Don't let the summer holiday objection put you off

By: Andy Preston

Date: 15 August 2012

Summer holiday objection{{}}It’s always interesting how many sales people fall for the “call me back after the summer holiday” objection.

The problem is that when you call those people back after the break, they either still haven’t made a decision, they give another excuse, you can’t seem to get hold of them ever again — or worse, they have chosen to buy from someone else.

Why is it that decision-makers give us the summer holiday objection? Sometimes, there’s a genuine reason — perhaps a colleague is away that needs to be involved, perhaps there isn’t a budget until later in the year or perhaps that person is so focused on delivering existing projects, they just can’t think about another one.

Often, however, decision-makers use the summer holiday objection as a convenient way of getting salespeople to go away — and they keep using it because it works!

Unless you learn to do something about it, you’re going to suffer the same problem year after year. So here are some suggestions:

1. Be prepared

You know you’re going to start getting these sorts of objections so why not consider how you’re going to deal with them and practice your responses? This means working out your objection handles, then practicing them with friends and colleagues. Don’t leave this until the last few moments before your telephone call, client meeting — or even worse until you’re waiting in reception — do this on a regular basis.

2. Think about what they really mean

What does the buyer or decision-maker mean when they say, “call me back after the summer holiday”? Some people use that phrase when actually what they really mean is a flat-out “go away” Or perhaps they are saying, “your offering isn’t important enough for me to look at right now”. As someone who originally trained as a professional buyer, I can guarantee you that’s the case! If you are after new business, the likelihood of them fobbing you off is much higher. If you’re with an existing client that you have a good relationship with, it’s more likely that they’re telling the truth.

3. Make your call more compelling

If you are making new business calls in the holiday period, make them more compelling! Generally speaking, people will be busier as they’re either about to go on holiday, just back from holiday, or covering for someone else who’s on holiday. Whichever of those it is, they’re going to be time poor, so make sure your call is as good as it can be. Take a closer look at your voice tonality and your message. Does it sound as though you and your call are important?  Does the outcome that you are suggesting sound like a must-do? Is your close short and to the point?

4. Ask better questions

Most people I meet struggle with asking good questions — questions that get them information that their competitors don’t get, questions that make them look good and questions that make the decision-maker think.

So when someone says “call me after the summer holiday”, that should not be the end of the conversation. First you need to get the information you need. The most important thing to find out here is if they’re trying to fob you off, without accusing them directly! If you can establish that there are genuine reasons to put the order on hold until after the break, it should be easier to pick things up from where you left off come September.

5. Have the right attitude

Your attitude is vital in getting the results that you want. I’ve seen far too many people trudge round on appointment after appointment, or from phone call to phone call looking and sounding like they’re terminally depressed! Not many people are going to buy from you in that state, are they? If you pick up the phone or walk into a meeting expecting the other person to say call me back after the summer holiday” then that’s what you are likely to hear.

If you’re in a competitive market you can bet that the decision-maker is talking to other suppliers, and all it takes is for the salesperson at one of those companies to be better at dealing with the summer holiday objection than you are — then when you ring back in September you’ll find they’ve bought off someone else!

The decision maker might say, “oh we went with xyz firm because they had a better proposal” or “we went with abc because they have us a cheaper price” but in most cases what they mean is “we went with xyz because they dealt with the summer holiday objection better than you did and that won them the business”.

Now that you’re aware that’s often the case, you’re not going to let that happen to you in future are you?

Andy Preston is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and a leading expert on sales. His website is at