After a month or two of sweltering heat, bug bites, and melting popsicles, it can start to seem as though the summer is never going to end.
With the heat waves comes the inevitable summer sales slump dreaded by sales professionals and marketers alike. While there are some exceptions to this summer slump rule, glares at the ice cream man, most businesses experience this naturally occurring phenomenon.
All of your top prospects are relaxing on a beach somewhere, your sales manager seems to be on the golf course every other day, and you’re existing customers are brushing you off with automated ‘Out of Office’ replies, because around 40% of people plan their vacations for some time in August (Ask Your Target Market).
So how can we avoid this seasonal curse? Check out these 5 sales and marketing tips and tricks to break through the summer sales slump, and reignite your pipeline.
1. Ask for referrals
Referrals are a fantastic way of heating up your summer sales, and with referrals being 50% more likely to close than other types of leads; it’s not hard to see why (No More Cold Calling).
However, unless you’re the best of the best, referrals aren’t going to fall into your lap like that inevitable drip of ice cream. According to research from Texas Tech University, 83% of consumers are willing to refer after a positive experience – yet only 29% actually do! You have to go out there and ask for them.
If you find that you’re struggling to get a hold of your prospects, start reaching out to your existing customers, reconnect with them, and ask them if they know anyone that would be interested in your product or service.
Referral relationships are already one step ahead of your normal prospects because of the trust engrained in the referral practice, 84% of consumers trust the recommendations of others (DCR Strategies, 2016). Moving these prospects through the sales funnel is a whole lot easier, and you’re already on your way to breaking through the slump.
2. Reach out to existing customers
While you have your happy and satisfied customers on the phone make sure you ask them about their experience with you and your company. See how they’re using and enjoying your product or service, and ask them if there’s anything else you do for them.
Work these opportunities to upsell to your existing customers. Hubspot said it best with, “Remember – sales isn’t all hunting, all the time. Farming can be just as profitable (and is often far easier).”
3. Set small, smart goals
If you’re in a seemingly endless downward spiral, sometimes all you need is that small burst of success to remind you that it’s not all doom and gloom.
The best method we’ve come across to solve this problem is creating small, SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound), goals. These goals help to keep your spirits high, keep you on the right track, and help to sustain that forward motion.
An example of a SMART goal would be to have one conversation about referrals with an existing customer by the end of the day, to prospect seven companies on LinkedIn by the end of the week, to completely clean up your email list by the end of the month, etc. By breaking up your big goals into manageable and achievable chunks, you’re on your way to success.
These goals also help to break up the long days, and prove to yourself that you’re still the same hard-working and capable individual underneath all that sunscreen, and that you have the drive to make it through to the fall.
4. Check out social media and take a vacation
Rather than glaring at your phone, scrolling through an Instagram feed full of fun vacation photos, take this as an opportunity to connect with your prospects and customers.
This is the time to build up your own social media presence and establish your personal, professional brand. Post that cool team photo from the work event, share that cute video of the office dog, take over the company's account and post a 'day in the life' type segment, engage with your followers and post more content!
These are powerful strategies for increasing your online presence, and attracting the attention of viable leads for your brand. According to DCR Strategies, 43% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it on social media.
And don’t forget to take your own vacation; you need your rest too. Beside, you never know who’s going to be lounging next to you by the pool. A summer vacation can prove to be the perfect place for a little bit of networking (Hubspot).
5. Prepare for the fall season
So, you’re in the middle of the summer, no one is returning your calls, your emails bounce back, and what do you do? Smart sales people will take advantage of this downtime, and use it as an opportunity to prepare for the busy times ahead.
It’s never too early to start planning for new product releases, testing out email cadences, revamping your call lists, evaluating your prospecting techniques, and strengthening your customer relationships. Use your downtime for training, review your best practices, and you may establish a new sales technique or tool that will help to carry you out of the summer.
Another great idea for how to use your spare time is to work with marketing to create new content. “When business is slow, take time to consult with colleagues in Marketing about new collateral. As a sales rep, you’re in a prime position to identify topics that would resonate with buyers. If you provide marketers with the idea, they can bring it to life. And a new piece of content that effectively attracts or nurtures leads means more prospects for you to sell to down the line.” (Hubspot, 2016).
So, while you may be in the middle of your summer slump, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Once, that first leaf falls your business should return to normal and you will have survived another sales summer. We sincerely hope you can implement some of these tricks and we believe that you can make it through.
And, if you need a little extra help reach out to one of our sales specialists today and they'll be more than happy to chat to you about the unique benefits that WHUT's sales content management solution can have for you and your organization.