Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer Sales Slump?


Five Ways to Have Sizzling Summer Sales
by Mike Brooks

I'm amazed when I hear sales people and managers tell me how slow summer is for their business. It's almost like they're resigned to the fate of poor summer performance and are already thinking about how to make up their losses in the fall. Now I understand that many people take vacations in summer - a week or so here and there - but they are working all the other time aren't they? Even if your particular business slows down during the summer months (trade show, etc.), that doesn't mean you can't pre-book business or build relationships, or get referrals.

The fact is, top 20 percent producers still find ways to make their quotas in summer, and they also find ways to set up the end of the year so they exceed their revenue goals, earn their bonuses and have a great holiday season. And you can, too.

Here are five ways to make sure your summer sales sizzle, and ways to make sure you end the year strong as well:

#1 Have a strategy. Eighty percent of your competition approach summer like they approach everything else in their sales career -- they ad-lib their way through this season and hope to run into business. The top 20 percent, on the other hand, know exactly what objections they may encounter, they are prepared for them, and they have a specific selling strategy in place before they pick up the phone.

Do you have your "summer special" ready to counter the "slow summer price objection?" Do you have your "pre-fall purchase special" together to get pre-orders from those companies who are waiting until mid September? What is your compelling reason for your prospects to act now? Will they increase market share while other companies are sitting on the sideline? If you don't have a compelling reason as to why they should buy now, then develop a pitch today. Whatever you do, don't go in blind.

#2 Make more calls before noon. In summer, most people can't wait to leave the office and enjoy the sunshine while it's here. It's a proven fact that during summer most of the work, and attention given to that work by employees, takes place during the morning hours.

You need to capitalize on that work-flow energy and dedicate yourself to making as many of your calls as you can before noon. That doesn't mean you stop calling after noon, but try to put off your other activities like paperwork, quotes, etc., until later in the day and do the bulk of your calling in the morning.

Also, try to make an additional 5 calls per day. If you can accomplish that, you'll put in over 315 additional calls this summer. That, combined with morning calls, will pay off for you big time.

#3 Be prepared to talk vacation. Need an instant rapport builder? Ask your prospect where they are vacationing this summer and then let them talk! Did you notice that I used an assumptive question here? I didn't say to ask, "Are you taking a vacation this summer," rather ask "Where are you vacationing this summer?"

After you listen and ask some questions about their vacation, it's time to get back to business. Try a good transition sentence like, "You know _________, many of my clients are taking vacations as well and they are making sure to get all the business done that they can ahead of time so they can relax and enjoy their time off. I'm taking orders now for (your product or service), how many (your product or service) do you think you'd like to order before you leave?"

Adapt that script to fit your selling situation, but use it after talking vacation - you'll get more order than you think.

#4 Set your prospect up for the fourth quarter. Many fourth quarter deals are set up - and sometimes even completed - during the summer months. Here's the key, though: Don't do what 80 percent of your competition does which is simply to get a time to call back in the fall, but rather, get a "pre-order" from your prospect up front.

What you do is get all the information on a possible order size, need, circumstances, dates, etc., and then tell your prospect that you will "Have that order ready," and that you'll leave it open in case they need to add or subtract from it when the time comes." Then go ahead and send your prospect out the order form, contract, P.O., etc., along with a date of follow up or fill.

#5 Invest in your own training. Now that the summer is here, if you've got some additional time (or your team does), this is the perfect time to invest in their development. The smart companies use the summer months to improve their team's selling skills so they are sharp and ready to take advantage of the fourth quarter.

Remember, if you're not doing something to improve, then you probably aren't improving.

So there is your summer recipe for sales success. Use any of these five ideas to improve your results and you're sure to have the best summer (and fall) yet!

Mike Brooks has over 20 years of inside sales closing experience and has been billed nationwide as Mr. Inside Sales. For more information visit
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