Summer time for sales can be exhaustive. Reaching people becomes a battle of out-of-office vacation replies, voicemails and follow-up calendar reminders. If you are doing some cold outreach, the tasks can be even more daunting. It is not all bad news, however. If you stick to a strategic approach you can overcome the auto replies, get a leg up on your competition and close more business. Having sent hundreds of thousands of emails over the last 15 years, I have seen what works and what doesn’t during the Summer months.
Here are 3 tips to keep that summer time sales momentum:
1. Read the Automated Reply
The typical out of office reply usually goes something like this:
“I will be out of the office starting 6-12 through 6-22 returning 6-23. If you need immediate assistance during my absence, please contact Mike Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org . Otherwise I will respond to your emails as soon as possible upon my return. Thank you for your message. Sarah Thompson”
There is some great information you can get from this message. Use it to your advantage. You now have a new contact to reach out to. Reach out to that new contact and state that; “I had attempted to reach (name) but she is out on vacation so I thought I would touch base with you during her absence.” This builds a new rapport and you can reference this outreach later.
2. Wait on the Reply Email Until After they Return and Craft it to Reflect your Efforts
You know when your prospect is returning, so you know when to get back to them, but don’t send a message on their return date. Odds are they will be sorting through hundreds of emails and your message is likely to get thrown out as they try to swim through it all and get caught up to speed. Wait a week, and reach out to reflect that they had a vacation. Hi Sarah, I hope you had a great vacation, I reached out to (name) during your absence, but I wanted to wait a week and let you catch up before I reached out…” This shows you are respectful of their time and actually read the replies. Also, since you have reached out to another colleague, you have a better chance at a positive response.
3. Call or Leave a Text for Follow Up
If you still haven’t heard back, its a good practice to call or text them as a follow up. This is a tricky tactic but if done right, you will have a better chance at connecting. The tricky part is to not reach out too often as to become a nuisance. Judge this time by your typical sales cycle. If your sales cycle is usually a few months, then space these efforts accordingly.
Of course all of this effort is determined on good data. You need accurate verified emails and direct phone numbers for this strategy to be effective. Most people that do cold outreach don’t take the time to reach out to out-of-office responses but those that do, and do so effectively see their summer sales numbers rise with the temperature.