Keep your foot on the gas during the holiday season!
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.
The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is usually filled with shopping, family, and business parties. Many people love the holiday season except for many businesses. During a joyous season, the sales environment can be brutal.
During the holiday's salespeople 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.
Many business owners operate in an 11th month year. They ride out the holiday season and will start back up in the new year.
Some businesses operate in a 12-month year. They keep moving ahead and find lots of challenges with sales during the holiday season.
Then extraordinarily successful businesses operate in a 13th month year. They put the pedal to the metal. They have a solid strategic plan and are executing it between Thanksgiving and New Year’s will get your next year off to a great start.
While many businesses are taking their foot off the gas after Thanksgiving and keeping it off until then next year, beat them by pushing harder on the gas and get set up for success in the next year.
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 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, you must 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 planning process is for keeping you on track and focused during the holidays.
Most importantly, by planning 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.
So, what are you going to do to grow your business during the holiday season?