Summer Sales Doldrums - What To Do
Last week I talked about how to take a vacation when you're the leader of the band. This week I want to talk about summer sales. Many sales people and just as many business owners bemoan their annual summer sales slump. Their numbers are down and they just can't understand it. It's as if their whole business is paralyzed because sales dry up or customers are on vacation. In my experience, that's hogwash. When you take that attitude, you are selling yourself a bill of goods not worth the paper it's printed on. There is no need to punish ourselves about this (perceived?) seasonal drop in sales, or slower pace of sales. Instead, it's important to realize the natural cycles people and businesses go through. In sales for 15 years, I found July and August were totally different than the rest of the year. Peoples' heads are somewhere else - they don't want to be sold anything. That said, there are a number of things those of us on the vendor side can do to offset this tendency.
1. These seasonal sales slumps are an opportunity to do aggressive marketing - which can range from: - developing promotional copy ( web, direct mail,newspaper/magazine advertising) - writing articles for a publication - pounding the pavement for speaking engagements - small and large, near and far - researching new niches - use the "extra" time to identify new markets - visiting potential strategic alliances - build your marketing channels
2. Remember, that a week off always precedes an off week. Don't beat yourself up about it. You need the time off too.
3. Use this situation most wisely by allocating time during this season to seriously work on both your vision and your 3 year plan. From those two pieces, you can continue on to developing new strategies, promotions, products, services, and offerings. My attitude is that these summer doldrums create the opportunity to build a new level of momentum in your business. That momentum can set you up for a strong and busy fall schedule. So if sales and business activity are lighter or quieter right now, take advantage of the time that is freed up to lift your sights to the long term vision you have for your business. Spend some time on the pieces that will get you there.
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