It can be tempting for companies and salespeople to coast through the slower-paced summer months. Summer is the time for vacations, when people are regularly out of the office, which requires more effort on the part of salespeople to keep the pipeline full, successfully close sales, and see profit from those efforts.
This seasonal slowdown will cause many organizations to just give up on the season, and save their goals for the months ahead when the pace picks up. Taking the time to lay the groundwork and planning now, however, can help you set up to have a fantastic fall, and lead to strong year-end results. Here are a few ways you can use your slow summer to ramp up for an outstanding fall.
Nurture your long leads and existing customers
There are always some leads that require a bit more attention. You also likely have several accounts that will be up for renewal in the second half of the year. Taking the time over the summer to start nurturing these leads can position you well for strong fall sales. Since you may have more time during the long weeks of July and August, consider:
Setting up conference calls or meetings to discuss the product or services with prospects.
Conduct in-depth research on prospects so that all your selling efforts can be specifically tailored to this person.
Speak directly with existing customers to see how they are using your products or services. Look
for areas where they can get more out of what your product has to offer. Create reports that show how much they have gained from your services already.
Prepare for the holiday season
It might feel strange to start thinking about the holidays in September, but successful companies know that planning in advance is key to sales success. The holiday season can be a difficult time for sales, since many people get distracted by seasonal activities. However, remember that many businesses are also scrambling to finish spending their yearly budget before the year-end and new year, since operating on a use-it-or-lose-it budget strategy is common. Some estimates point to a 5x increase in expenditure during the final week of the fiscal year compared to an average week, particularly for government agencies. In preparation for this important period consider:
Using holiday messaging in your advertising and sales tactics, tapping into the festive mood that many buyers will be in.
Analyze your competitors to see where their weaknesses lie upon which you can capitalize.
Look at trends in Q4 buying from past years as well as the data over the past year to identify the areas that will likely be important at the end of this year.
Build your brand reputation online
Customers today are looking for products and services online. An estimated 81 percent of customers perform research online before making a purchase. This means that for you to finish the year strongly, you need to have a helpful online presence that will help you draw more prospects into your prospecting and sales funnel. Posting helpful articles and open-ended questions to start conversations can put you on the radar of potential customers. Inviting existing clients to share stories or pictures of their experiences with your brand in exchange for coupons or other rewards can improve your brand reach and reputation. Make sure that your main website is also home to high-quality content that addresses topics that your customers will find useful and interesting.
Fall presents organizations with the opportunity to finish the year well, with strong sales records and good relationships with clients that can carry over into the next year. Work with your team to prepare for this season throughout the summer and see how a well-optimized season can help your brand see success and grow this year.
Darrel Risberg is President of Sandler Training with offices in Downtown Denver and Broomfield, CO..To contact him call 720-880-8302 or email him at Darrel.Risberg@sandler.com.