The Summertime Blues phenomenon was first discovered by Eddie Cochran in 1958. Although Eddie was more concerned with making money so he could borrow Dad’s car to go out and have some fun, every summer sellers get the blues, too. Deals stall as deciders are either preparing for, on or just returning from vacation. But monthly or quarterly, you have numbers to hit this summer. And hitting them can be more challenging in Q3, which stretches from the 4th of July all the way past Labor Day.
Unless you’re taking the summer off, you need to adapt your tactics for the summer, just as you dress for it. Here are 10 tactical recommendations for avoiding disappointment.
- MORE TOUCHES – If 5% of your prospects are on vacation in a given week, then you need 105% of your normal activity to reach the same number of prospects. (Go to 110% and you’ll also seed Q4 with longer-term deals.)
- WORK THE GATEKEEPER – If leaving a message with your prospect’s assistant, ask if/when your prospect it taking vacation, so that you don’t bother him/her while the prospect is away. Now, you’ll know when this prospect won’t be reachable.
- SHORTEN THE LEASH – Set your callback /email dates closer than you usually do. If you don’t, and schedule the callback during the prospect’s vacation, “out of sight, out of mind” could lengthen your time to close. Or at least for the next step.
- RE2PECT (Homage to Derek Jeter) THEIR TIME – Don’t schedule your callback for the prospect’s first day back. What’s your first day back from vacation like? See what I mean? Set it at least 3 days later.
- READ AUTOMATIC REPLIES – You know, those “Thanks for your email…” responses you get. You will see when the prospect is returning and then apply #4 above to schedule your next touch to increase your chance to connect.
- LISTEN TO VOICEMAIL ANNOUNCEMENTS – Just like #5 above, some prospects will change the outgoing messages to indicate they are on vacation and when they will return. This just saves you time.
- NEW CONTACTS – Everyone has gaps in their database. This is a great time to find new contacts where they are missing and begin to contact them. It is YOUR responsibility to grow your territory database.
- WAKE THE DEAD – Use lost deals, prospects you’ve not touched for 6 months or more to add to your touches. Not only will this add to your activity (with meaningful touches), but things change and you could discover that change has worked in your favor.
- RE-THINK – As you are exploring new contacts, accounts and regions of your territory, this is a good time to re-think some of your processes. Don’t blow it all up, just start trying new things. We should be doing this anyway, but when running and gunning, most of us don’t take time to re-think things. Now that it’s a little slower, take advantage of the opportunity.
- RELAX – It’s summertime and the livin is easy. People who are going on or have been on vacation like to talk about it. This can be a great opportunity to learn more about your prospects, what you may have in common (vacation spots) to grow new and expand on existing relationships.
The summertime blues is NOT a given. But you have to adjust to the season to make summer sizzle with revenue. Yes, Eddie, there IS a cure for the Summertime Blues.