In North America, sales efforts traditionally slide downward during the summer months. No matter what you think as a sales professional, most of us mentally gear down our sales activities for three reasons:
We expect less. Everyone "knows" that our prospects are totally diverted with personal and family issues during the summer, right?
We shift down and slow down. Some companies encourage it - and I agree, for those of you who CAN stay productive.
It breaks up the monotony of the year - slow down in the summer, kick it up in the fall - when everyone is re-focused.
This is a dangerous situation if you really think you can't sell during the summer months. Business is happening every day. You just don't want to think that you can reach as many folks because, well - it might take more effort over the summer months. People DO go on vacation - but the key to remember is this: Not everyone is gone every business day all summer. There. I said it.
So you have to be more diverse in how you prospect and in how you connect with clients. It might take more time. Trips you may be going on (for outside reps) may need MORE lead time.
Business deals are happening though, and your sales opportunities are better to start now than to mentally write off these next few months. Are you with us in growing as much or more revenues as you have in your forecast? Do you HAVE a good summer plan?
Here is an acronym, S.P.I.C.E. to help those who are committed to growing their sales over the summer - just like the organic, no-salt spice we grill with throughout this wonderful season. See if this might work for you:
Sales focus - every day, have a sales / revenue focus. Think about how your pipeline is building out, and where it is light. Pick up a new sales book, like ones we have reviewed, including Zero Time Selling, High Profit Selling, SNAP Selling, or others.
Plan weekly - On Monday, declare your revenue and sales activity goals. Review at the end of EVERY week.
Invite conversations with clients and partners - If it is slower now for you, set up meetings by phone or in person, talking with existing clients, past customers, and strategic / referral partners. Have an agenda, and be focused on what THEY need before you even talk about what you are working on. You'll be blown away by the results if you do this consistently. Send a hand-written note afterward to thank them for their time. Wow - big impact.
Create 3 awesome goals to accomplish by the end of Labor Day weekend. One could be an activity goal, such as identifying and contacting 25 potential referral partners, or to hit a revenue number based on a "stretch goal" using the data in your sales pipeline. Put those goals on the wall, and think every day as to how you can reach them. Ask for help, support, and introductions.
Explore new strategies - Ever looked at the Twitter stream to see what people are talking about in your sector or have you looked up actual customers / prospects to see what they are talking about? There are still a lot of B2B companies who turn away from social tools. Some of our clients don't have a great LinkedIn strategy, yet it could bring them numerous new deals in a few months' time. Some of you are so into technology that you don't pick up the phone enough. Can ONE new weekly effort result in new prospects, and ultimately one new deal by the end of the summer?
What ideas are you putting in place to keep you focused and growing revenues? We'll be here over the next 90 days to encourage you. Share your thoughts below, as comments - we''d love to hear them. Together, let's work to hit those goals and accomplish what others won't even think about this time of year.
Lori Richardson writes, speaks, and trains on sales topics for B2B mid-market technology front-line sales teams. Why not sign up for our twice-monthly newsletter,Sales Tips in a Minute or the blog rss feed? We value your time and promise good stuff for you.