7 Tips To Make the Most of the Dreaded "Summer Sales Slump"
Since we were children, we've been programmed to believe that summer means time off (except for farmers). The quandary for those in sales is that this often leads to the dreaded summer sales slump.
As we head into the second half of summer, many senior sales executives nationwide may be paying the price for lenient policies such as Summer Fridays in the form of decreased productivity. Couple this with the fact that many potential prospects are traveling, on vacation, or otherwise unavailable for phone calls or emails, sales might be dwindling. We've identified 7 tips to avoid the dreaded summer sales slump.
- Do not concede, set the tone. It is not written in stone that summer is a time for decreased sales. In fact, many companies do very well during the summer. Company leaders must set the tone and convey that success is still expected and motivate their sales reps for the best sales period of their careers. (See the next tip for one way to achieve this.)
- Conduct a summer sales contest. Run a contest starting now through Labor Day that rewards the company's top sales rep. Perhaps they can earn an extra week off or a monetary bonus that will kick in to help them plan their winter vacation. Create a range of rewards and give the big prize to the rep who made the most sales, but include smaller prizes for accomplishments such as acquiring a new prospect or beating a personal best. This should engage the entire sales force.
- Network in the nice weather. The last thing anyone wants to do is brave the snow and cold to attend a networking event that might not pay off. Summer is an ideal time to identify industry events and have sales reps attend to increase their circle of contacts and learn industry trends. Many events are held at vacation destinations--an opportunity to encourage them to take an extra day or two to relax following the conference to recharge their batteries.
- Encourage vacations. Vacations lead to increased sales productivity as employees return rejuvenated (and with the cost of vacations these days, they will likely return with a new appreciation for the need to make more money!). By encouraging time off you will not only see increased profits, you will engender goodwill from your sales team, which will have a positive long-term effect on morale.
- Reconnect with former clients on social media. Summer is a great time for reaching out to former clients and see how they're doing. Go on social media to avoid those posting beach pictures of their time away with their family, Instead, reach out to those still hard at work to schedule a lunch. It could be time to re-engage with them directly or get some referrals. (They can use a break, too.)
- Implement new sales tools. Giving sales reps the tools they need to be successful is half the battle. Take this time to offer educational opportunities to your team, and to introduce new sales and productivity tools. Given the speed technology is changing the industry, use this summer to make sure your sales department is state of the art. Once your team knows they have the right tools, they will feel more confident and ready for battle.
- Use "down" time for long-term planning. In the event that prospecting is impossible, don't throw in the towel. Use this slower period to plan the next 6 months. Encourage the head of your sales department and each individual sales rep to map out their goals and pathway to success for the remainder of the year. By investing in long-term planning, the results will start rolling in come autumn.
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