It’s a waste of a valuable month cleaning your office. Why spend August that way? Instead take that time grabbing new business opportunities while your competition is out playing miniature golf! A majority of business owners and sales reps are under the assumption that making calls in August is a pointless exercise–decision makers are on vacation. While it’s true that most people do vacation in August, I’ve never encountered anyone that disappeared for the entire month.
What does all this mean for you? Simply this: there are people at their desks. In that it’s summer, they’re often in good moods, and it’s quite likely they’ll answer their phones and talk to you.
Follow These 7 Key Strategies to Boost August Sales
1. Lengthen that list of of “A” level prospects–and call them. What is an “A” level prospect? That would be the person with whom you most want to do business. They generally purchase the right amount, at the right price, within the right time frame. The criteria for an “A” level prospect can include the type of industry, the size of the company, a particular department, the level of decision-maker and geographical region. One method of determining your ideal “A” level prospect is to take a look at your “A” level customers. Use that criteria to replicate the recipe. Twice a week or so, close yourself off. Block out an hour minimum with your cell phone silenced, email closed and a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door. Hammer away at that prospect list.
2. Take the time to catch up with your current clients. Upsell them by offering add-on services and incremental programs. “Sweep Up Dollars,” where applicable, by taking full advantage of “use it or lose it by year end” client budgets. I know of one media industry sales director who called one of his clients and said, “We have a really interesting program, and if you have any budget available for this year, I’d like to discuss the benefits of the program with you.” That simple call resulted in a $100K sale. That’s why I call such an action, “Sweep Up Dollars.” The money is laying around waiting for you to come along and sweep it up.
3. While you’re talking with your current clients, ask for referrals to other departments, divisions, parent companies, sister companies, and subsidiaries who have a bucket of money to spend on what you have to sell. Surprisingly, this low lying fruit is often overlooked. Leveraging your relationships to capture all sales within any one company will quickly increase your earnings as well as solidify your position with your customers. When you are on the phone with your client, ask him/her to transfer your call to one of the referrals. Whose name is on the caller ID? Not yours! Your call is more likely to be picked up if it shows up as an internal call.
4. Look through your files and make a list of prospect decision-makers you’ve met, but with whom sales have not closed. Call to schedule September meetings to discuss what is new since you last spoke, and whether there is an opportunity to work together now. Projects can come off hold and prospects can misplace your contact information. Make the most of the time you already invested in developing business. Stay in touch and be top-of-mind so when the dollars are on the table, you will be there to collect.
5. Look through your pending proposals and identify 3 strategy ideas which will move each proposal closer to a close. Choose the best one for each and execute! Here are a few suggestions:
- Email the decision maker a direct question, “I want to be sure I am providing you with the support you need. How closely does the proposal, as outlined, match your needs?”
- Contact your prospect via email or phone noting that you would like to stop in to discuss a slight adjustment to the current proposal which provides additional benefits.
- Or, you can discuss a new opportunity.
These strategies will help elicit a response and move your sale toward a close.
HINT: Ask for a follow-up date and time when the decision-maker initially asks you for the proposal. That is when the proposal is most important to your client/prospect. At that moment, securing the next step is easy. Trying to get someone back on the phone to discuss it later can be time-consuming and sometimes futile. Using a business proposal tool, could help you automate and track parts of this process
6. Half-day HOORAY! Make calls after 2 pm on the Friday before Labor Day, and you will reach those hard-to-reach decision-makers without their gatekeepers answering the phone. Office staff usually goes home at 2 pm, leaving your decision-maker at the desk, relaxed and ready for your call! Were you thinking of leaving early that day? So is your competition. Don’t miss this valuable opportunity!
7. Prospect Purge. Delete prospects that don’t belong on your list. If they are not “A’s”, “B’s” or “C’s”, they aren’t worth your valuable time. This is true for referrals, as well. Just because you were given a referral doesn’t mean you should call. Spend your time on prospects with whom you WANT to do business. Check against your criteria and move on if it doesn’t fit. This will streamline your new business efforts with less stress and more financial success!
Implementing even a few of these key strategies can lead to a huge payoff this year. It may be tempting to set aside this article and move on to your next task. Big mistake! Can you really afford to forego this opportunity to develop new business? Take a moment, decide which strategies you will follow, and set a time on your calendar to make it happen!
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