A Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Opportunity
I’m convinced that Nat King Cole moonlighted in sales. There is no other way to explain how he could write a song that describes the mindset that afflicts every sales department on July 1. That’s the day Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer kick into gear.
In Canada, our state of mind does a 180 degree turn the day the kids pile out of school for the summer holidays. People seem to expect less and feel justified to work less.
Too many sales reps think that when customers are easing back, taking holidays, it’s OK for them to follow suit. Why work on Friday afternoons when no one else does?
Your bottom line doesn’t take July and August off. Those two months combined represent almost 20% of the calendar year. In a business like trucking, with razor-thin margins, no sales rep can afford to make puppies all summer.
Consider these ideas for turning “those days of soda and pretzels and beer” into opportunities:
Close the deal
The commitment you get in June is a distant memory after Labor Day if you don’t get that new business on your trucks before vacation sea-son. Close the deal now or you might as well add May and June to your list of wasted sales months.
Don’t fight it
The good news is Nat King Cole Syndrome also affects your competitors. A lot of their reps are more worried about reducing their golf handicaps than increasing the number of prospects. Out-think and out-work your competitors now. Filling the sales funnel this summer will pay huge dividends next year.
Traditional networking opportunities are nonexistent in the summer, as every business club and association on the planet shuts down. Trying to get people on the phone is virtually impossible, and there’s no point leaving a message for someone who won’t get it for three weeks.
That doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. Try networking with other customer influencers. How about doing research on prospects that ﬁt your company’s secret sauce, for follow-up in the fall?
Personally, I use the summer to hook up with old buddies and soak them for as many quality referrals as I can. Sometimes I even twist their arm and do it on the links!
Your customer’s attitude isn’t the only thing that will change on July 1. If you have children, so will the decibel level in your house. I have three kids, and when this tsunami hits the house for summer break, it washes away any hope of accomplish-ing anything from the home office. If you have sales reps who work from home, make sure they have a place to work where they can be productive, because their house is not one of them.
This is a great time to invest in you.
Every summer I dedicate the perceived downtime to work “on” my business, not “in” it. Read a sales book (try Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive), learn how use new sales tools (try HootSuite), or clean up your online brand (Google yourself). My big project is to take advantage of my three iPhone experts being home for the summer to learn about some of the funky apps for my new smartphone.
Come September, with a productive summer under your belt, hopefully “you’ll wish that summer could always be here.” Just like Nat. Have a safe and relaxing summer.