Maintaining focus during the holiday season can be tough. Between travel, visitors, and time out of the office, your normal schedule and routines are off -- and there’s a good chance your prospects’ are too.
But even though December isn’t business as usual, you can’t stop selling. You’re still responsible for meeting quota. Letting your pipeline suffer this month will definitely have a negative impact on your results next year.
If you need a little motivation, rally yourself with these four reminders.
1) It’s the Perfect Opportunity to Improve
You might be tempted to write this time off if most of your prospects are away or heads down in “work mode” and unwilling to engage.
But don’t lose your motivation -- it’s the ideal time to improve your skills. Since you’re not connecting with many people, the stakes are low. You’ll also be setting yourself up for a great January.
First, choose an action or part of the sales process you’d like to get better at. For instance, maybe you ask too many surface-level questions during discovery and want to practice probing deeper.
Next, set a related goal. You could commit to asking three or more challenging questions during every discovery call you make, or delving into at least two general responses your prospect gives.
Once you have a clear objective that’s dependent on you, not your prospects, you’ll be far more motivated to keep trying.
2) The Likelihood You’ll Reach the Decision Maker Is Higher Than Normal
To connect with decision makers, sales experts suggest calling early in the morning or at night. Executives and senior leaders are hard to access during normal business hours -- assistant or more junior employees typically take your call instead.
But the logic goes, at 8 p.m. the CEO might be the only one in the office to pick up the phone.
The same principle applies to the holiday season. While many people are away, those at the top of the ladder may stick around or come in to get some work done while it’s quiet.
Keep this in mind next time you start dialing. You could get sent to voicemail, but there’s also the chance you’ll reach the economic buyer.
3) A Competition With Yourself Will Spur You On
If you thrive on a little competition, try competing with your former self. How much did you sell during this period last year? Challenge yourself to beat that number.
Since you’re facing the same seasonal conditions as before, this game is more fair than holding yourself to your results last month or quarter.
You can involve your team members as well by having them try to exceed their own previous performance. Whoever surpasses their past results by the biggest margin wins.
Because everyone’s technically competing against themselves rather than each other, you get the excitement of a traditional competition without the potential bad blood.
4) You Can Capitalize On “Use It Or Lose It” Budgets
While some of your prospects have already exhausted their budgets for the year, others will be looking around to spend their remaining funding. Many departments have “use it or lose it” policies: Unspent money disappears rather than rolling over to next year’s budget.
In addition, companies often review last year’s spend to figure out how much to allocate for the coming year. Suppose a senior manager only uses $600,000 of her $700,000 budget in 2016. She’ll probably get $600,000 in 2017.
That manager will probably jump at the chance to spend her remaining $100,000 on a valuable solution while securing her budget for next year.
The best way to figure out if your prospect has budget left? Ask.
You might say, “We’re coming to the end of December, and I know companies like [prospect’s company] usually have lapsing budgets. What’s your current budget situation?”
If your price far exceeds their budget -- and a discount isn’t feasible -- there are two potential workarounds.
First, you could bill them for a portion of the cost now and the remainder next year. Second, you could investigate how their budget works. Maybe the buyer has a set amount dedicated to hardware purchases and a separate amount for maintenance and repairs. Instead of charging her one flat price, you might send one contract for your product and another for your service fees. Now that you’ve unbundled or unpackaged your solution, your prospect can fit it into the budget.
Don’t let the holidays interfere with your ability to hit -- or even crush -- your quota. There may be some factors playing against you, but there’s an equal number working in your favor.
Originally published Dec 19, 2016 6:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017