5 Sales Activities To Do Today
Are you feeling the burn of the summer slump?
A study by Captivate Network found that workplace productivity takes a 20% hit during the summer months. The study also found that attendance decreases by 19% and projects take 13% more time to complete.
As sellers – this decrease in productivity and engagement usually results in buying decisions being put off until after Labor Day or radio silence from a once hot prospect as your proposal is left to sizzle in the hot sun.
It happens. There’s a tendency for activity and sales to slow down during the summertime but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a head start on the end of this year and kick-start next year.
To do this, you’ll need to get on-board with the 81.6% of top performers who spend 4 hours or more on sales-related activities like prospecting, sales meetings, presentations, proposal work, sales follow-up, etc.…
But since all of these activities are important, what activities should you focus on to ensure success today and 12-months from now?
Here are 5 activities to do today to set yourself up for success:
1. Prospect, Prospect, Prospect…and then Prospect some more!
Prospecting: it’s a grueling job but somebody has to do it. Your future self will thank you and your pipeline will be looking good as it’s chocked-full of opportunities to pursue.
Bonus: the better your pipeline looks, the more you’ll be able to curb your stress and avoid panic mode as the end of the year rolls in.
Ideas to try:
- Go to a local conference or networking event. Go in with the goal of not selling your product or service, but rather, connecting with other people and businesses that share your values. Approaching networking in this way will result in a much better conversation.
- Seek referrals. Referrals are approximately 50% more likely to close than other types of leads. Next time you speak with a happy client, casually ask them if anyone else they know would benefit from your solution. It never hurts to ask!
- Re-engage with past clients you no longer work with. Tell them you were thinking of them and wanted to catch up. During your conversation, ask questions to understand why they are no longer a client and what they are currently doing. Perhaps there’s a future opportunity on the horizon.
- Revisit old deals. Remember that prospect who said it wasn't the right time a few months ago? Well, it just might be the right time now. Build an outreach strategy that includes a phone call, an email, and social media touch points that will re-engage these types of leads.
2. Take Time for Training and Development
Maybe you’ve been meaning to sign up for that course that looked really interesting but just didn't have the time earlier in the year. Well, now is a good time to sign up and get started if you have some time to spare.
Because whether you believe it or not, there are so many benefits to learning and opening your mind to new ideas, like: increased creativity, happiness, and productivity, to name a few. Not to mention it will have a direct impact on your sales efforts and it’s as easy and as cost-efficient as signing up for a free course or webinar.
Ideas to try:
- Sign up for free webinars. There are so many options out there, but SalesHacker is one of my personal favorites because they are consistent with their schedule and their content is quality.
- Sign up for an online course. There are both free and paid options to take advantage of but it really depends on what you’re looking for and what skills or knowledge areas you’re looking to focus on. Here are few to check out: Sales Training for High Performing Teams Specialization offered by HubSpot on Coursera, Sales Training Courses on LinkedInLearning by Lynda, and Pipeline Management by DMTraining.
- Check out a continuing education class at your local college. Oftentimes, these types of courses are free or relatively inexpensive. And you don’t necessarily have to attend a sales or business type of class, perhaps you want to hone your skills in photography or graphic design to complement your current skill-set. It’s also a great way to network with other people in your local area.
3. Polish Your Pitch
All that prospecting you’re doing means you’ll need to deliver your pitch to those potential new customers. It’s a great time to polish your pitch and practice in front of your manager and teammates for feedback.
Ideas to try:
- Focus on why. People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.
- Create different variations of your pitch. You need a short pitch (about 30-to-60-seconds) and a longer pitch (about 2-minutes). The first is for those “elevator” moments when you need to provide a quick summary. The second is for those times when you have a little more time to expand upon why your solution and business exists, who you are, what you do and who your clients are. Your pitch also needs to be adjusted based on the person you’re speaking to: low-level user, mid-level manager, or high-level executive.
- Practice delivering your pitch. Things often sound better in our heads than when we say them out loud. Once you’ve written down your thoughts, practice saying them aloud. Practice delivering it to your teammates and managers too. The more feedback you get, the better you’ll be able to refine your delivery and wording.
4. Assess Your Sales Materials
This is a great time of year to assess and re-evaluate your sales materials. Is your presentation deck up to snuff? Does your one-pager need to be refined? Have you updated your business cards lately?
Ideas to try:
- Look at the number of slides in your sales deck.
- Look at the visuals (or lack thereof) in your sales deck.
- Look at how you’re presenting your value proposition.
- Look at the storytelling elements of your presentation.
- Look at whether you're presenting your solution in a compelling way.
- Look at the proof and customer success stories you’re sharing.
- Look at the call-to-action you’re suggesting.
Delivering a compelling sales pitch and presentation is the fastest way to make you and your company stand out from the competition. That’s why it’s important to look at your sales materials with a critical eye. The more time and effort you put into improving and optimizing your presentation, the better your results will be.
5. Talk to New Customers and Gather Their Feedback
Why would you want to gather customer feedback? What’s the benefit?
Understanding what drives customer satisfaction is what creates customer loyalty. And guess what? Loyal customers grow a business faster than any other sales or marketing effort.
However, if you never ask for customer feedback, you'll never understand what drives customer satisfaction.
And not understanding what makes our customers happy is a costly mistake. Consider the following:
- It costs 5x to 25x more money to acquire a new customer than keep existing ones happy.
- The #1 most common source of new leads are referrals.
- Highly-engaged customers buy 90% more often and spend 60% more per transaction.
So, how do you collect feedback?
Ideas to try:
Here’s a strategic system for gathering and implementing customer feedback: The A.C.A.F. Customer Feedback Loop.
It includes four steps:
You want your customers to feel understood. Taking the time to ask questions and listen to their input will not only give you insight into why customers buy your products, services, and solutions but it will also help you drive better relationships with your customers because it shows that you care about them and their business.
While summertime is the perfect opportunity to recharge and take a break, it’s also a great time to focus on the five activities mentioned above so that you can set yourself up for success for the rest of the year.
Use the next few weeks to “get in gear” and really make a difference in your sales performance and results.
These activities are ideas to get you thinking, but as Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” So don't just think about what you need to do, go out there and do it!
All that sales activity is good for your pipeline, so keep your momentum going by downloading our Pipeline Management Made Easy guide.
*Originally published in 2015, updated in 2019.
About Molly D Protosow
Molly Protosow is the COO and Training Strategist for DMTraining. She manages the day-to-day business and training operations while helping research and develop new training programs as well as refreshing signature programs to reflect the newest sales trends, technology, and best practices. Molly utilizes her wide-range of skills to create sales and marketing assets focused on delivering value to DMT’s clients. Molly has a passion for learning and leveraging new knowledge and experiences. Outside of DMTraining, Molly is a hard core Pittsburgh sports fan, enjoys staying active by running and golfing, and unwinds by reading and playing the piano.