the next few weeks I am dedicating my posts to Q&A. Each week will be my
answer to a popular question I am asked frequently. I hope this information
will help you sell or manage sales. Thank you for following
Q: Kevin, I’ve often heard sales
professionals in Northeast Ohio (as well as other parts of Ohio and the US
market) talk about seasonal selling. Specifically, these sales professionals
discuss concerns and workaround planning for the summer months. Do you believe
seasonal selling is a real thing? How do you handle this time of the year?
A: Thank you Michael S. from Elyria, Ohio
for submitting one of the most frequently asked questions I get year-over-year.
I absolutely believe seasonal selling exists and have experienced this issue
directly for many years. Not only does it exist in Northeast Ohio, but it also
exists in many other parts of the country where there is a dramatic change in
weather. And, to be specific, I am not talking about a seasonal product, but
rather trends in buying & selling behavior.
Using Cleveland as the basis for my
answer, we must first talk about Cleveland weather. Here we are, Saturday
morning May 14, 2016, and I am waking to 37 degree temps. It is cold and damp
and it’s May. Not only is it cold and damp, but the forecast is calling for
snow flurries and snow showers tonight and into tomorrow morning. This is the
perfect starting point to my answer. While most of the country is enjoying
springtime weather, we are experiencing borderline misery.
Business people in the decision making
seat feel exactly as we do when wanting to go outside and enjoy spring. There
is a slight feeling of depression in the air. All we want is to escape the
cold, the gray skies and the snow. We want green grass, warm air, and a chance
to enjoy the outdoors for a little while. And so the seasonal selling season is
soon upon us. Once those temps warm, people flee their offices for time off,
and getting those decision makers to talk or meet becomes a real challenge.
June through August poses a variety of
challenges for sales professionals. When you throw in graduations, kids moving
to and from college, as well as family vacations, getting a decision maker to
commit time creates challenges with their calendars. Beautiful days are
numbered in Cleveland, as an example, and so the decision makers want to take
advantage of the time they have and work remote, take half-days, entertain
their own clientele and employees, and they don’t want to be bothered with,
well, making decisions.
Planning ahead and working on scheduling
activities for June through August, beginning in April and early-May, can be
the most critical step to minimize downturns due to seasonal selling. Finding
opportunities to meet with the decision makers in unique locations where great
weather can be enjoyed by both of you will help up your chances of getting and
keeping the appointment.
Having an agenda that proves worth and
value to the decision maker is the next step. You cannot expect this person to
meet you for lunch at a waterside restaurant on sunny Friday afternoon if you
have nothing important to bring to the table. You must be diligent with your
strategy of “delivery news of importance”. It may be a new service you are
immediately offering and you want them to be the first to know. Keep in mind,
you’re asking this person to possibly sacrifice time on their own, so make
Lastly, do not become discouraged if
things slow down, because they will. Use your time wisely when someone cancels
or does not want to meet until September. Plan, plan, plan and then plan some
more. Typically, the Tuesday after Labor Day is when the seasonal selling
season ends and sales life, as we know it, gets back to normal. I have always
found the slowdown a time to reflect on my year up to this point and what I
need to do to accomplish my annual goals. I build lists. I research new
prospects. I plan for networking events in the coming months. I will look
outward all the way to December and lay down the roadmap to successful sales.
And, I too will enjoy the outdoors, because when the winter months come and my
calendar is full, I’ll be able to look back on time well spent with family and
friends. Enjoy it while you have it…the weather that is.