Every year thousands of salespeople spend the end of the year in a frantic push to reach their quota and or satisfy the demands of management to hit a specific number. I am not suggesting that this is necessarily a bad approach to increasing sales, but there may be a less stressful and more successful way to approach this challenge that I would recommend you consider in future years, if it is too late for this year.
Granted, many prospects and clients wait until the end of the year to see if they have available budget to purchase or commit to purchasing your products or services. I understand this philosophy. Others many just procrastinate, waiting for lightning to strike before they can make the decision to proceed with an order. There are hundreds of reasons for waiting and only one reason for doing anything now. It makes sense because there is a need, a desire or a sense of urgency to get a problem solved or the ability to take advantage of a business opportunity that may slip by if action is not taken. Either way it is incumbent on the part of the salesperson to discover or create this sense of urgency – the real problem or need.
Too many salespeople deal in superficial reasons, wants, needs given to them by prospects and therefore never really get to the heart of the pain or ultimate real need of the prospect or client. I know, I have been there many times. It takes skill, confidence, courage and often the willingness to walk away from some business in order to be willing to peel away the layers of excuses, lies, and stalls that can cause potential business to be delayed weeks even months and sometimes years.
There is only one way in which I know to do this and that is with – tough, yet relevant questions.
Sure, there will always be a certain percentage of business that will wait until the last day of December. My question is however, are you relying on this business as a large percentage of your yearly quota? If you are, you are setting yourself up for frustration, disappointment, increased stress and even possible failure if this is your approach.
A better way, is to look at each month of your year as a one twelfth portion of your year. In other words when April is over, any missed sales that were needed to hit your number for the year are gone, forever. You don’t get the chance to make up for a shortfall in April in December. Each month is a mini year. With this attitude you will tend to keep the urgency to maintain your sales volume and results spread equally over a 12 month period. Your year is like a rotating year. At the end of each month you begin a new 12 month cycle. In essence each month is the last month of your year.
This attitude and strategy will not guarantee that some business just needs more gestation time before a customer will buy, but it will tend to reduce the pressure and stress of what I call the “4th Quarter Blues”. It is better to spread this anxiety out over a twelve month time frame than shove it all into the last 30 or 60s in the year. Most people can handle stress, anxiety and disappointment in small doses. But, few people can effectively handle large amounts of this stuff condensed into a small fragment of time. The holidays are stressful enough for many people, why add to the personal stress with increased business stress.
The end of the year holidays should be enjoyed and not dreaded because of the pressure you are feeling at work.