There are two weeks left until the end of the year. There are also at least two holidays involved in those two weeks. On top of that, the COVID 19 virus is peaking back up in certain areas, and the presidential election is not legally settled. That’s a lot of uncertainty and interruption lined up for the next two weeks.
Some might tell you those are all excuses, and there is potential truth to that, in that it’s easy to throw your hands up in defeat and stop working.
There is also truth in being lucid about conditions and lucid about the selling environment around you, so that your efforts are efficient and not futile.
Across the country, thousands of companies are trying to get that “last push” of productivity out of their sales teams, and hence hundreds of thousands of sales people are trying to pressure clients into buying something, even in the face of the conditions I just mentioned. So, in the spirit of always being a sales coach that tells the truth, because part of my brand is being a brutal truth teller to my clients, here’s my take on late December selling:
1 – If you or your management have left it to the last two weeks of the year to try and make your goal, then I propose to you that the problem happened months ago, when you should have been planning out the rest of the year. Trying to make up a 3 months shortfall in two weeks is as futile as it is idiotic. You’ve set yourself up for frustration.
2 – There are plenty of clients that will buy this time of year. I actually closed two sales this week already. That said, they are buying for their reasons and their timing, and if you are an ethical sales person, you should be selling them for their reasons. “I need to make my year” isn’t a valid reason for a sale from the client’s perspective. December 31st is a totally artificial time metric. So if you or your management are planning some “Christmas last minute pricing deals” in order to cause a sales bump in 2020. I seriously caution you against it. All you will accomplish is to bump some January sales into December, and drop price and hence profitability to do so. That is the definition of short sighted thinking. By all means, go through your client list and identify people who might need to buy in the coming 2 weeks and connect with them. Do NOT dig yourself a 2021 hole in order to salvage 2020.
3 – At some point in 2021 (usually about Groundhog’s day), you are going to realize you are busy and behind on some Tier 2 items. You know, those things that are important, but not urgent. Assuming you have extra hours in the next two weeks because you have limitations on who to prospect, why not invest that time in all the stuff you won’t have time to do in January? You know, stuff like catching up on all expense reports, preparing case studies, refreshing your marketing and prospecting materials, identifying future opportunities, and planning out the following year. Success is where opportunity meets preparedness. This is a great time to get prepared. 3 years ago, this time of year, I went through all my client files and made myself a client “touch-point”doc. I used Linkedin and Facebook to identify birthdays, anniversaries, kid’s birthdays, and other important dates for every one of my client contacts. I put all those dates into my calendar with a reminder two weeks prior, so I had enough time to send a card or message. Looking back, I got close to $50K in sales from conversations that were initiated by those cards and messages. The “thanks, and how are you?” responses directly put money in my pocket. That’s one idea. How many things like that can you do.
4 – Rest and recuperation is important. My 2020 numbers were down. It feels like I had to work twice as hard for every dollar I earned in 2020. I’ve got no paid work lined up for the last two weeks of the year, but I plan on taking full advantage of that to work out more, cook, and do things I enjoy. I’ve got a list of four books I’ve been wanting to read that I am going to knock out before the holidays are done. I’m stocked up on firewood and tea and I’m looking forward to the “me” time. Occasional downtime is a good thing. Enjoy it. Refill the batteries. You’ll be busy again before you know it, because you have an activity plan for 2021 (you have one right?) and you know that activity is what we control and what creates results.
This isn’t a license to not do any work for two weeks. This is a reminder that working smart is much better than just working hard all the time.