OOO: 8 Tips for Reaching the Decision Maker During Summer PTO

August 18, 2020

Check out the Winmo blog sales hub for even more sales strategies and content for closers.

2020 is the year of the pivot. We pivoted revenue goals, work-life balance, hiring practices, and back to school plans, with learning-as-we-go adjustments.

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While adapting to constant change, many of us thought (hoped? prayed?) that this could be the year without a summer sales slump. With camps closed, cruise ships docked, and most countries restricting American travel — and markets remaining mostly steady — this could have been the year without a Q3 sales dip.

However, six months into coronavirus, professionals are itching to leave their WFH setup and go somewhere, anywhere, with local travel being the most popular (and safest) option:

  • A survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) found that 44% of Americans are planning overnight vacation or leisure travel in 2020. 
  • ToursByLocals, a tour marketplace that connects travelers with private tour guides, has seen a 128% increase from Americans looking to travel within the US from May to June. 
  • According to CNN, bookings in Yellowstone National Park are up 88% compared to the same period last year.

While your leads hit the road (and hit you with an out of office reply), here are eight effective sales strategies to reach the top decision maker and close deals during PTO’s peak: 

1)  Uncover timelines early

Set realistic expectations by discussing timelines for decision making as early as possible. Some salespeople are afraid of coming on too strong too fast — gauge the lead’s interest level and qualifications first. Then suggest, and compromise on, a timeline that’s worked in the past.

2)  Get acquainted with multiple stakeholders

If your sole contact goes on vacation, you’ll be in the dark until they return. Avoid being ghosted by interacting with multiple stakeholders from the jump. Encourage contacts to invite colleagues to your first discovery call or demo with a shareable meeting link.

3)  Keep your contacts updated

This is extra tricky during coronavirus, because terminated and furloughed employees aren’t updating their social profiles. Stay on top of industry news and personnel shifts with Winmo (of course), Adweek, AgencySpy, Bloomberg, and MarketWatch. Set Google alerts for top companies, too. 

4)  Prioritize the importance of Q3 action vs. Q4

In conversations with leads, focus on issues impacting their industry now and how to address them immediately (or face further stopgaps in 2021). Focus on the why instead of the what:

    • Why is it worth investing in a solution now versus later? 
    • What else has your lead tried to do to solve it? 
    • Why isn’t that working? 

5)  Soft launch a new product

Take advantage of the summer slump to run test campaigns on a new product or service. Embrace the human need to feel valued by asking leads and decision makers to give their feedback early, so a product you catapult in the fall or winter can be tailored to their individual needs.

6)  Consider a sales personality test

Discover the strengths and weaknesses in each sales rep to point them in a more motivational direction. Crystal helps professionals learn what type of communicator they are, ensuring each rep can confidently address decision makers.

7)  Get referrals from clients…

These connections are a valuable resource all year round, but are especially helpful during the summer. Successful clients in your primary market know other people who could be a good fit for your business, so ask for an introduction. Sweeten the deal with a referral incentive such as discounts or added features.

8)  … then upsell those clients

Up- and cross-selling is one of the most valuable sales strategies. During periods of low inbound sales, reps have the extra time to create compelling cases for purchases. Even if they aren’t ready to upgrade, reps should lay the groundwork for future conversations.

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If you liked this blog post, check out:

  1. How B2B Sales Can Adapt in an Economic Downturn
  2. 8 Sales Triggers Guaranteed to Convert More Leads
  3. Top 3 Tips for Identifying Key Decision Makers

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