This week, I’m joining 80% of americans in planning a travel vacation for the summer. As a business owner, I know how important it is to get away; but I’m also aware of the impact a “vacation” has on my business—and the business of my clients. When anyone goes on vacation, we feel it! Schedules get thrown, decisions are stalled. Any kind of change (or action) happens more slowly. Often we’re ”waiting” for everyone to return to the office so that a meeting can be scheduled, or a proposal can get approved. It can be sooo frustrating! Your clients need your help; you want to close the deal; but the world stops for 2 weeks because somebody is on vacation. And then when they come back they’re too busy catching up to get your deal approved… The weeks go by and nothing happens; it feels like there’s very little you can do about it.
This year we face an additional challenge: (ahem) the presidential election. Presidential election years have a way of muddying the business waters with uncertainty—slowing things down even more. When buyers can’t predict the future, they tend to hesitate; and you and I both know that there’s plenty of reason to “hunker down” and wait out this election storm.
If that wasn’t enough; the Cubs are expected to win the World Series. Folks—I don’t want to alarm anyone—but we may be looking at the end of the world!
I’m guessing that when you set your goals this year, you didn’t count on a full quarter of uncertainty and slowdown. So to meet our goals, we’re going to have to find a way to keep things moving despite vacations, the election, and the end of the world. How do we do that?
Focus on the top of your funnel
When we’re looking for growth, it’s very tempting to focus on those deals that are closest to closing (‘they’re looking at our proposal, I’ll just checkin one more time…’) But when the chances of closing start to drop, and the length of time for “consideration” increases, there’s not a lot we can do to move those deals at the bottom of the funnel. We have to wait until everyone’s back from vacation, or for the stars to align, or whatever. We can, however, go out and find another lead; then go and chase that down.
Focusing on the top of your funnel gives you more chances to find a lead that’s not on vacation or in hesitation mode. If we keep prospecting, we may find that, come fall, all of a sudden we have tons of new customers—but that’s a problem we can figure out how to handle!
Grow your existing customer relationships
If your new business funnel is stuck in vacation mode, turn your attention to your existing customers. What more can we offer them? How can we “add fries with that”, and up-sell some additional value?
It’s often much easier to get work approved when you are already in the door. You know what they value and what they are looking for. Where is that low hanging fruit you can grab that will keep things growing until your new business pipeline starts flowing again?
Lean into your own marketing.
If your pipeline’s stalled, and you’ve got all you can out of your existing customers, then it’s time to up your marketing game and plan for September launches.
Have you been toying around with some marketing automation? Now’s the time to dig in and get it set up. Thinking about getting started on some webinars or seminars? Set some dates for fall and get the content written. If you are going to live with a summer slowdown, you’ve got to hit it twice as hard come September—so have everything that you can have ready, ready to go.
I don’t plan on letting the election year slowdown mean that I’m missing my goals. And you shouldn’t either. Are there other strategies you use to keep things moving through the summer?