As much as I would never admit this to my own sales reps, summer is a tough season for selling in the office refreshment business. Summer is about travel, beach fun, family time and multiple other distractions. Forget about Friday. Offices are cleared out by 1 pm. For sales reps and sales management, summer is about “setting the table” for September and October – prime selling season.
Decision makers come out of their fog in September and by mid-November, sales activity should be brisk. Only Q1 can rival the fall season for new business activity. There are five things to do right now that will pay dividends in September and beyond.
Set up a client engagement strategy
I have written about the engagement strategy that was so effective for my company. Quite frankly, it was a lot of work. Better idea – or at least quick and easy – connect with Tidings, a turn key digital newsletter that will immediately set you up with a solid client (and prospect) engagement strategy. Tidings is easy and inexpensive (I have secured discounts for readers). Your first newsletter can be delivered in August if you come in from the beach and get started now.
Evaluate your website – update it next week
Your website needs to be running on all cylinders by September 1st. Ask yourself a few fundamental questions:
- Did I build something hip and beautiful – a monument to myself? Or is the website boring – maybe too functional?
- Is my home page both captivating and informative?
- Is our contact number and response form easy to find?
- Do I have a free quote button?
- Are there positive reviews on my website?
- Can search engines find me? Have I optimized the site – lately?
- Is the content updated? The ship turns quickly today. Your website should not be static.
- Is my website optimized for smart phones? This is critical.
Schedule a meeting with your web designer/digital marketing specialist and get your online house in order. I will be happy to point you in the right direction.
Commit to PTN – Be visible and generous
You may know that I am a big advocate of PTN – Personal Time Networking. I write about it, speak about it and have enjoyed the benefits first hand. Please allow me to beat that drum again.
Summer is the time for block parties, church picnics, little league baseball, charity golf tournaments and member - guest golf events. Fertile ground for PTN – unless you are just along for the ride – just another face in the crowd.
Be visible and be generous. Seize the opportunity to send group e-mails that feature your company name and web address in the signature line. Sponsor what you can and make sure you get plenty of recognition. Better yet, run the event, oversee the sponsorships and control the information flow.
When people appreciate your participation and generosity and they know what you do for a living – the leads will follow.
Think about September. Are you going to jump in and be a sponsor – get involved and enjoy the benefits of PTN – or just sit on the sideline again?
Fire up the phones
The dog days of summer is the perfect time to work the phones. If the prospecting calls result in an August appointment – that’s a bonus. If there is resistance – go with the flow. Get the snowball rolling. The conversation should sound something like this:
Sales Rep: “I’d like to set up a short meeting next week to go over our program in a short format. Which day is better for you at 10 AM – Tuesday or Wednesday?”
Prospect: “It is so crazy for me this summer. I have to take my son to college in August and I’m hoping to get to the lake for a few days – I hear the Blue Gills are as big as dinner plates.”
Sales Rep: “I understand Phil. How about this? I’ll give you a call right after Labor Day, so we can set up a meeting – does that sound like a plan?”
Set the table for September. Get 25 of those “Call me in September commitments” and the month of September will start to look quite promising – even if only 50% of those result in actual appointments. Build the pipeline now.
There is also no better time than August to hire a telemarketing firm for appointment setting. They are probably challenged to make deals in summer – just like you.
Brian Parnell, CEO of Grindstone, a lead generation company, points out that any telemarketing program requires a few weeks for that inevitable learning curve. August is the perfect time for telemarketers to find their groove, build “follow up snowballs” of their own and be ready to deliver in appointments in September.
Get your Google on – Get positive reviews
I recently saw a Facebook post from a friend of mine soliciting Google leads for his high-priced law firm.
I told him that my air conditioning went out this week and instead of fixing it myself (that isn’t really possible) and screwing it up, I called a contractor who fixed it in about an hour. Sometimes, you need to bite the bullet and hire a professional.
Fortunately, in the world of digital technology, your company can set up an incredible customer review program – built around your Google My Business listing – for much less than what I paid for that broken fan motor on my AC. I paid $650 to the HVAC guy - the program I am recommending will cost your company about $40 a month – with impressive results. There is a 30-day money back guarantee. That’s about the length of August – no risk whatsoever.
Get Five Stars is a simple, but powerful platform to gather customer feedback, measure your “Net Promoter Score” and encourage online reviews. The process starts with your client’s email address or mobile number and then Get Five Stars does the rest for you. This is technology that can really change your online profile and you will learn quite a bit about how your customers feel about your performance.
Prepare for the Results
Some of the leading bean to cup brewers and micro market kiosks require a four-week lead time. If you follow these five summer strategies, you may need to do one other thing. Order some equipment now. By mid-September, you are going to need it!