I’ll admit that it’s tempting: the holidays are coming and your thoughts turn to turkey and dressing, tinsel and mistletoe, and kicking back for a fresh start after January 1st. Indeed, many of your sales competitors will take a breather. But while they coast, you might be able to boast of closing deals they ignored. Here’s why the end of the year can be a great time to beat your competition and win sales:
Less Active Competition Means Less Noise
Regardless of the number of days off your prospects or customers have planned during the last month or two of the year, they will still be on the job more so than not. But if your sales competition has gone into hibernation, your prospects have fewer distractions and less noise. In fact, they might just be more relaxed and receptive to your request for a meeting. That means that your sales message has a greater chance of breaking through, being heard, and rising above the fray.
End-of-Year Money Might Be Burning a Hole in Your Prospect’s Pocket
Not only must budgeted corporate funds be spent before the end of the fiscal year (which corresponds to the calendar year in many organizations), if they are not spent, that fact could impact future budget allowances. For these reasons, many companies are eager to spend, spend, spend before December 31st. Even if your product or service isn’t delivered before the end of the year, some companies are eager to pre-pay in order to not sacrifice allocated funds.
Likewise, money often needs to be spent before January 1st for tax purposes. For example, if a company can take tax write-downs for marketing, transportation, operating or other deductible expenses, they’ll want to make sure to get those expenses paid before the end of the year.
It’s Easier to Keep Your Pipeline Hot Than to Heat It Back Up
Think of your sales pipeline as having a water faucet at the end. If you turn off the flow, the water in the pipes will turn cold until you start it flowing again. Keep your pipeline flowing, on the other hand, and you won’t have to stoke the fires come January. Don’t forget that today’s sales activities yield future sales. If your sales activity tapers off significantly late in the year, the comeuppance may hit you in the first quarter of the new year. Can you really afford to take a financial hit in the first few months of the year because you coasted before December 31st?
Your Compensation Plan Should Be Written to Reward Non-Stop Sales Performance
Notice I said, “should be” written to reward continuing sales performance. If you can easily throw away a month or two of sales, then your company’s sales compensation plan should be scrutinized and redone. And when it IS redone (as many comp plans are each year), your reduced efforts and lower results this year may impact your compensation next year. You know how you will be paid this year, so take advantage of your plan.
Your Reputation Depends on Steady, Unwavering Effort
Do you want to be like the football player who looks past an upcoming competitor in order to rest up for the big game? Or do you want to be known as a go-getter who “brings it” every time you step on the field? More than just your compensation is on the line; so is your reputation. And reputations have a way of following you from one employer to another, especially if you plan to continue working within your industry.
The Bottom Line:
It might be tempting to let down your guard and coast through the end of the year, but there are plenty of compelling reasons why this is a big mistake. But it’s not just about potentially losing sales; it’s also about losing out on opportunities to make huge strides in your marketplace. If your competition is coasting, you have a prime opportunity to win market share and make them wish they hadn’t let off the accelerator.