As the weather heats up, many companies begin to look with dread upon the impending summer slowdown. For brands unprepared for the upcoming lull, it can be a challenge to keep the company moving forward and productive during the summer months. With people in and out of the door due to vacations and time off, it can feel impossible to get anything done.
With the right plan, however, your organization can make the most of the summer months -- maintaining strong sales rates and positioning the company for an even stronger fall. Strong leaders create systems that make their team efficient and prepared to take on the summer. Then, as each person leaves for their summer vacation, they will be satisfied knowing that they have rightfully earned this time off.
Use the slow months wisely
While you want to find ways to keep customers and salespeople motivated throughout these warm months, you also need to consider the potential benefits of having less activity. Namely, it frees up your time to take care of other essential tasks that tend to get pushed to the side during the busy periods. Consider using your summer to tackle tasks such as:
• Sales training and product training
• Employee reviews and coaching
• Updating sales materials
Anything that you find your business regularly pushing off because everyone is too busy with customers the rest of the year should be taken care of when you know that sales will be a bit slower.
Build relationships with long term customers
Summer slowdowns impact nearly every industry, including those of your customers. Since you know others are also experiencing a slower pace, consider using the time to build relationships, particularly with large or longstanding clients. Invite these customers out to lunch and inquire about the state of your relationship. Ask them how well your products and services have been meeting their needs and what they would like to see that would make your brand even more valuable to them. Taking the time to get to know your important clients like this helps to cement the relationship and form a strong bond between customer and company, which will improve loyalty and your reputation.
Hold sales contests to help motivate them through slow periods
Keeping your sales team motivated throughout the summer sales period can also be a struggle. Your staff is having trouble getting in touch with clients, and they are trying to work around their vacation schedules and those of everyone around them.
To keep people motivated during this challenging time, consider using motivational games to keep people focused on their targets, such as setting prizes for people who make the most number of phone calls, the most sales or the biggest sale in a given week. Keep hours more flexible in the summer to make it easier for people to enjoy the weather. Although it might seem counterintuitive, allowing people to work fewer hours can increase productivity. When people come back to the office feeling refreshed, they are more prepared to dive into their tasks and get their job done. Warm weather is also a great time to go swing doors as a team and visit prospects face-to-face.
Earn your summer vacation this year. Leave for your break feeling as though it is well-deserved and that you and your team put everything into your sales efforts leading up to this time off. Using these strategies can help you maximize the weeks and months leading up to your vacation and keep the team on track through the slow summer months.