Sales Magic in December
Using the holidays to your advantage
Focusing during the holidays is challenging, especially for us ADD sales peeps. Your normal routines and schedule have likely been disrupted due to travel, visitors, and time spent away from the office. Distractions fall like snowflakes in Maine, and maintaining focus can take all your energy. However, you still need to make hit your target even though December isn’t a typical month. Quota looms heavy, and if you ignore your pipeline this month, it will hurt your business next year.
“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”– Albert Einstein
If you’re feeling uninspired, try to rally yourself with these four ideas for making the most of December.
Your chances of getting in touch with the ultimate decision maker are better than average.
Calling early in the morning or late at night is recommended by sales professionals to reach decision-makers. During regular business hours, executives and senior leaders are notoriously difficult to get in touch with, often being redirected to an assistant or other lower-level employee. However, with staff on vacation, it is typical that at 8 o’clock in the evening, the CEO may be the only person in the office available to take a call. The same rule holds true during the winter holidays. Those higher up the organizational chart may choose to remain behind or even show up to the office during this time in order to get some work done while it’s relatively empty. Remember this information the next time you pick up the phone. It’s possible that your call will go to voicemail, but there’s also a chance it will get through to the economic buyer.
This is an excellent chance for development and improvement.
If most of your potential customers are out of the office or in “work mode” and uninterested in interacting with you, you might be tempted to write off this period of time as wasted. But don’t let that kill your drive; now is the perfect time to hone your abilities, cleanup and improve your process. Since you aren’t making many connections, there aren’t many consequences. If you do this, you’ll also be in a good position to have a fantastic start to the new year. Pick a task or section of the sales process that you’d like to improve and enhance first. Perhaps, during the discovery process, you want to work on asking more in-depth questions rather than just the ones that come to mind. Then, make a second, complementary objective. You could make it a goal to dig deeper into at least two of your prospect’s general responses during each discovery call, or to ask at least three difficult questions. With a self-determined goal in mind rather than a vague hope for the future, you’ll be much more likely to persist in your efforts.
To satisfy your competitive drive, challenge your previous self to a match. If you look back one year, how much did you sell around this time? Put that number to the test and see if you can do better. This is a more equitable competition than judging your performance based on the previous month’s or quarter’s results, given that you will be facing the same seasonal conditions. To get everyone on the team involved, set a goal of beating everyone else’s performance from the previous period. Whoever achieves a greater improvement over their previous performance is the winner. Everyone is competing against their own best efforts rather than each other, so all the tension and excitement of a regular competition is present without the possibility of “losing”.
“Use It or Lose It” Can Be Used to Your Advantage
While some of your potential customers may have already spent all of their money for the year, others will be looking for ways to spend what’s left. Unused funds in many government agencies are eliminated rather than carried over to the following fiscal year. In addition, businesses frequently look back at the prior year’s spending to determine budgetary priorities for the coming year. Let us assume that a senior manager spends $400,000 of her $700,000 allotment. Next year, he will likely receive $400,000. If that supervisor can spend his remaining $300,000 on a worthwhile solution while also locking in her budget for next year, he will likely jump at the chance. How can you tell if a potential client still has money in their budget? Ask.
You could make a statement like, “December is almost over and I am aware that businesses like [prospect’s company] typically have leftover or expiring budgets. Where do you stand monetarily right now?”
If your asking price is too high and a discount isn’t an option, you have two choices.
You could, for example, have them pay a fraction of the total now and the rest next year. The second option is to learn more about their financial procedures. Perhaps the purchaser has an allotted sum for the acquisition of hardware and a further sum for its upkeep and repair. You could send her two separate contracts—one for the product and one for the services—instead of charging her a single, lump sum. Your prospect can now afford your solution because you have “unbundled” or “unpackaged” it.
Avoid letting the holiday season get in the way of meeting or exceeding your goal. You’ve got to remember that for every factor working against you, there are at least as many in your favor. Happy Hunting!