Forget the Holiday Shopping Countdown, we need to be concerned with the Year End Selling Countdown!
As the end of the year approaches, companies focus on implementation deadlines and expiring budgets, and sales people focus on making their annual quotas and earning their year end bonuses. When you look at a calendar and start counting, there are only about 30 selling days left in the year to accomplish this.
As such, as a sales person, you need to know where to focus your time and efforts. You need to ensure that you know the timing of the sale for each company on your hot prospect list. Essentially, you must separate what will close now, and what will close in 2010. Ask your prospects if they are planning to implement the solution now, or in the New Year. If they tell you it’s not going to happen until the New Year, put it in your follow up file for 2010 and move on. If they tell you it’s now, however, you should focus on nothing else other than what it takes to complete that sale.
If the customer needs to see an equipment demonstration, phone them today and schedule the demonstration. If you must revise your quotation, calculate your new pricing immediately, and present it to the prospect tomorrow. If the prospect asked you a specification question, find the answer. Review each company on your hot prospect list, realistically determine the next step to the sale, and then complete it as quickly as possible.
It is also critical to remember that the time to implement your solution affects your year end results. For example, if your product has a two week delivery time frame, and your customer wants to up and running before December 15, you need to get your contracts signed by December 1. Does your prospect know this? If he doesn’t you need to tell him.
It’s typical in sales to have an increased sense of urgency when it gets close to the end of the selling cycle. On the last day of the month, we all get that “whatever it takes” mentality. This takes on a whole new meaning at the end of the year. November and December should be treated as one long month. You must continually ask yourself, “Is this going to happen before the end of the year, and if so, what can I do to move this sale forward today?” If the answer is yes, something can be done, do it now.
Remember, with the holiday season, business virtually shuts down around December 22, not on December 31. Each day between now and then should be considered “the last day of the month”. Now focus, and go out and finish your year off strong!