Summertime is often a slow time for businesses, in general… and for sales efforts, in particular. Clients and prospects are on vacation, their business is slow so they’re not in the buying mood, there are very few conferences and networking events scheduled this time of year and so on. So, what’s a sales rep to do, especially if they still have sales goals to achieve?
Below are three ideas to help minimize the summer doldrums and stir up some sales action…
Reach out to past clients and past contacts.
If you’ve been in business for more than a couple of years, you’ve, no doubt, got a few “ex clients” – those, that for some reason, no longer do business with you. Been in business for long time? There may be hundreds of businesses that fall into your “ex client” bucket. So, assuming your firm didn’t really pi** them off that last time you worked together, why not pick up the phone and try to reconnect?
The good news is that these firms know who you are, know what you do and know the quality the services you provide. Use this opportunity to find out what’s going on at their end… and to share with them what’s new at your firm. Keep it conversational… not too salesy. The goal of this re-connect call is to schedule a more in-depth follow-up call.
What you will no doubt find is that some of your client contacts are no longer there. Be prepared for that… do a little research on LinkedIn beforehand to see where your old contacts are now. At the same firm? Great! That should make the conversation pretty easy. Somewhere else? Maybe even better, if you can connect with them and get introduced to a new prospective client.
Ramp up your LinkedIn activity.
We’re all on LinkedIn… the question is, are we active on it? And there are two ways you need to be active:
One, keep reaching out to and connecting with client and potential client contacts. But remember… it’s not just a quantity issue, it’s also about quality. Look for those who have the right kinds of titles at the right kinds of businesses you want to target. So, yes – spend a little time looking over their profiles before reaching out. In addition, DO NOT use the default invitation – create one that’s specific to each person telling them why they should connect with you.
Same goes for the reverse – be selective regarding the invitations that you accept. Make sure the person sending it fits your targeted profile.
In addition to connecting, you also need to be ‘engaging’ with the marketplace. And the easiest way to do that is by joining LinkedIn groups and participating in the threaded conversations in each one.
Remember, “you gotta fish where the fish are” – so join the Groups where you’re likely to find clients and potential clients. Then, as you receive the daily email from each group, scan for the threaded conversations where you can contribute. And by ‘contribute,’ I don’t mean ‘sell’… I mean provide genuinely useful information that helps to answer the question that was asked. Do this enough times and you’ll become recognized as a thought leader… and that will lead to sales opportunities.
Give something away.
One of my favorite and most appropriate sales-related mantras for our industry is this… “Seek first to help, then to sell.” In an industry like ours – that doesn’t truly embrace marketing and sales (especially sales) – a great way to open the door to some sort of buyer-seller relationship is to give away something of value.
Two proven ‘giveaways’ that fall into this category are eBooks and webinars. Work with your marketing and operations people to create one of these tools (or a series of them) that provides real value to those who access it. Don’t allow them to become too salesy – as that destroys credibility. Find a topic that your target audience will appreciate, create the eBook or webinar, then promote it aggressively. With either tool, people will have to give you their contact information to gain access… generating sales leads.
In addition, assuming that the eBooks or webinars are really well-done, these kinds of tactics help to position your firm as a subject matter expert and thought-leader… which helps to create that level of trust that you must have to be successful in sales.
So, don’t just sit around this summer, languishing in a low level of sales and blaming it on the season. Get busy… be smart about it… and go find some new clients!
Good luck and good selling!
For more ideas on being successful at sales, CLICK HERE to download our latest eBook: “I Hate Selling!” — Part 1: Developing New Clients.