There is a concerned rush in the air and low whispers of account and key account managers around the world. They all see the upcoming and dreaded summer slowdown.
Its the time of year thousands of account managers experience the customer vacation countdown and get to say "Hey its the summer, its ALWAYS slow in the summer!"
I admit that there are cases with legitimate industries where you might struggle more in the summer than most. The same could be said for the winter. So is there really an excuse?
It was only yesterday I was revisiting a post in one of the LinkedIn sales groups and the debate ragged around selling in the summer slowdown.
It seemed to me that it wasn't necessarily the selling that was the problem its that many we're trying to sell in the summer. A very subtle difference. Here's what I mean.
- If you're trying to find new business in the summer for your industry it may be a hard month.
- If you're trying to close new business there is room for success.
- If you're creating opportunities now for your customers to make decisions in the summer then you're in for more wins.
The reality is you'll still need to do all three but the challenge is to stay focused on the goal. That goal should not just be the number of customers you need to speak with. It should be the pursuit of trying to serve as many of the right people you can that meet that sales goal. Getting targeted and really efficient with where you spend your time is critical.
Here are Six ways you can prepare to beat the summer slowdown from today!
First you need to get your mind in the right frame. Your psychology is huge as you'll need to stay highly motivated and focused. What ever story you tell yourself about the summer is the one you'll live. Once you realise you're the one who can change that story but apply different actions and shift your conversations you get to decide what happens.
Start asking your clients what their current plans are for the summer. Print out a simple Month calendar and make a note of each customer expected holiday week. Then get to know how their planning for new or current projects may be effected so you can manage your expectations and build in expectations with them around decisions.
Begin with the end in mind. Rather than worrying about who's going to be around which you can't control. Start to see what commitments you can get upfront with your customers so that all the heavy decision making happens before their holiday. No customer wants to be thinking decisions when they're two weeks away from a vacation at the beach.
Set up a pre summer review. Organise a lunch or meeting with an existing customer and review the year so far exploring strategies, opportunities and insights. Depending on your industry you can look at the summer as an opportunity to look at particular people or departments that would find it of value to get more support from your business or where purchasing may be easier.
Get really targeted on where you spend your time. Look at deals that haven't closed, clients that typically spend in the summer and what you might do differently with them. For clients who spend after the summer get to know their buying habits better, and build relationships with other departments that are currently using or not using your services. All of these categories will lead you to an opportunity if looked at closely.
Start training your customers to view summers as a time they want to see you and do more business. For example why not set up a free education day and customer champagne afternoon. Invite members of management staff to short in person learning session on the industry or a relevant topic for free. Going back to points above this is a great place to deepen relationships and often times an opportunity to hear first hand challenges, interests and goals they have.
These are just six and perhaps you've used many more. I'd love to hear about it. If there are points above you've never attempted now's the time to start to implement them.
If you're a key account manager, sales leader of consultant responsible for and concerned with existing customer retention and growth Send me a LinkedIn request and get connected to my customer growth mailing list You can start the process of learning a new framework of thinking to growth. www.jermaineedwards.com
Founder of the Key Account Hack System - New Key Account thinking that transforms customer relationships and creates predictable sales growth.