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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summertime Selling… How To Set Yourself Apart

Special Guest Post by:
Brad Roderick
Executive Vice President, InkCycle, Inc.

As a kid, I would spend time on my grandparent’s farm in Central Illinois. And no, they didn’t use oxen for plowing the field, I’m not quite that old. Invariably, every trip, every gathering, every conversation would turn into a discussion about the weather. “It’s too cold… too wet… too hot… too dry…”yet those discussions never affected the big picture. Sure, there were times when the plowing or planting schedule needed moved up or when getting the combines into the fields would to be postponed a few days. And yes, a big storm on a field day would create a change of short-term plans but as important as the weather was; as a topic of discussion or a deep concern over the health of the crop, the big picture didn’t change. And the big picture? If you didn’t plant… you wouldn’t harvest. Period.

Fast-forward a few decades and it’s been one of the longest hot and humid streaks I can remember in years. Not sure whether it’s the general aging process or brain damage due to excessive heat, but I can’t recall a day where the thermometer hasn’t topped 100 degreed by noon. And unlike the Southwestern part of the United States, this is not a dry heat! And yes, the weather has been a constant source of conversation. But if we are not careful, this topic can become more than just a conversation; more than merely something we need to address with better hydration and by changing the dress code to include short pants. If we are not careful, extended periods of heat can have a seriously damaging long-term impact on our health... our financial health. Yes, heat slows us down some (maybe we take advantage and listen a little more closely) and yes, it’s tough to be at your best when you have to make the long walk across the asphalt parking lot in your dark blue suit. And maybe you won’t be at your absolute best, but that’s not much of an excuse if you understand the “don’t plant, don’t harvest” concept. Also, it’s probably worth noting that hardcore summertime selling is not for those folks who suffer from loneliness because chances are pretty good that you won’t see your competitors. Most of them are at home, indoors, resting, waiting for a harvest that they just won’t come.

Someone once said, “The big difference between winners and the rest of the field is that winners are willing to do what others aren’t”. This applies to the game of sales as much as to any other competitive endeavor. So, even though it’s hot out… “all of your customers are on vacation”, and every other summertime excuse, you might do well to do what others aren’t; prospecting for new business. After all, just like that farmer, next season’s crops won’t come in unless you plant the field this season.

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