Now the summer holidays have started, we all get to enjoy the quieter roads on our way into work. But for anyone in sales, this inevitably means quieter phones as our clients soak up the sun elsewhere.
Having seen the images of the packed beaches in Benidorm recently, I’d personally opt for a ‘staycation’, but what can you do to maintain your figures and keep the boss happy, when the office resembles the Marie Celeste? Should you concentrate your efforts in other months to accommodate the summer drought, if only to ensure the annual turnover still looks good? Is there a ‘sales calendar’ with bad months to avoid and good months, when closing deals is just like shooting fish in the proverbial barrel?
Take January for instance. This month tends to be a slow burner, as people take stock after the Christmas holidays, requiring a little more time to get up to full speed. Skiing is no longer the privilege of the elite, and with a half-term in it, February seems to be the month where every Tom, Dick and Carrie is on or off the piste. Back home, February is also the month that can annually cost industry up to £500M for every day that we fall prey to the ‘wrong kind of snow’, or even 2cms of the ‘right kind of snow’, which seems capable of bringing our great nation to a standstill. March is good, is it not? As spring looms, a sense of new beginnings gives added enthusiasm to everything, except for the moveable feast that is Easter, which can easily pop up in March, and with April 5th on the horizon, it tends to be a month full of delays and procrastination whilst businesses wait for the new tax year and the last to be ‘auld lang syne’.
April: The coffers are now bursting with new budgets; but are they? Every good salesman is raring to go, but unfortunately, they are often held off by planning meetings and strategy ‘think tanks’, because the decision makers were ‘disappointed’ by their reduced budgets; gone are the days when managers act like Euro Million winners at this time of year. But as the vista bursts into life, we amble into May, and start to enjoy the warmer days and the lighter nights, so this must surely be a good month for sales. But there it is, another half-term and another week where little Tristan and Phoebe are packed into the Volvo with the Labrador and the portable BBQ for a week at Center Parcs, along with your hopes of closing the deal, because Mummy and Daddy are not at their desks to sign off on what you have been cooking up.
So what about June? What is wrong with June? Well nothing really, except that a lot of ‘DINKY’s’ and parents with pre-school aged children will holiday in June as it’s cheaper, cooler and generally clear of that scourge of society, commonly known as teenagers! And the same goes for early July.
And then we are back to the aforementioned summer holidays where you may very well be enjoying a commute that is literally halved in duration, but so probably are your sales figures. With the Ashes this year, Olympics other years, World Cups, and the rise in popularity of festivals, it is nigh on impossible to get anything done.
September is actually quite a good month to achieve your goals at work, but the kids are back at school and have a tendency to bring home all the coughs and sneezes that are doing the rounds, so be wary. And despite the fact it has another half-term towards the end of it, October is also a fairly productive month as we prepare to dig in for the winter. November can produce some good figures as, let’s face it, there is little else to do but work – when you look out of the window, it’s just grey, grey, grey.
And finally, December - peppered with office do’s and nativities, it can be a tricky time to close a deal. As the year winds down, the dark nights and the darker mornings take their toll; the workforce now has its eye firmly fixed on the finishing line – Christmas eve. By the middle of the month there is a sense that ‘if it hasn’t happened already, it’s unlikely to’.
So what can we take from this? Do we really only have 3 ‘good months’ a year in which to achieve our targets? Or does every month produce challenges and difficulties that just need to be overcome? Despite all of the above, our best month ever for interviews was an August a couple of years ago, and the best for sales was a January, which seems to totally contradict these musings.
You can always find a reason why it is difficult to close a deal. Surely that is the point of targets – a focus; an opportunity to plan ahead. Maybe we just need to stop telling ourselves why we can’t, and get on with it.