5 Ways to Sell Through the Summer Sales Slump
In between planting and harvest is 100+ days of summer
As plant 2019 finally comes dragging across the finish line, many of you are slipping into what is called a summer slump. I know…I can hear you saying, “We have spraying, scouting, cover crop, wheat harvest, acreage reporting, and only a month till we start talking seed for 2020. We don’t have time for a slump!”
All that aside, it still happens. County fairs, family vacations and the natural tendency to take a short break from the chaos of this year’s growing season will happen. All good things and maybe a short slump is healthy to recharge your batteries.
If you want to recover from it faster, here are 5 action items you can take to get the sales motor running again.
Prepare for a lengthy harvest: We know crops were planted in one of the widest windows of time in recent history. It only makes sense that harvest will be the same. If your products and services will be affected by a lengthy harvest, then prepare for it as much as you can. This is for grain originators, equipment sellers, custom balers, haulers, custom combining, etc.
Change it up: You’ve been in one mode for months, maybe all year. Shake things up to get some perspective
Find a new network in the industry: There are dozens of trade associations in Ag. This is a great time to attend several different meetings to determine if it’s your niche customers. Ways to get involved: attend meetings, speak at one of their events, help host an activity at one of their events, offer to have them tour your facility if it’s worth touring.
Seek out Referrals: How do I know this is a change for you? Because in all my 27 years of working with sales people and facilitating sales training, I know we are all bad at it (including myself). We just fail miserably at asking for a referral. You worked hard to bring as much success to this planting season as possible. Your customer recognizes it, even if he doesn’t say so. Ask for the referral.
Kill some Ducks: Not actual Ducks. This was a term several in my peer group used when referring to those activities that no longer contribute to the business. Examples:
Email subscriptions you no longer read: If you hit delete immediately upon seeing that repetitive email in your Inbox, then unsubscribe already.
Social media subscriptions: Same as email. We get signed up for these Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn groups and then get numbed by the daily or hourly posts from them, which are mostly advertisements.
Activities/meetings/conferences/trade shows you no longer get value from: We get so set in our ways that we just repeat our activities year after year and never stop to think about the value we are actually getting from them.
Increase your automation: Kill any manual activity that can be done electronic. You were too busy before to do it, now is the time. A little up-front work now will make the next busy time that much more efficient for you. This includes using your CRM program.
Network with another vendor: obviously not your competition. Think about your products or services. What products or services are directly linked to your product? Examples: crop insurance/grain origination.... pet food/pet supplies….Ag Lending/almost any agribusiness.
Recap: You just survived the chaos of one of the longest planting seasons. Take a breather and recap all that went well or went poorly. Celebrate the good and brainstorm ideas on how to get better next time. Have your marketing person sit in on this discussion so he can pull out some social media posts from the good that you did.
Shorten the rest & recuperation period: Zig Ziglar used to say, “Shorten the pity party.” It was a tough spring and you worked hard. Take a break, but don’t stay there too long.
Don Shula, the legendary winning coach of the Miami Dolphins used to tell his team, “We’ll take Sunday afternoon to celebrate our win or commiserate our loss. Monday morning, it’s back to work on the next game.”
For more information on Ag sales training, coaching or business development, contact Greg Martinelli at Greg@GregMartinelli.net.