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How to Beat the Summer Sales Drought

Shane Smith | July 25, 2017 

Summer is synonymous with family vacations, BBQ’s, school breaks, and heat. For businesses, it can also be a time of parched sales. But, don’t sweat it. There are things you can do to wet the whistle of your sales force during the slower months.

Promote Business Development Opportunities

During slow times, concentrate on awareness building by creating business opportunities.

  • Host a special event, such as a networking luncheon, business after-hours, or Customer Appreciation Day.
  • Invite prospects to a free seminar, speaker panel, or demo.
  • Create a seasonal promotion or summer sale. And don’t forget to offer rewards for referrals.
  • Host a focus group to get feedback on a new product or idea.

Use this time to Make Calls

  • Call on current customers for opportunities to upsell or cross sell your products or services. Offer special package pricing.
  • Bite the bullet and just start cold calling.
  • Get to know your customers’ and prospects’ preferences and needs so you can finetune your marketing campaigns.
  • Have something of value to offer as an incentive, such as a free industry report, demo, or consultation.

Focus on Exceptional Customer Service

  • Providing a better customer experience will help your business keep more of the market share.
  • Make it easy for folks to buy. For instance, parents will be focusing on back-to-school purchases. Convenience can be just as important as price.
  • Use this time to provide further training and customer service refreshers for employees.

Joel Book, Senior Director of Digital Marketing Insight at Salesforce, writes, “Delivering a great customer experience does not mean only during the product evaluation and selection phase of the life cycle. It must continue through the onboarding and customer support phase of the life cycle.”

Make it Personal

At 6’7″, I’m a big guy. That means shopping for clothes can be a bit more difficult. When I find a store that caters to my individual needs, I’m there! When my family and I lived in Dallas, I frequented a store called The Foundry that specialized in Big and Tall. They had their own brand of clothing as well as other brands you couldn’t typically find online. If you couldn’t find what you needed, they could custom tailor it for you.

The Foundry used to do Wednesday discounts, so I would visit on Wednesdays. The staff got to know me, and when I walked into the store, they would greet me by name and offer me a water or a beer while I walked around. The store kept me updated on weekly deals by email, then continued the personalized experience once I stepped into the brick and mortar. They were the epitome of personal service, and I loved The Foundry. Unfortunately, the store was purchased by a larger department chain and the customer service model changed. It was no longer personalized and the store went out of business.

Other Things I Learned from the Lonestar State

My wife and I took full advantage of a back-to-school supplies program the Texas schools offered. At the end of each school year, parents had the option to either buy their kids’ school supplies for the next year or donate supplies for the classroom. It was as simple as filling out a form and paying for it. When school started up again in the fall, the supplies were already in the classroom waiting for their young beneficiaries. For us and many other parents, cost was secondary to convenience.

Texas also has a Sales Tax-free Day for back-to-school every year. It was always the first or second weekend in August, and a lot of businesses marketed this heavily. Clothing, shoes, and supplies were always popular sales items during this time, but one could also take advantage of bigger-ticket items, such as appliances.

Do Some Housekeeping

The slower business cycles are also a good time to focus on internal business needs. Provide additional training opportunities for staff. Clean up your database. Create value-driven content that can be used by everybody — marketing, sales, and customer service.

And, while you’re at it, be sure to take some time out to enjoy the slower days of summer. Invite your sales team over for a BBQ, beer, and brainstorming. Some of the best ideas were first fleshed out on a napkin!

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Shane Smith

Shane Smith | ssmith

Shane Smith is ListEngage’s Senior Business Development Executive. Shane has spent the last 16 years of his career focussed on sales and account management for several well-known companies, including Salesforce, ExactTarget, and Adobe, among others. Shane is very experienced within the Salesforce ecosystem, having worked for the tech giant for more than 6 years. At ListEngage, he focusses on helping businesses find the digital solutions that match their needs and provide scalability for future growth. You can contact Shane at ssmith@listengage.com