Business in Europe basically shuts down during the summer.
It’s the worst-kept secret in B2B from where you can actually make a ton of great connections with Europeans during summertime-if you know the right way to handle it.
Today, we’re chatting with the Operatix International Team: Ada Amato, Head of International, Ikram Yousfi, Head of France, and Allen Bossman, Inside Sales.
The team has all the insider tips about how to have a productive summer and keep your team from being idle in September.
Summer is an opportunity for us to build relationships
Increase Activity by 20%
Ikram covers the French, Belgian, and Swiss markets.
“I generally have the common feedback from clients saying, ‘Why bother?’”.
There’s a widespread belief that everyone is away from the office enjoying the good weather.
“I completely disagree [with that] because I’m a great fan of this period as we can make some good opportunities,” she added.
French people split their holidays in two.
Summer and Winter.
Meaning that they are only out of the office for two to three weeks, not the whole summer.
“There will be a whole heap of prospects who decided to stay behind,” Ikram said.
The people still at the office before or after their summer holiday become the obvious targets. Plus, if they answer a call, they’re less busy and stressed. They have more time to engage.
Someone who can match this attitude of pleasant, relaxed conversation will be able to form a great connection.
“So two things in mind here,” Ikram said. “Prepare for this period of summer and also increase the level of activity.”
Allen agrees. “Summer is an opportunity for us to build relationships,” he said.
In thinking about how much to increase activity, he took a look at the numbers. Normally the ratio for contacts was around 23%, but during the summer, that dropped to about 11%.
Instead of freaking out, he presents his team with a plan to increase work about 20% by providing great incentives. “That’s the best way to increase your pipeline,” Allen said.
Read our blog on 5 Tactics to Avoid the Holiday Sales Slump
Prepare for this period of summer and also increase the level of activity.
Treat Summer Like Fridays
There are still people at the office answering emails and phones–people to connect with.
And people will answer calls while on vacation.
In both scenarios, the person answering the phone is not experiencing Monday-levels of stress.
“There’s times where I’ve called someone who’s on holiday,” Allen said. He’ll apologize for disturbing them, then ask about their trip.
If you’re doing the call right, you’re coming across as positive and polite. “They tend to respond in a light manner, so they will tell you they’re on holiday,” Allen said.
“And then normally when they’re back, I’ll reach out again and already have a relationship with them rather than just calling them out of the blue,” he said.
That’s because–drumroll–people tend to be in a good mood during the summer. It’s the Friday phenomenon.
The reason sales calls are so successful on Fridays is because everyone is starting to relax and look forward to the weekend.
“So many people think, ‘I won’t bother to call because it’s Friday,’ but that’s a big mistake,” Ada said. “Summer is sunny. Prospects are more relaxed.”
If you catch a prospect during summer, it’s so much easier to reconnect when they get back to the office.
“Trust me, they won’t go to the beach all at the same time,” said Ada.
Trust me, they won’t go to the beach all at the same time”
Know Your Zone
“Early in the morning or late in the evening is the secret for the French market,” Ikram said.
If you’re going to call, call early or late.
Another good strategy is to send a mass marketing email and study the responses. You might find a lead for who is away or who is the summer replacement.
For the Spanish and Italian markets, the ideal timing changes. Summer continues to be a slow business season, but mainly because of the heat.
When you’re calling Italy and Spain, realize that they’re starting work early in the morning. “Sometimes they don’t take breaks, and they finish at 3:00 PM,” Ada said.
People can be more willing to schedule a meeting in summer because their schedules look a lot less hectic.
“It depends on how you perceive the glass: half empty or half full,” Ada said. “We are here to create opportunities, not to wait for the opportunities.”
Being successful in Europe in the summer is about preparation and having the right mindset.
To continue the conversation about European prospects during summer, contact Allen Bossman through LinkedIn.
This blog post is based on a B2B Revenue Acceleration podcast episode.
To hear more great episodes like this one, subscribe to the B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast.