Now that the good weather is in full bloom a lot of organizations experience a summer sales slowdown in their pipeline development. When the good weather is here it can sometimes be harder to get ahold of the people you need to reach because they’re not picking up their phones, checking their email or looking at your LinkedIn connect request.
Thanks for your email but I am currently out-of-office and won’t be checking email for the next 10 days…
Does this kind of email response look familiar? If so you are likely experiencing the autoresponder blues?
First off, don’t panic. Sales is cyclical and if things are slowing down for you in summer then it’s likely a normal part of the sales cadence for your industry. Here are five tips to give you a framework for dealing with the summer sales slow down.
1 – Revisit your goals
Sales Managers need to rally the troops when things slow down to keep the positive vibe flowing through the sales team. Take the time to find innovative ways to motivate your team. Maybe you could have the sales management team serve an early morning breakfast for the sales team to show the love. Or maybe it’s a trip to the ballpark to see an afternoon game. Let your team know you appreciate everything they are doing to keep momentum going in the slow summer months.
For sales reps look for inspiration and motivation by focusing on activity goals that you can actually achieve. Maybe it means doing those tasks you have been putting off for months. Take the time to speak with your team to find out if there’s anything you can do for your customers that isn’t directly sales related. Find a way to show your customers love by sending them updates on your company/product/etc. Or, send out marketing collateral that your customers will find relevant and interesting. Make yourself invaluable by being the resource that doesn’t quit.
2 – Determine if your contact is on vacation or simply ignoring you
If your customers aren’t getting back to you it could mean they’re not in the office, that they’re not focused on making a decision right now, or that they simply don’t have the time to get back to you. It’s important to not assume that they’re on vacation. Just because business is slow for you right now doesn’t mean it is for your customers. Take the time to find out and adjust your strategy and messaging accordingly. Keep track of that in your CRM because the intel you uncover is priceless. Inject some personality into your messaging to build a connection with your customers.
3 – Prospect
Just because you’re not closing deals in summer doesn’t mean you can’t find new opportunities to fill the pipeline. The key to predictable revenue is consistency, so be consistent. Find new customers by using the slowdown in activity to take the time to research prospects and develop a plan for outreach that adds good opportunities to the top of your funnel. Maybe it’s time to revisit that lapsed customer list, or that “not right now” list you have been meaning to get back to. There could be gold hiding out right in front of you. Go get it!
4 – Find other ways to drive revenue
If your customers aren’t buying but you can still connect with them why not ask them for a referral? Chances are they know someone that could your product or service and there’s no better time to ask for a referral then now. Another strategy worth pursuing is cross-selling or upselling. Go deep into the account to find opportunities within your customer’s organization. Other departments might have different requirements or timetables so don’t be shy about asking for your contact for an internal referral.
5 – Be resourceful
It’s better to be helpful than a pest, so if your customer is on vacation why not reach out to others in the company to add value to your current relationship. Send a webinar invite to your customer’s marketing team might that they might find interesting. Share industry research that’s relevant and timely, or invite people to an event your company is hosting. Remember that ball game your sales manager is taking you to? Why not bring along a customer or prospect and take the time to build a relationship? After all, isn’t that why we’re in sales?
Don’t let the summer slowdown bring you down. Find ways to stay focused, be positive and add value to your customer relationships. Now go and enjoy the sun!