For sales organizations, the holiday season and the New Year represent a triple witching hour – it’s the end of the month, the quarter and the year. That means a lot of little sales elves focused on deal closing, aligning with available year-end budgets. That’s good. Finish strong.
At the same time, many sales and marketing organizations look at schedules and pull back the reigns on prospecting activity. The rationale? Prospects aren’t focused on new business; they’re trying to wrap up end of year activities, close existing business opportunities. It’s hard enough to get their attention – impossible this time of year.
Why does this conventional wisdom miss the mark and the opportunities? What we should be doing now to drive success for 2015?
Now is the time to create your foundation for next year’s success. Our prospects are making their plans and creating their budgets for 2015 – let’s get factored into that dialog now. They’re primed and motivated to make well-considered decisions as they craft their plans, and more than ready to talk.
Want some proof? Over the past 12 years, we have continuously outperformed expectations on setting appointments over the Thanksgiving holiday and then in December and January – and, our top 10 days ever fall right into this category.
- Probably most importantly – do it. While most companies deploy the “not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse” approach; prospecting at full throttle in December differentiates you from the competition.
- Leverage the holiday spirit. It’s better to ask for something from someone in good spirits than bad. As folks are winding down their budget and planning lists, you have an opportunity to help them “check those lists twice” by discussing execution and effectiveness.
- Built in objection handling. With many colleagues leaving for the holidays, distractions are minimized. It gives your prospects time to speak with you. Always ask for time during the holidays. And, if they are leaving for vacation, schedule a specific time for a 20-30 minute meeting on Tuesday afternoon at 2pm or Wednesday morning at 10am when they return.
- What are your goals for next year? Finishing strong is a great idea and helps rally the troops, but starting strong even before the race begins is the greatest motivator to overachieving. Imagine the “visions of sugar plums” having a pipeline filled with enough opportunities midway through Q1 to meet your annual sales goals.
- Finally, do not forget the value of your request. While your prospects’ heads are spinning like a dreidel from contracts and year-end deal closing requests, you reach out not to sell something today, but schedule time to discuss their plans and objectives.
In considering your resources and allocation of effort, never lose the chance to close that last deal or secure that additional revenue, but please take advantage of the opportunity to make next year not only better, but also easier. When everyone else pulls back on the prospecting reigns, think about Seinfeld’s 1997 “Festivus for the rest of us”, and climb that pole to success.
To learn more about prospecting best practices – download our “Prospecting Best Practices” eBook. Prospect smarter not harder. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.