Don’t stop working during the holidays!
The Holiday Season is upon us and for sales professionals and sales managers this time of year adds special challenges for maintaining focus on sales productivity.
Being an entrepreneur has lots of challenges between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day — the familiar music, parties, seeing old friends, and spending time with family. In the midst of a joyous season the sales environment can be brutal.
Don't Fall Into the Holiday Season Down-time
During the holiday’s salespeople and business owners struggle to maintain activity targets while prospects and customers routinely put off decisions until the New Year. The good news is, despite the challenges, you can take control, maintain your focus, and still close deals. The key is in staying true to the fundamentals of selling and maintaining self-discipline combined with a sprinkle of creativity.
One of the hardest things about selling during the holiday season is getting customers to act on buying decisions. They say they just want to wait until the New Year to make any decisions. To them it makes logical sense to wait. Far too many salespeople willingly accept this excuse as logical too. However, if you've been around selling long enough you know, by the time you get to January, most of these deals will be cold.
To have any chance of closing these deals you have to strike while the iron is hot. You cannot allow emotions to wane. So, during this time of year you have to give your prospects and customers a more compelling reason to make a decision now than to wait until later. This means getting creative with your offer, price, value added services, or signing bonuses. You may have to give up more to get the deal done than during other times of the year.
In sales, like it or not, activity is everything. If you are not prospecting, questioning, presenting, and closing you will fail — no matter what time of year it is. Of course with all of the wonderful (and not so wonderful) distractions of the holidays, it can be easy to slack-off, let your self-discipline slip move away from your normal daily routine.
This Slip has Two Consequences
In the short-term it hurts your closing ratio during the month of December. In the long-term it impacts your sales pipeline during January, February, and March which can have a major impact on your future income.
To keep this from happening to you, it is critical that you sit down with your daily planner right now and ensure that you have your calendar blocked properly for daily prospecting and lead generation, as well as information gathering, presentations, demos, and closing meetings. Take into account all of your holiday activities and build them into your planner. You may have to do some workarounds, but the key here is to get everything planned out in advance. To stay on track set daily activity targets and commit to reviewing those targets each morning and afternoon. You will be amazed at how powerful this forward planning process is for keeping you on track and focused during the holidays.
Most importantly, by planning in advance and developing creative ways to close more business, you will find that you feel less stress, cash bigger commission checks, and have plenty of time to enjoy the holidays with the ones you care about the most.
One thing I cannot stress enough is to be open as much as possible during the holiday season and answer your phone. Just that alone will separate you from the rest of the pack. Keep moving forward, do not take the season off and your business will benefit in the first quarter of next year.