It’s August, and you may be using the term ‘dog days of summer’ to describe the simmering heat. Down here in Texas, it’s been a hot one. A few weeks ago it was over a hundred for about a 2 week stretch, with 109 being a high. This week we’re getting some much needed rain, so heat is more bearable, yet steamy.
August 26 is National Dog Day, and this past weekend, August 5th was National Work Like a Dog Day. Since it was a Saturday, I trust you weren’t working like a dog!
And then in the subject line above is the beginning of one of my favorite lines from the critically acclaimed TV sitcom of the 80s and early 90s, Cheers.
The line was spoken by often disheveled, lovable loser, occasionally-employed bar regular, Norm. His character became well-known for his sarcastic responses upon entering the bar, when one of the bartenders would ask Norm how life was treating him.
Norm’s response one day when Sam asked him what’s happening; “It’s a dog eat dog world, Sammy, and I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear.”
Perhaps that’s how you feel about August, one of the busiest travel months of the year. You may be inclined to back off on your sales and business development efforts because, well, ‘everybody is on vacation.’
Now, as a former travel professional, I can agree that August could be a slower month than June or July because many families do take their summer vacation before school starts. I can also take the contrarian position; August is slow if you slow down on your business building efforts.
Just like in December when I wrote about doubling down and going all in on your business, in August you need to take advantage when others are relaxing their efforts. Let me throw you a few bones:
- Strategic Referral Partners If you haven’t connected or met with a strategic referral partner [SRP] in the last 3 to 6 months, now is the time! Last Friday I reached out to 7 SRPs who I haven’t seen or spoken to in 4+ months and heard back from half of them; I now have meetings on the calendar to meet.
- Prospects Trails can go cold anytime, even during the hot dog days of summer. If it’s been more than 2 weeks since you last spoke with a prospect and you don’t have an agreed-upon future meeting date, time to revisit. Pro Tip – if using email, always reply to the original email string already started. This way, the prospect sees it as an existing conversation and not a new pitch, increasing the likelihood they’ll open and read it.
- Raving Fans Reach out to your happy customers and ask for referrals! Start your email with a one or two sentence description of your own summer vacation and invite dialogue about theirs, or something else of interest to maintain the relationship. In a new paragraph, remind them of any incentive you may have for new referred business, and prompt them for a referral to a prospect like them; someone who has similar challenges to what they had when they hired you or bought your product, and how you or your product helped them or solved their problem. The post I wrote for Richtopia.com gives you a glimpse of one way I created Raving Fans; Do You Have Customers, or Do You Have Raving Fans?
- Update your CRM or prospect database Perhaps you’ve been loading up your database all year with purchased prospect lists. Review and clean up your files and use this as a reason to reach back out to prospects under the auspices of updating your contact information.
- Networking events To remain relevant, networking groups and associations must also update their membership, topics, speakers, and areas of focus. If you haven’t attended a group for 4 – 6 months, see if they have an event this month and consider visiting. Despite popular opinion, only 2 out of the 10 to 12 networking groups I attend regularly DON’T meet during the summer. There are plenty of events to attend, even in the summer!
- LinkedIn Now that LinkedIn is a Microsoft company and completed their transformation, I’ve endeavored to make a more concerted effort to engage in groups and actively network on LinkedIn. I still say LinkedIn is a better, more professional platform than Facebook, but you have decide what works better for your service or product. Now that the dust has settled, I’m confident this platform can again be a powerhouse for new business opportunities.
Gnaw on these ‘bones’ for the rest of the month, and see what kind of opportunities begin to arise. You’ll be the dog eating the bones, getting fat as the fall selling season ramps up.