You’d be hard pressed to find a sales team in the UK that is feeling energised, motivated and positive about the current state of affairs in Britain. What with the uncertainty that has been unleashed by the unexpected Brexit result, we are also entering a time of the year that is notoriously bad for sales – known in the industry as the ‘summer sales slump.’
There are various reports that back up this phenomenon. Last year Approved Index announced that the summer months cost UK businesses £8bn a year in reduced productivity. The main factor that is blamed for this downturn is ‘holidays’ – sales team taking leave, prospects also taking holiday and not being available, and also the general sense of ‘holiday mode’ that means that the sales team just aren’t as focused as they could be.
So how, as a sales manager, can you address and mitigate against this ‘summer slump’?
Acknowledging is the first step. The next is turning a negative into a positive. As a manager you can either fear or revere holidays. The manager that fears holidays creates a culture of blame where salespeople are made to feel guilty for taking their legally entitled leave, which means they count the days until they can jet off and leave the bad feeling behind – and then subsequently dread the return to the grindstone. Ultimately this approach is massively demotivating – and it’s an unavoidable fact that unmotivated salespeople do not deliver the best results or go the extra mile for their manager.
Revering holidays elicits the opposite result. The canny sales manager should be actively encouraging holidays and encouraging their teams to use the time to relax, refresh and re-energise, so that they can recharge their batteries and return more productive than when they left.
The ‘summer sales slump’ can be further mitigated with some careful planning. By scheduling holidays so that members of the team are not on leave at the same time will ensure business continuity so sales don’t dip. ‘Buddy schemes’ whereby team members hand over work to each other can also yield great results, especially when these are supported by incentives to close each other’s sales.
Don’t forget to give yourself a break too. Time away from work can give you clarity of thought to think strategically and creatively. With the correct approach and a little planning, summer can actually give sales a bump – rather than a yearly slump.