Selling In The Summer

No matter how much we wish it wasn’t so, business slows down during the summer. If a prospect isn’t on vacation, chances are he is covering for someone who is. Despite the fact many sales reps use the phrase “the lazy days of summer” as an excuse to do nothing but hit the golf course, there are plenty of productive sales activities to do to keep busy at this time of year.

Summer is an excellent time to build your prospect list and sales funnel.  Take the time to make more prospecting telephone calls and knock on more doors. If the decision maker is on holidays now, at least you now you can obtain that valuable contact name to call in the fall.  Although some believe that prospecting at this time of the year is a waste of time because so many people are on holidays, others believe that they can obtain better information on each call as gate keepers have more time to provide it. You can even dress in business casual clothing when prospecting, as it seems that everyone has a more casual mind set this time of year.

Also, ensure that you know the timing of the sale for each company on your hot prospect list. Ask your prospects if they are taking a vacation this summer, and if so, ask when.  This way you can plan for it.  You can still sell during the summer, you just need to make sure that you have enough hot prospects on the go that when one is going on vacation, another one that you can sell to is returning.

Spend some time and visit your current customers. Even if your contacts are away, always leave a business card so that they know you were there.   Although you may not meet with them, just the fact that you took the time to stop by can increase customer loyalty. If you do manage to see your contact, why not ask for a reference letter and a list of referrals while you are there. Again, these are great prospects to call in the fall.

The summer is also one of the best times to invest in you. Perhaps you could brush up on your product knowledge, read a good sales book (we have plenty of suggestions on our website), or you could take a sales course to improve your skills.  If you learn just one new sales technique that improves your sales performance over the long term, then your summer months would be considered very productive.

Why not take some time off too? After all, the best time to take a break is when your customers are doing the same.  A week of vacation can recharge your batteries and make you more productive in the long run.  The key is to actually get away though.  So set your auto-reply email, change your voice mail message and leave the Blackberry at the office!

Aim Higher!

Susan A. Enns, B2B Sales Coach and Author of Action Plan For Sales Success and Action Plan For Sales Management Success

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