It’s that time of the year. School holidays. Summer holidays. Everything slows down. Prospects are away. Decisions won’t be made. And your sales team are telling you they won’t make quota because it’s summer time.
At Sandler, we disagree. If you accept it as an undeniable truth, it’s undeniably true that your summer slowdown will show up with serious consequences to the bottom line when sales initiated now should be closing. So don’t accept slowing down the prospecting or keeping in touch calls with customers. You will create a self-fulfilling prophecy if you accept that despite your efforts, your summer will be tough.
You may need to take action – just don’t roll over and accept that you won’t find new business, close deals and meet new and promising business connections this August.
Change that old sales mantra ABC from Always Be Closing to Always Be Calling this summer. You’ll get much better results.
So what steps can you take to ABC Always Be Calling this summer?
Sort out your head trash create a winning sales plan
- Manage your mind.
Decide not to participate in the ‘Summer is Slow’ myth. Opt out of self-fulfilling prophecies. Your attitude matters. If you think it won’t work, you can be sure you are right. So show leadership and don’t make excuses yourself. And agree with your team that excuses aren’t acceptable and agree a plan of action to win more business this summer.
- Clean up your new business pipelines.
Be brutal. Remember that Sandler Rule #31 – close the sale or close the file. Stop wasting time chasing business which won’t close. If you know there’s not a good fit, or your prospect won’t agree a mutually satisfactory up front contract for your next meeting, then don’t waste more time. Politely let the prospect know you are closing their file and clean up your pipeline. Make sure your active prospects are well qualified and active.
- Analyse your own new business pipeline and conversion rates.
Do you know the stats for each salesperson on your team? Understand your metrics. How many sales calls do you make each week? How long does it take to sign a contract? What are the best conversion rates? Why?Use your high performers as a benchmark and develop a standard for everyone based on the number of calls your high performers are making. And if you want to take summer Friday afternoons off, simply increase the number of calls earlier in the week; don’t reduce the number of calls.
- Increase your prospecting.
Remember Sandler Rule #7? You don’t have to like prospecting; you just have to do it.Make a plan for more activity that covers 5 key areas so you can make effective warm and cold calls: direct marketing (emails/twitter/snail mail), cold calling, networking contacts made, referrals and business introductions.
In particular, make sure you are booked into those networking meetings that do take place in the summer. Are there some new ones to attend? In addition to networking, make sure you are giving and asking for referrals and that you arrange and receive good quality targeted business introductions because they’ll deliver higher closing rates than colder calls.
- Watch out for signs of procrastination and excuse-making.
Stop any self sabotage and set the example by sustaining the same level of intensity and action that you had in the spring. Catch delaying tactics early on in yourself and your team and you break or prevent a cycle of summertime blues.
- Be accountable.
Help your salespeople manage their time by committing to setting behavioural goals daily and weekly. Those behavioural goals must include prospecting activities. Make commitments yourself – and share them with your team, your accountability partner (you do have one, don’t you?) and your Sandler trainer. Having commitments written in your cookbook is the number one way to manage your time effectively and be successful.
Have your team share success stories about the goals they developed, achieved and turned into best practice. Sales team meetings shouldn’t focus on big sticks and failures – use them to identify how to succeed and recognising the accomplishments. Deal with any performance issues one on one. With the team, celebrate getting the calls completed. Acknowledge the appointments made. Create and some new and unexpected ways to celebrate achievements and new habits. Make it fun.
So this summer, sort out any old beliefs about summer slumps and keep up the momentum so that you can have a good holiday yourself and you and your team have a happy hot summer at work prospecting and converting leads into new and repeat business.