There is a constant drum beat in business circles that summers are difficult for getting anything done. There are a variety of excuses that justify this belief, including, “everyone is on vacation“, “people don’t work when kids are out of school“, “buyers are not engaged“, and of course “decision makers are unreachable“.
The hard reality is these excuses are self-fulling prophecies. We are more wired, more connected, more engaged today. Business is not done during the hottest months of the year because we assume we will get a no before we ask for the yes.
The facts prove people are working all summer. Monthly average work week data shows that we work the same amount in the summer as we do all year round. Decision makers average 49 hours per week. We are more productive than ever. So, why are you not capitalizing on the hottest months of the year?
The Dog Days of Summer are the best time of the year to build up prospects, qualify leads, refresh your marketing strategies and compete for mind share. While everyone else falls into the excuse trap, you have an opportunity to make noise and get noticed.
Laying back until September to heat it up your marketing and selling efforts only pushes you into the most distracting time of the year. Right after Labor Day, decision makers are budgeting for 2013 and events are abundant. Daily sales calls peak and we are all flooded with competitors emails and advertisements trying to capture top of mind awareness. Simply, your odds are much better to get noticed during the summer months.
Here are some suggestions on how to capitalize on the final dog days of summer:
1. Reach out to current customers. Estimates are that it is 7x less expensive to get business from a current customer than a new customer. Update your current customers on your latest business activities and see if they are ready to buy more.
2. Prospect for opportunities. Run reports from your contact database to see who has not been reached in the past six months. Put them on your priority contact list and create a campaign to heat up some buying interest. Activity creates action.
3. Build sales plans for key accounts. Spend time to craft detailed sales plans for your top prospects. Identify decision makers, buying cycles, budgets and key influencers at your top target companies. Read up on their latest news and research their business to identify critical needs. Use your sales plan to carefully craft the value proposition for doing business with you and then set the appointment to make the pitch.
4. Promote, promote, promote. As others hold back until after Labor Day, you have the opportunity to use public relations and social media campaigns to gain attention. Take advantage of the slower news cycles and go for the headline. Do whatever you can to get the attention of those seeking your products and services.
5. Summer close out sales. There is a very strategic reason why Christmas in July sales dominate the dog days of summers. Retail outlets and online storefronts are looking to clear out inventories. The other reason is June, July and August sales are the time people will typically start shopping for school and holidays. Consumers expect a deal.
6. Refresh your sales and marketing strategies. Review your strategic plans. What has worked, what is not working and what market opportunities exist for the business in the next 18 months. Tactics follow strategy. If you are only doing the work and not evaluating the impact on your strategy, you could be heading in the wrong direction.
7. Pivot now. Review your key performance indicators and adjust if you are are going to miss your mark. Making a change now can benefit you in the last quarter of the year. Don’t wait, start executing your changes and new strategies to achieve your business goals this year.
It is time to heat it up! You have fewer people competing for attention and business right now. Take advantage of it. People receive fewer emails, fewer calls, so use this as an opportunity to make a direct connection today and set the wheels in motion to capitalize this year.
Jamie Glass, Outsourced CMO and President of Artful Thinkers, a strategic sales and marketing consulting company and Sales & Marketing Services Managing Director at CKS Advisors.