So here we are… it’s mid July, the schools have broken up and you’re making those all important follow up calls and emails, only to be told by the receptionist that your hot prospect is on annual leave and not back in the office for another two weeks.
Frustrating isn’t it?
Prospects going on holiday is a simple fact of life; we all need a little rest and recuperation from time to time, and for those with families of school age, July and August are the only months when this becomes practical.
So what should a sales person be doing during these “quiet times”?
First and foremost, you should probably give yourself a slap on the wrist. If you didn’t know that your hot prospect had holiday scheduled, you should have! Understanding the steps that a prospect has to go through to make a buying decision approved and processed, and identifying things that might temporarily halt this process is a key stage in qualifying the sale. So all you can do now is be patient and wait for your contact to return to the office.
Secondly, don’t pester them on their first day back. Unless they’ve been logging in from afar, they’ll have a mountain of emails to catch up on and it will take a day or two to get back up and running, so even though you’re keen to get things back on track, give your prospect a few days to get back into the swing of things.
Of course, not all of your prospects will be on holiday at the same time, so continue to work through your planned sales activity. Interestingly, July and August can sometimes actually be a good time to close sales, because things tend to slow down generally, freeing up time to focus on more strategic projects, rather than the day to day stuff.
Which leads us nicely into what sales people can, and should be doing during these quiet periods.
1.Review your pipeline
Are all your opportunities real? What still needs to be done to get the sale closed?
Review your conversion rates
How successful are you at converting leads into opportunities, opportunities into proposals, and proposals into sales? If you could make a minor improvement to the conversion rates, what would the impact be on your sales? What’s stopping you from making these improvements?
2. Polish up your sales skills
If you’re struggling to move opportunities through the pipeline, revisit old training material and identify skills you need to improve.
3. Research new prospects
Look for new potential customers. Identify the key contacts and the business issues they may be facing and how you could potentially help them. Plan your sales activity through to the Christmas break
Set actions to start connecting with and approaching these newly identified prospects.
Review your “To Do” list and refine exactly the steps you need to go through to progress sales more quickly.
4. Take a Break
As we’ve already said, we all need a bit of R&R, so maybe now is the time to take a break yourself.
….and above all, remember to ask prospects when they might have future holidays planned!