Summer months can be viewed as the dreaded sales slump or a welcome reprieve from the hectic pace the rest of the year. In professional sales, summer also represents a unique opportunity for new business development and relationship building with customers if we have the right perspective and seize the opportunity presented by the slower pace and customer activities during June, July and August.

Speaking of summer fun, do you know where your customers are going on vacation? If you don't, you should. There are few things people value more or like to talk about more than their family vacations! What a terrific opportunity to get into the customer's odds are, show an interest in something important to them and genuinely better understand who they are and what makes them tick. Most of all, this is a unique platform from which to cultivate personal relationships with customers and find common ground.

Ideally, your exploratory process would have begun in the spring, but it certainly isn't too late. It's a natural and completely uncontroversial topic to broach with customers, "Have any fun vacation plans this summer?" Maybe you have visited the same place. If so, you likely have helpful insights and recommendations that would be of value to your customer. At a minimum, you now have common ground from which you can compare notes and share experiences. If you are not familiar with the customer's destination, you can tap into your network to gain helpful intel. Your effort to collect and provide information will make the contribution all the more appreciated. I actually love to hear about my customers' vacation plans, and even more so, their recap when they return to work. It is a unique type of engagement and, for me as a travel buff, it is one that I genuinely enjoy.

Sales professionals can also use the slower pace of the summer months to give extra attention to key customers and top prospects. Leverage ball games, concerts and other seasonal activities to host customers.

The bigger lesson, of course, is about perspective and our role in our own destiny in professional sales. Summer months don't have to be something that happens "to us" as sales professionals if we are diligent about finding the unique opportunity in every situation, including the "dog dazzle days" of summer!