As we head into December, closing out another calendar year, many salespeople and sales managers are strategizing how to push some of those final deals across the finish line, how to navigate the inevitable “customer” hide and seek that the Holidays bring, and how to get ready to get ready to get their 2019 goals in line. The reality for many salespeople in many industries is that they are already at (or near the END) of Q1 2019! Here are three reasons that this is the case:
Your prospects/customers are already looking into 2019 and planning out their needs.
The markets into which you sell have buyers that are looking into their strategic business needs for the year and budgeting to meet those needs. Those needs may be based on based upon growth or expansion plans, employee additions, equipment upgrades, or changes in their business structure or direction. Committees are already being formed, responsibilities are being assigned, and decision makers and influencers are getting in line. Have you had some of these conversations with your key prospects and key accounts? Do you understand “where they are going” and how you might be invited to help them get there?
How many times in 2017-2018 did you get to the dance too late? How many times did you find out too late that prospects and clients had needs that were being met or projects that were being proposed by your competitors; needs or projects that you and your company are better suited to handle?
Your pipeline is anemic and your main focus is trying to close what’s in it instead of filling it.
You’ve heard it for years; The #1 sales strategy is a FULL PIPELINE of opportunities! You know a full pipeline is the catalyst for your success in conversion rates, margins, and all negotiations! You KNOW that success breeds success! You look, feel and even smell different when you are working many opportunities and it seems that there are many options right behind those! However, it seems to be a common issue that faces salespeople and sales organizations every year and, for many, at the end of quarter. I know you want and need to “hit your numbers” While it is important to passionately and professionally FOLLOW-THROUGH on everything that is currently in your opportunity pipeline, you need to schedule the time to continue to fill it for the next 6 months. Pipeline filling is even more important than pipeline management! Get on the phone or in the field and load up your pipeline for 2019 NOW!
You have had too much of a transactional relationshipwith your clients for the past year.
Don’t you wish that your conversations were deeper with your customer base? Don’t you wish that they discussed upcoming projects more openly with you? Don’t you wish that they shared with you what their goals were for the upcoming year? If you are only there for your customers and clients when there is a sale/commission to make, would you really consider yourself a partner worthy of these conversations? OK…let me ask you a final question: Whose job do you think it is to “tee-up” these conversations? Consider the term Business Reviewfor a moment.
What if you could invite your Top Five Customers/Clients to sit down with you within the next 2-3 weeks (yes, that soon, if not sooner) to discuss their plans, their goals, and their concerns for the upcoming year? Wouldn’t this be a fantastic time to dig in and learn where they are heading and what they are hoping to accomplish? Wouldn’t it be a perfect time to express your gratitude for their trust and business over the past year? What could you uncover? What could you learn? How might your position yourself as a partner vs. a vendor?
Instead of “riding out the year” or just grinding out the final deals of the year that are currently in your pipeline, start scheduling time to strategically set up your New Year now!