , the more likely people will be to book that first meeting. The process needs to be easy. If they can click a link and see your available time slots it does not get much easier than that.
The fourth and final way to beat the summer sales slump is to master social selling. If you do not already have some platforms set up, take the down time to work on some of that. Start a blog, join LinkedIn, set up Twitter and a business Facebook page. Use every source you can to get your brand out there.
Programs like HootSuite will allow you to schedule posts. This way, you are able to put in as many posts as you want and schedule a day and a time that they will be posted to social media. Get some things ready that you want on your page and then set it up. It is a good idea to do some research about when the highest number of your followers are active as that is a good time to schedule the post so that it is seen by more.
Sales reps who get good at using social media as a sales tool can drive business. Another option is to do podcasts like you hear here. You can reach thousands of people at a time and get the information out there.
Whatever it is that needs to be worked on within your company to help the sales reps be more successful, this is the time to do it. Encourage training sessions, social events, and special one-on-one coaching time so that when fall comes, everyone is ready and at the top of their game.
Keep Filling The Funnel
We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover. You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.