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How to Sell During the Dog Days of Summer

Contrary to popular belief, August is a perfect month to find new customers.
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With the exception of the Christmas holidays, the dog days of August are reputedly the worst time to find new customers. Because "everyone is on vacation," it seems pointless to call for an appointment.

Nothing could be further from the truth, according to Wendy Weiss, author of the free eBook A Practical Guide to Getting Sales Teams to Prospect.  Here's her advice for making August a more productive sales month:

1. Many decision-makers don't take vacations.

Oftentimes the people who have the most decision-making power are the ones who'd rather be at work, especially when everybody else is away.  ("Now I can finally get some work done without everybody leaning on my help.")

Furthermore, August is the month when gatekeepers (receptionists and admins) are the most likely to be away, which means that the decision-makers might be answering their own phones!

2. Decision-makers now have time to talk.

The summer can be slow in many industries, and thus in many offices things do tend to slow down.  What this means is that prospects may have more time to speak with you and/or to meet with you.

More importantly, because things are slower, prospects are frequently less harried and stressed out and therefore more willing to engage in a conversation about current and future needs.

3. Offices have great air-conditioning.

The average office air conditioning system is far better at keeping people cool than the average home system.  When it's really hot and muggy outside, some people prefer to go into the office rather than sweat it out at home.

Also, in the United States, most people don't have an entire month of vacation.  That means they'll be in the office at least part of the time.

4. Appointment setting never stops.

Prospects make appointments all summer long, just as they do in the fall, winter and spring. If a prospect asks you to call back after their vacation or after Labor Day, suggest instead that you "pencil in a meeting for after Labor Day."

Then, when the day of the "penciled in" meeting approach, call to confirm the appointment.

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Last updated: Aug 12, 2013

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for Inc.com, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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