Experienced sales professionals know that summer is a tough time for sales. Many people are out on vacation, and that can slow down the sales cycle. Even if you are able to reach the person you need, they in turn might need approval from a colleague who is relaxing on the beach and the whole process slows down again.
To overcome your summer sales slump, try the tactics below.
1. Set weekly and monthly goals and track your progress
You probably have a quota for the summer, but that can be overwhelming. To help motivate yourself, set smaller goals that will help you reach your quota. Select goals that are within your control—for example, setting up demonstrations or making prospecting calls. Keep track of your progress and reward yourself when you complete a goal.
You may find that your goals need to be more modest during the summer. It’s okay to adjust your goals, so long as you’re making consistent progress.
2. Pay attention to potential trigger events for your prospects
Business continues during the summer, so you need to stay on top of relevant news. Set Google Alerts for your prospects and spend time on LinkedIn and other relevant social media platforms. Be on the lookout for trigger events such as a merger or the announcement of a new product. Even relatively small news can be a trigger.
Use the trigger to reach out to prospects. Make sure to explain why the trigger event makes your solution more relevant for their business.
3. Seek referrals from happy customers
Referrals are oftentimes the best prospects, so it’s always worth tapping your existing network for referral possibilities. Reach out to happy customers and ask if they know anyone who might benefit from your solution. If they do, ask for an introduction.
Summer can be a good time to ask for referrals because people have less on their plate. Thank your customer for their assistance.
4. Contact old prospects from deals that haven’t yet gone through
Use the summer months to go through your cold deals and try to warm them up a little. The situation may have changed for prospects since you last contacted them. Take advantage of the summer lull by reminding your prospect that you’re here and you can help.
Although responses may be slower in summer, it’s a great time to thoroughly assess whether or not a prospect is worth keeping in your pipeline.
5. Vary the times you contact prospects so you can catch them when they’re in the office
It is okay to try and reach out to new prospects in summer! But since many people work different hours during the summer months, it’s particularly important to switch up when you contact prospects. Some people may be working from home for all or part of the day.
If you receive an out-of-office response, take note of it. Try to contact them again when they’re back, ideally a few days after their return to the office. Remember that they’ll probably be overwhelmed with work on their first day back.
6. Catch up with old contacts who recently changed positions
Set aside time for going through your contact list, taking note of people who have changed positions recently. (Check LinkedIn if you aren’t sure!) This process is good for the accuracy of your records. Another advantage is that people who just started in new positions are less likely to take a vacation than others, making them prime contacts.
Reach out to your contacts to find out more about their new position and whether you might be able to establish a new business relationship if your company isn’t already working with theirs. Since they’re already familiar with your work, this can be a great opportunity.
7. Devote time to nurturing existing customer relationships, upselling when you can
Your existing customers can be a great source of business. Most of the time, it’s easier to get buy-in from a happy customer than a brand-new prospect.
During the summer, work on existing customer relationships. Don’t just check in on a superficial level, but have an in-depth conversation about how their business is shifting and how they are using the solution. This is a great way to identify potential retention issues, and also helps you to find opportunities to upsell.
8. Pick up a new skill during the summer
You will probably have more time on your hands during the summer. Use that time productively by giving yourself an assignment to learn a new skill. This can be anything from a new technical skill, sales method, or acquiring knowledge about an industry topic. Create a schedule for how you’re going to pick up the skill. Your company may provide support for continuing education. If there are courses or conferences available, take advantage of them!
9. Work on refining a new sales pitch
It’s easy to fall into a rut with your messaging. Why not switch things up and experiment with a new message in the summer?
You might even incorporate the season into your initial sales pitch. For example, say, “I know you’d rather be at the beach, but perhaps we can arrange a conversation for next week.” A little humor and humanity can go a long way with prospects.
10. Prepare to prospect during the fall
Even if you make strong efforts to prospect during the summer, you may find that it’s just harder to fill the pipeline. This is particularly true in certain industries.
You can still utilize the summer smartly by preparing for your fall prospecting. Go into heavy-duty research mode so that you’ll be ready to kill it after Labor Day.
Summer is definitely a difficult time for sales reps—but it doesn’t have to be a black hole for productivity. By using summer as an opportunity to reconnect with old prospects and plan future outreach, you can make the most of this time.