October 24th, 2016
Sprint to the Finish—–It’s that time of year…
by Ken Thoreson
An upcoming election . . . Roller-coaster days on Wall Street . . . Middle East issues . . . Competitors taking what appears to be drastic measures . . . There are many distractions.
With that economic domino effect affecting us all as 2016 begins to wind down, ending the year on a high note will be more challenging than ever. Here are some ideas and strategies for you to consider:
Keep it in perspective. Focus on your technology-based products and services – it is the best place to be in challenging economic times. You sell what is especially in demand by your customers right now – solutions that can increase efficiency, cut costs and enhance customer relationships.
- Stay optimistic. Remember that clients and prospects are seeking help and you’re in a position to both reassure and assist them.
- Work harder. (Sorry, but that’s what’s needed.) Try to stretch yourself both in terms of attracting new customers and better serving existing ones. Sell professionally; execute brilliantly.
Meanwhile, the standard end-of-year scenario still applies. As always, this is when accelerated compensation programs kick in. More importantly, it’s when many management bonus systems take effect, rewarding executives for driving certain levels of pretax income to the bottom line or attaining their revenue targets. And it’s no wonder that, just like every year at this time, sales teams feel like they’re in the last 100 yards of a big race.
Here are 5 sales strategies to help you stay out in front as you approach the 2016 finish line:
- Count the days. In the same way that consumers track holiday shopping days, know how long you’ve got left to sell this year. Doing the countdown adds urgency to the process for you and your prospects. (Hint: How can you use one more hour a day to boost business? “One more call before I break for lunch; one more call before I leave for the day.” That’s two additional calls per day, 5 days per week, number of days – you do the math!)
- Leverage all your resources. Can you turn to colleagues to strategize about opportunities and develop winning tactics? How about conducting site visits? Can an existing client, vendor contact, or strategic partner help create credibility with prospects?
- Plot-closing strategies. Focus on why prospects need your solution and exactly how they’ll benefit from implementing it, whether it’s generating revenues, improving productivity or better serving customers. Then develop a reason for them to act now. You may have a sense of urgency driven by end-of-year deadlines for quotas or bonuses, but you need to show prospects how moving forward at this point will benefit them.
- Make contact twice weekly. Never let a week slip by between meetings with prospects. If you see them on Tuesday, see them again on Thursday. Stop by at a convenient time-but always have a valuable reason to visit, such as providing an implementation plan or a reference letter.
- Keep prospecting. Sales organizations often drain their pipelines by the end of December. January may be strong with leftover business, but February, March and April typically lag. It’s important to ensure that marketing and prospecting levels remain constantly focused on future pipeline development. Now is the time to develop your Prospecting Parthenon for the first half of next year.
One last tip for coping with today’s economy:
In the downturn following the 2008 market collapse, I developed a short personal motto that successfully reinforced the need to keep moving forward. It was: “Take action. Stay positive.” I suggest that you develop a similar slogan to help you close out 2016 with a strong finish and begin 2017 with consistent sales results. Having a strong foundation can make all the difference in how you end the year and position yourself for 2017.
Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.
He was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!
Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.