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Halfway home! Or are you?

Time for a mid-year review.

Many of you are blaming slower sales on the summer season, and people being on vacation, or people not working on Fridays so they can take a long weekend. I refer to this as “summer whining.”

At the beginning of the year, you were given a big, fat quota. Your company may have softened the lexicon by calling it a “sales plan,” or a goal. But the bottom line is: if you don’t meet it, you’re out.

BIG QUESTION: Are you halfway to your goal? Have you met your monthly objectives (AKA quota)? Are your bosses ranting, “Sell more, sell more, sell more!” (Maybe you should ask them to go out with you and help you make your numbers.)

Well, rather than me chastising you about what you did NOT do — like your boss is doing — why don’t I give you a few areas that you can look at, so that you might be able to end the year ahead of the milestones that were set for you at the beginning:

• Look at your pipeline. How many potential sales do you have versus how many sales do you need? If your closing ratio is three out of 10, your sales goal is $100,000, and your average sale is $30,000, then you need at least 12 solid potential sales (more like 15 potential sales), in order for you to easily make your goal.

• Look at your work ethic. Breakfast appointment? Lunch appointment? Three appointments with decision makers a day? The biggest key on the planet to increasing your sales is increasing the number of decision makers that you sit in front of.

• Earn more referrals. While everybody else is on vacation, you should be spending extra time building key relationships. Here’s the secret: Most salespeople fail to realize the value of providing value, and converting the value they provide into great referrals. When you visit your customers to build relationships, understand that most of them don’t want to see you — and most of them don’t have time for you, UNLESS there’s something in it for them. Think about your top 10 customers. Think about their two or three biggest needs (whether it involves your product or not). And think about how you may be able to get them information they need, or help them gain greater productivity or profit. That’s VALUE — and it has NOTHING to do with value-add (whatever that is).

• Look at how you’re spending your early mornings and your late evenings. Your ability to invest that time to read in the morning, and prepare in the evening, could be that extra edge that you need to make the marginal sale. The hot sale.

Yes, it’s hot outside. Yes, there’s a tendency to be a bit lazy. Yes, it’s easy to complain that things are slow. But I think it would be better if you looked at July as your half-way point. Selling has no season, unless you’re in retail. And even then, the reason Christmas is so important to retailers is because they don’t do a great job in the other 11 months, and “need Christmas.”

The season for sales is today and tomorrow — regardless of the temperature, regardless of vacation and regardless of other people’s sense of urgency.

Review your first six months. Break down your numbers month by month. Then break them down week by week. It’s real easy to make a graph of it. I wonder if there’s a pattern in your sales. I wonder if you push as hard at the beginning of the month as you do at the end of the month. I wonder if you even know what your sales patterns are.

If you’re looking to have a great second half, if you’re looking to get a sales award or get to the president’s club, or be the number one salesperson on your team — now is the time to double your intensity. Now is the time to dig in and make big sales while your competition is on vacation. While your competition is slacking off. While your competition is whining about how slow things are.

Or, you could just slack off like they do. Start at 10, quit at four. Take off Fridays. You know, “It’s summer.”

My recommendation is: Turn on the air conditioning, and turn up the heat — of your sales intensity. It’s summertime — and the selling is easy.

GitBit: If you want one KILLER idea that combines summer, leisure, fun, sales, and relationship — all in one — go to www.gitomer.com, register if you are a first time user, and enter the word SUMMER in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail
salesman@gitomer.com.

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