“Summertime and the living is easy..." Not so much for the many companies who experience slower sales as the business world loosens its tie and dips its toes in the pool come the sunnier months. Not only is summer notorious for lower close rates, but it also marks the halfway point of the year; Q1/Q2 have wrapped up, and if a slow summer wasn’t incorporated into annual planning, it can cost you the number come end of year.
Regardless of if you planned for a slow summer or you’re caught by surprise, there are many ways to use a seasonal slowdown to your advantage and get on track:
- Don’t take a break – No, this doesn’t mean not to take a summer vacation! What it does mean is work just as hard, if not harder than ever, when you’re in the office. Don’t get lax in your start time or sneak out early just because you can or other people are doing it; stay on the grind and set yourself up to hit the ground running in the fall.
- Get prepared – Spend down time examining the marketplace and your competition, focusing on R&D, and preparing new offers, campaigns, features and/or product releases for fall/winter roll-out. Train your sales reps on upcoming rollouts so when busy season picks up, you have a well-equipped team.
- Take advantage of downtime - With a quiet office and fewer interruptions, you have the benefit of focusing on things that fell off your plate when things got busy; this is your opportunity to get organized, clean up your CRM, tackle a side project, check in with your existing clients, brainstorm a new campaign, do performance reviews, etc.
- Focus on self-improvement and training – With more time on your hands, you can do more continued training and education for yourself and your team. This could mean reading more articles and books pertaining to your industry or role, attending a seminar or taking a course in an area you’d like to improve, training your team through informational sessions, role-playing scenarios and practicing presentations/demos, etc.
- Reflect on the year – take a look at the Q1/Q2 numbers and activities, and consider what went well and what could be improved, revisit your original goals and set goals for the rest of the year, and assess sales rep performance. Use your reflections to decide where to concentrate during a slow summer (Training? Market research? Organization?), and how to proceed in Q3/Q4 to make for a successful year.
- Update social media – If you don’t have a LinkedIn account already, make one. If you do, make sure it’s up to date with your latest skills, background and experience, endorsements, and a great picture. If you have other social media profiles, update these as well to ensure your personal brand is consistent and your information is accurate. Use your profiles to start connecting with customers and colleagues.
- Create a referral program – Drive sales in the summer by implementing a referral program to reward loyal customers through discounts and incentives, and gain new busines that's already been warmed up through good references.
- Reconnect with your clients – It’s easy to lose touch with your best contacts when things are busy. Check in with important accounts, colleagues, and mentors by grabbing lunch together or having a phone call, to maintain relationships and gain valuable insights and feedback.
Incorporate these tips starting today and while you may not see immediate results, they will become clear when you shoot out the gate ahead of your competition in a couple of months. If you're concerned that the summer slowdown will have a negative effect on your sales organization and your annual goal, contact SRi for a complimentary consultation to find out how sales consulting can help.