Five Ways to Beat the Summer Sales Slump
Have you already begun to hear that familiar refrain, “Talk to me after Labor Day.”
Welcome to the early signs of the Summer Sales Slump.
It’s exasperating. And it happens all throughout the year:
“Talk to me after tax time.” “Talk to me after the holidays.”
For many businesses, summer signals a painful slowdown in sales.
For prospects, vacations kick in. And people check out for much-needed relaxation.
Email and voice mail go unanswered.
Suddenly, the one person you need on your conference call is lounging on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean.
I’m fortunate to enjoy the summer months with family at our summer home on the rugged coast of Maine. The ocean views inspire my work, and I’m free to dive into deep sales projects.
I recall an email I received from a prospect last summer:
“Bill, I would like to schedule our next meeting, however, I am off on vacation until after the 4th. Frank is taking two weeks starting on the 15th and I definitely need him in the discussion. With all of the vacations scheduled, maybe it would make sense to reconnect after Labor Day.”
B2B sales are hard enough without having to round up multiple decisions makers in the summertime. Add to this the general wanderlust floating through offices across the country with employees daydreaming about being outdoors. Not a productivity enhancer.
So how do we maintain sales goals through those dog-months of June, July, and August?
Well, you can overcome the Summer Slump. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
1. Create a Sense of Urgency
When summer sales stagnate, the best way to improve the climate is to set up a sense of urgency within your prospect’s mind. To do that; you deftly help him to acknowledge he needs your solution. And now.
Get your prospect to see the bigger picture. Help him discover the risk of waiting to take action on his needs. Skillfully ask open-ended questions to help him see current needs and potential solutions.
When you encourage your prospect to recognize his or her needs in an authentic way, not manipulative, you can create urgency and trigger action.
Then look for ways to keep the process going while you wait for others to return from vacation schedules.
As I work in the revenue growth space, I might suggest you say the following:
“Over the next couple of months while people are vacationing, would it make sense to begin my assessment with some ridealongs with a select group of your salespeople. This way we keep the process going; the sooner we get things done, the sooner you can see revenue growth.”
To keep things moving forward, would it make sense that we do a targeted survey with your sales leaders over the summer schedule?
2. Start a Referral Program
Your current customer/client base represents a powerful network and your best shot at new business. So why not do some observation prospecting?
It begins by studying clients’ LinkedIn profiles to learn their connections within other organizations where you can target prospects. Then, ask for an introduction and apply your strategic sales process.
Not only can this LinkedIn action generate new clients for you, but it is also an effective way to show current prospect how others face similar issues.
I discovered on LinkedIn a connection between one of my client and an ideal prospect. I simply said:
“I know we haven’t finalized our work with you. However, I noticed you were LinkedIn with the CFO of a company that I have tried to engage in conversation for some time. May I use your name and mention we’re working on a project together?”
A referral program in summer is like an
ice-cold brew on a sweltering August day.
Be thirsty, my friends.
3. Continue to Nurture Leads
How prospects communicate during the summer changes. Even though they may disconnect from email and voice mail, they well may remain active on social media. Perhaps, they’re doing a little social selling for the summer, too.
Ramp up your social media strategy and activity to nurture your leads. Connect with LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter at a minimum. Be active and seen everywhere. To beat the summer doldrums, stay top-of-mind in your field.
4. Nurture Customer and Client Relationships
Oftimes, we forget to nurture our greatest resource: current customers or clients. These relationships feed oxygen to your business. However, they can wither if you’re overly preoccupied with a new deal.
Summer is the perfect time to catch up with these relationships and ensure your clients are not only satisfied, but delighted with your services. It’s an opportune time to do a little socializing, too. Take them to a ball game, hold a client picnic, or enjoy some golf together.
5. Prepare for the Fall
Use summer downtime to strategize for your busy seasons. Work ahead to create marketing campaigns for fall launch. Write blog posts in advance of publishing deadlines. Create a new downloadable offer with a buzzworthy white paper, eBook or other content to generate interest and leads. Download our info-packed eBook on developing a content strategy.
Summer also offers time to do event planning for your upcoming fall or holiday event. Create themes, invitations, emails, or landing pages to promote and follow-up your event. This effort now will save you time and unwanted stress down the road when business picks up.
what sales story will you write?
See you on the upside,Bill
For more information, go to www.pleinairestrategies.com
Or call William L. MacDonald in San Diego at PleinAire Strategies LLC at 760.340.4277 or 213.598.4700