Prepping for the fall (sales) this summer

The month of June signifies different things to different people: weddings, graduations, Father’s Day, hurricane season, the Summer Solstice, etc. The kids are out of school, summer vacations are being (or have been) planned and, as a frantic business executive, chances are you’re looking forward to some well-earned time off.

All fine and good, and certainly deserved. A problem I often observe, however, is that while our intentions and focus begin to shift toward “dialing it down” a bit, we fail to consider a plan to ramp up our activities again after vacations end and the kids are back in school. The last thing you want to think about after a long, and relaxing, hiatus is prospecting, scheduling more discovery meetings, getting more deals in the pipeline and figuring out how to hit those ever-elusive goals.

With that in mind, consider the steps you can take before heading out on vacation to combat the inevitable slowdown and avoid the “blahs” of the dog days of summer:

Set clear goals and objectives. Whether it’s specific sales and revenue goals or marketing and prospecting activities in your behavioral “cookbook,” break them down into manageable milestones for June, July and August. Track and adjust them, as necessary, so that you can maintain your momentum and set yourself up for a productive third and fourth quarter. 

Review your existing leads. Examine your current pipeline and identify any leads that have gone cold or gotten stuck. Re-engage with these prospects by offering new ideas and options, updated solutions or incentives to reignite their interest. Chances are their needs, and initiatives, may have changed over the past several months. Schedule meetings or conversations with them to occur the week you return. 

Nurture and follow-up. Implement a systematic follow-up process to stay top-of-mind with prospects and nurture them over the course of the summer. Use automated email drip campaigns, schedule “touch-calls” and personalized outreach to maintain communication and move prospects closer to a yes-or-no decision.

What about new markets, industries and verticals? Use the summer months to explore new opportunities and markets that you may not have had time to pursue during busier periods. Research and identify potential leads and develop targeted strategies to establish contact and get in front of decision-makers.

Develop content marketing and thought leadership. How much time do you devote to blog posts, whitepapers, webinars or videos that provide value to your target audience? Do your prospective clients, and customers, view you as a thought leader that can provide meaningful solutions to their challenges? Leverage social media platforms such as LinkedIn, X and Facebook to connect with potential prospects and engage in meaningful conversations.

Utilize your network. Reach out to and leverage your existing network of inner and outer circle contacts, satisfied customers and business partners to generate referrals. Summer may be a slower time for them, as well, and they may welcome the opportunity to get together, brainstorm ideas and identify new opportunities for each of you.

Focus on building relationships. Use the summer months as an opportunity to focus on building and strengthening relationships with existing clients and prospects. Invest time in nurturing these relationships with one-on-one communication and value-added interactions, even if it’s just golf, fishing or lunch.

Grow yourself professionally. Take the time to invest in your own training and skill development. Attend workshops, seminars or online courses to help fine-tune your sales techniques, gather product knowledge and improve your communication and customer service skills.

Maintain a healthy work-life balance. Celebrate your successes, take breaks, recharge and enjoy time with friends and family outside of work.

Before you break for the summer, take measures to plan your third and fourth-quarter activities, fill your prospect pipeline, maintain your momentum and set yourself up for a successful second half of the year.

Jim Marshall is the founder of Sandler Training of Tampa Bay which provides sales and management training and coaching to high-achieving companies and individuals. Contact him at 813.287.1500 or [email protected].

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