Ahhh, summertime. Sweet summertime.
Sunny days, weekend adventures, time to enjoy the outdoors and do the things that we love to do. In spite of the Richmond heat and humidity, it’s my favorite time of the year. Watching the fireflies at dusk, walking off the golf course as the sun sets, working in the garden, going to the pool, baseball games, and taking long walks after work…there is an energy and reflectiveness that seems to nourish the soul.
Why does there always have to a “but?”
What happens to our sales efforts during the summer? Often, I hear salespeople refer to the summer months as the “slow season.” We give examples - and often, they are good examples.
- “My prospects are on vacation”
- “I’m on vacation"
- “They just aren’t focused on business during the summer"
- "My sales always dip during the summer"
And so on.
To paraphrase something Mark Twain once said, “It’s not what we don’t know that keeps us from being successful. It’s what we know for sure that ain’t so. That’s what holds us back.”
How does that apply to the proverbial “summer slump?”
If I believe that the summer season is a season of unproductive days and that my sales are sure to dip, how does that impact my opinions and judgements? That belief leads to the opinion that “I can let me foot off the accelerator. It’s not a good time to prospect and close new business.” When I hold that judgment, it impacts what I do or don’t do. I may prospect less. I may accept stalls, objections, and think-it-over’s because, after all, people are busy during the summer, right? These actions (or lack of actions) will produce less than desired outcomes, which then reinforce my beliefs that yes, summer is in fact the slow season.
If this sounds familiar, I’ll ask you to consider one thing. In your industry or in related industries, does everyone suffer from the summer slump? Are there a handful of people who actually maintain their same level or dare I say - grow their business during the summer? If you talk to enough people, you will find many who say that they don’t suffer from the summer slump.
If it’s not true for everybody, is it really true? Or is it true for you - based upon on your belief system? If it’s not true for everyone, then it’s likely you are suffering from something we call Head Trash. Self-limiting beliefs that are getting in your way of success.
When I have these self-limiting beliefs, it cripples my goals for the year. It’s hard to hit a 12-month goal when I’m not at my best for three months of the year. After a summer of cruise control, how long does it take to recapture the momentum? 4 weeks? 6 weeks? Oh, and the “Holiday Season” is just around the corner.
It’s critical to create self-awareness around this “success-stealing” mindset. Here are a couple of tips to help you make this summer the best summer you have ever had - and still enjoy the sun!
1. Commit to a Behavioral Cookbook - think about your goals. How many new clients would you like to add in July? How about August? Now, what’s the plan? What are the measurable behaviors that will increase the likelihood of this happening? How many prospect meetings do you need? How many networking events will you attend? How many cold calls? How many referrals will you ask for? Write your goals (and the plan) down, and measure, track, and fine-tune as needed.
2. Commit to Getting Yes/No Decisions - Too many salespeople fall victim to the dreaded “Think It Over.” When you have properly qualified your prospect, commit to getting a Yes or No decision. Stalls and objections are usually a polite of way of prospects telling you no. This summer - chase sunsets and golf balls - not prospects who will never buy.
3. Reflect on Your Belief System - Examine your beliefs and look for signs of excuse-making. Our best clients spend time each day with an Attitude and Behavior journal. Reflect on your thinking and look for places where you are getting in your own way. Take out the Head Trash. Critically and honestly evaluate your Behavior. Are you doing the things you need to do to get the results you want?
A summer of distraction often doesn’t show up until the 4th quarter. Use this information to begin to foster new attitudes and beliefs about the selling in the summer. Next year, you’ll be saying, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”