For most sales professionals the autumn season signals the beginning of the end of your sales year. Even if your fiscal year does not follow the calendar year, when you add in the holiday season and new year celebrations to the mix you have a double whammy that often brings sales to a slow crawl across the December finish line. Below are ten things I often share with my sales coaching and sales training clients this time of year. I hope these ideas will encourage you to keep your energy high and your sales rolling forward despite the looming “fall factors of sales failure”.
Idea #1: Don’t believe the crowd.
No one makes decisions this time of year. Lie. Let other sales people continue to think this. In my sales training programs, I teach that most decisions to buy are made months before a deal is signed. If your sales process is to meet a new client and introduce your product or service and get a signed deal after the first meeting you are already doomed. Instant sales are rare. Learn from this error. Use this time of year to sell hard so that when the clients new budget is approved in the next fiscal year you have the sale primed. DO NOT wait until a budget is approved to start the sales cycle.
Another thing to consider is the simple “use it or lose it” budget scenario. I have at least three clients that spend money before Dec 31 so that they do not lose the money in their next budget year. The “use it or lose it” money management plan is alive and well in most companies.
Idea #2: Look to expand your client relationships.
This is a great time of year for “meet and greet” or “lunch and learn” type meetings. As a sales coach, I call these non-sales meetings or educational meetings. Take advantage of the holiday spirit and plan meetings to drive knowledge and to build relationships with new and existing clients.
Idea #3: Do not stop prospecting.
Because many salespeople feel that the fall is a “dead zone” they stop prospecting. Do not fall into this trap. While other sales professionals fall dormant, you should drive up your phone call and email volume. This will give you a leg up on the competition. From a sales training perspective, this needs to be a part of your daily routine. Never stop prospecting.
Idea #4: Reignite the fire in what you are selling.
As the days get shorter so do our attention spans. Also, the gray skies as you drive to work are less than inspirational. The way you feel about your product affects the way you sell your product. This can cause you to sound and act lethargic. As a sales coach, I often ask my clients this question… “Go back in time and tell what excited you about your job when you first started?” Then I ask, “Go back and think about what got you excited to sell this product when you first started?” I might also suggest that you listen to upbeat music on the drive to work. Change your screensaver or desktop image to something positive or fun. Find that love you once had and reignite the sales flame.
Idea #5: Clean up your CRM tools.
Really? Sounds like a bummer! Just do it! In my sales training workshops, I am amazed at how out of date many CRM tools are as we dig deep on client issues. Having your data in good working order is so important as you strive to be the best salesperson in the land. Delete dead accounts. Trade accounts with others. Update outdated accounts. Do some CRM housekeeping.
Idea #6: Dig deep on your personal professional development.
Use some of your down time to read a good sales book or a great personal development book. There are lists of great books online everywhere.
Watch inspiring videos online about sales or management. In general, dig deep in boosting your personal growth plan. Maybe you need to create your personal growth plan. Perhaps you need to hire a sales coach or enroll in a sales training program. (Hint. Wink. Blatant promotional plug. Lol.)
Idea #7: Run reports to identify clients that you may be overlooking.
Within any quality CRM, you should be able to run a report that shows who dropped off your radar this past year. I am amazed at the number of clients that I miss each year. I often pull this report each quarter to stay on top of things as well.
Idea #8: Prepare year-end client impact reports.
Each year you help your clients accomplish something. Identify what that is and put it into a colorful report. This is called proof of performance.
Idea #9: Plan out your 2017 wish list.
Who will be on your “Top 10” list for next year? Create this list. Research the clients on this list. Place their names on a whiteboard that you can see every day. Develop a sales marketing plan for each client on this list.
Idea #10: Look for ways to inspire others around you.
Most people look for others to inspire them. How about you looking for ways to inspire others? From offering to help create a colleagues 2017 wish list to taking the time to help a fellow sales pro clean up their CRM to taking someone out for a special lunch, look for ways to inspire others around you.
Autumn is a weird time of year for sales people around the world. If you let the gray skies and holiday madness rule your sales life, you are setting yourself up for a flat start to the New Year.
As a sales coach, I love this time of year. I get really busy. Need some inspiration on any of the above ideas? If so, reach out to myself or my team for help. Sales coaching is a great way to help inspire you to dig deep and find the quality results you have been seeking.