This week marks the start of the holiday season and Sales Professionals (like you) face added challenges for maintaining focus and sales productivity. Top sales performers will use this time wisely for new business, relationship building, and for filling your 2016 funnel.
It’s easy to get caught up in the highlights of the season: Customer activity seems to slow down and focus shifts from business to the joy of the season. Top performers don’t take the last month of the year off though. They use this time creatively to build, bond, and sell while their peers are thinking about what’s in the oven and when to put up the lights. Here’s a few tips for making this one of your most productive months:
Objective # 1: Conquer Decision Delay– It’s easy for customers to put off decisions during this time of year. To them it seems logical to wait until after the New Year to make changes. And too many salespeople willingly accept this as a logical excuse. But to have any chance of closing these deals you have to strike when the iron is hot. You cannot allow emotions to wane. This is the time to give your prospects and customers a more compelling reason to make decisions now rather than later. This means getting more aggressive with positioning and becoming more creative with the value add. While your peers are relaxing, you’re pushing for meetings, scrounging for candidates, and sharpening your responses to objections. This is the perfect time to reconnect with customers you haven’t spoken with in a while. Determine their Q1 goals, share the latest company information, and set expectations with them for 2016. Remember, a good partner keeps customers engaged by getting them to commit early.
Objective #2: Activity is everything- If you aren’t prospecting, questioning, presenting, and closing you will fail, no matter what time of year it is. Don’t let your self-discipline slip. Relax this month and it hurts your closing ratio. It also impacts your sales pipeline for January, February, and March. Ultimately this all impacts your stress level and income. If your goals are for 5 meetings a week, bump that up to 8. Make each contact count by adding value. Don’t just send a “Happy holidays” greeting. Review the business you’ve done with them this year, ask them to provide you with feedback on how to improve your performance, and make sure that everything is running smoothly. Ask for references and referrals, and see if they will provide you with a testimonial. Keep that daily activity high!
Objective #3: Discipline– To keep your activity high spend some time RIGHT NOW planning your daily work. Write out your goals for the day, the week, and the month. Block out your calendar for prospecting, information gathering, and meetings. Plan for your holiday activities and build them into your sales plan. The goal is to get everything planned in advance. To stay on track set activity targets and commit to reviewing those at the beginning and end of each day. You’ll be amazing at how powerful this is in keeping you focused and assuring a strong finish to the year.
Objective #4: Plan, Plan, Plan!- Start planning for the New Year. What do you want to accomplish? What are your sales goals? Who do you want to meet with? What do you want to learn? This is the prime time to invest in yourself and assure a strong start to next year. Upgrade your skills, read a book, and learn more about your customers. Those sales that you make in January will pay you the whole year through.
Top Sales People are working harder at this time of year, not taking time off. They are staying late to make more calls, planning their work, and filling their funnel for 2016. Your customers are in a great mood and they have new budgets in hand. Be the first in line with a new contract for them to sign. Don’t wait until January when your competitors are waking up and getting ready to sell again. You’re better than that. And this is the month to prove it.
Until next time,
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