July 16, 2019

Summer Plays Off

Several years back, during my time as a producing advisor, I had a sales manager that that would always say to us around the month of June “Don’t let the summer be an excuse to take any plays off”.

By saying that, he did not mean it was not a time for us to take a vacation or a long weekend getaway.

Rather, it was a reminder that the game is still being played and you cannot allow yourself to use the summer slowdown as an excuse to let your focus and activity drop to levels that will have an effect on your business in months to come.

As we all know, summer is a time of the year when school is out, sports travel teams are in full tournament mode and many clients (and advisors) are taking time off for much needed vacations. For any of you using Facebook, you are most probably reminded of this on a daily basis. I compare it to the off season in any given sport.

Because of this, in particular, activity tends to slow down and sometimes comes to a full stop. For many, it’s hard to resist the urge to “Slow down with the Slowdown” so to speak.

At this time of the year your client may seem to be not very interested in their finances, with the expectation there is nothing pending; so why should I be very interested, right?

As a sales manager, I used to always stress to my team the importance of setting yourself up for a good September and October with increased activity in June and July. Hard/Smart work in June and July will pay dividends in September and October.

To do so, it all boils down to one key element, “activity” and how you are adjusting your activity in the summer slowdown.

What tends to happen is that most start to “take plays off” and that leads to a slowdown in our efforts and activity. Before you know it, you’ve taken plays off a few months and are behind going in to the busy season.

One thing has an effect on the other, now you are even farther behind, thus setting yourself up for a difficult September and October while heading into another time of the year where things tend to slow down, November and December.

Hopefully you can see where I’m going here:  activity, or the lack there of, both produce results in the weeks and months ahead. Question is, which results are acceptable to you?

First, let’s define what I mean by activity in this particular context.

Activity: An action in anything you can do now or in the future that will help you see more clients, find more business or be better at what you do.
So obviously, the question becomes, what can I do to stay busy and active in the “slow” months of the year?

For starters, double your calling efforts.  Start making calls to clients that you haven’t spoken to for quite some time, usually the lower tiers of your book. If you are not making calls start now!  Or have someone on your team do it for you if that’s an option. If you are in the habit of making calls, increase calls to your existing book (B, C, D clients) that you do not see or speak to as often as your “A” clients.

Reach out to that lead, prospect or COI that you’ve tried to get in front of during the busy time of the year. Remember, your competitors are probably taking plays off as well, so this is a very good time to do what the others aren’t willing to do right now.  The old standards of “coffee, lunch or grab a drink?” are always in play.

Attend more events with businesses and social circles in your community.  Remember, this is a contact sport, the more you “see the people” the more opportunity usually comes your way.

Schedule some self-learning time to increase your skill and knowledge in your craft. Attending an industry seminar on particular topic you want to know more about or taking a class or designation that will increase your knowledge in your profession as well as completing any CE required work that seems to always be due at the most inopportune times.

Start something new like writing a newsletter or starting a blog, vlog or marketing campaign. You can also take this time to explore new platforms for managing money, creating more efficient or better client contact, lead generation or social networking.

Leverage this time to dive deep into your book of business. For some of you it may be to segment your book and/or create some plan of attack to manage it going forward. For others it may be to analyze their book to see where things are going well and where there may be some opportunity for improvement.

And lastly, host or start the planning and scheduling of any client or networking events such as seminars or client appreciation events.

Simply put, as said by many elite athletes, the real work that makes the biggest difference, is done in the off season.

Staying focused and staying active throughout the year is a given, but the best in business know that paying your dues and putting in “work” in the off season will pay dividends come “Game Time”.