Jobs may have their rhythm and routine, but all that changes during summer. As people embark on longer periods of vacation and parts of Europe shut down entirely, working the same as before wouldn’t make any sense. Instead, you should adjust to match the new business environment. This is nothing new per se, yet a large number of professionals still haven’t figured out how to optimize this time.
In the profession of “selling” any product or service, the general mindset is to beat the “summer slump”. While I do agree that you should continue doing what you do, I would also argue that doing this alone would cause you to lose out on the biggest benefit of summer: to reflect and think strategically in order to be more successful out of the gates come September. I believe that downtime moments are ideal for self-reflection and making sound, strategic decisions.
You see a similar phenomenon in many professional sports. When it’s off season, the world’s elite don’t just keep doing what they did before. No. They reflect, adjust how they do what they do, then train relentlessly to be more competitive when they return.
One principle generally holds true: Those that think long-term and strategically will outperform those that have a myopic attitude.
A strategic person reflects and reviews past actions in order to improve their future actions. A common way of working these days is called “agile” and was popularized in books such as “Lean Startup”. It follows a similar approach at the team level, where in a “retrospective”, you reflect on your past work to continuously improve. There is no denying that doing so is critical for success.
Three categories of activities to approach this.
And here’s a bonus category: place a few large strategic bets! Just remember that learning involves failure so don’t avoid thinking about them. Monitor failures and adapt as needed.
1) Review your pipeline
A. Clean your pipeline: Most people won’t enjoy doing this, likely similar to how much they would enjoy spring cleaning their homes. But good things aren’t always enjoyable. When things aren’t clean, you are much less efficient and therefore less successful. On the other hand, if things are cleaned up, you’re much more likely to be successful. For example, salespeople who forget to follow up with a prospect or schedule a meeting often do so because of poor data and processes.
B. Fill your pipeline: Sure, it may be harder to get a response or connect with people but that shouldn’t stop you. When September comes around and everyone is back, your meetings and activities should already be set up.
C. Revisit old deals: From a time investment perspective. This does not hurt.
“While it is unlikely for deals that have been in the pipeline for six months or more to close (53% of closed-won deals wrap up in the first 30 days, according to Implisit data), it doesn’t hurt to give it one last ditch effort.”Hubspot
2) Optimize how you interact
A. Figure out their timing: Not everyone is on vacation. The wonderful thing is because everyone is less busy, those that are in the office will more likely to respond to you. So be smart, and figure out whom to contact and when. Timing plays a critical role.
B. Don’t disappear during your vacation: Not entirely anyway. You deserve a vacation but it’s like cooking. You need to lower the flame and let things simmer sometimes. This allows you to step away but not turn the stove off altogether and ruin the dish. the concept here is the same. When you’re on vacation, remain responsive and set up meetings so that you can resume where you left off when you’re back. Going cold turkey can lead you to losing prospects, and also wasting valuable time when you’re back trying to catch up.
C. Create inbound marketing collateral: The above is all about outbound activities but even more powerful in our age are inbound activities. In my opinion, inbound is the future. Often salespeople are too busy to create content, but this is exactly what’s needed. So take the time to work closely with your marketing and communications teams, and strategize around content you can deliver in the next few months. This way, you can get a headstart filling the marketing internal pipeline, which will not only generate leads but when things get busier again, you won’t have to worry about this as much.