The tendency this time of year is to stop selling. You’ve heard every excuse.
I can’t reach anyone.
Budgets are already spent.
And I’m sure a myriad of others. It’s also easy to get sucked into the holiday hustle and bustle so much that you don’t have time to sell.
Maybe your salespeople’s excuses for the deals they can’t close is that everyone is waiting until January. Or they are asking to drop the price to get the deals closed.
I hope not. I hope you have a rock star team that is working hard to get their deals closed because that is what is best for the customer. I hope your team is prospecting like crazy each day to get their first-quarter set.
In my experience, this is a great time of year to sell! In fact, while it may not be a great time to close deals, there’s a lot of other selling work that can be done this time of year. Filling your sales funnel and moving any of your deals closer to closing is selling. Get your team focused on that.
This is the time of year to work on building relationships that will lead to sales. It’s a great time to connect with customers to make sure they’re happy, identify their needs, and ask for referrals. And don’t forget to connect with your prospects who are interested in moving forward. And finally, reach out to some people who might have some referrals.
Most likely you have already set your sales goals for next year, so jump-start your team by having them do the following prospecting activities to fill your sales funnel.
1. Make calls
Not necessarily to sell but to learn and build or strengthen a relationship. Make a list of current customers you haven’t talked to for a while and give them a call. Maybe you will get voicemail, but that’s a great chance to leave an enthusiastic message. To prepare, for either scenario:
- Write out the questions you will ask if you get your client on the phone.
- Write out the voicemail you will leave.
2. Spend time on LinkedIn
Your clients may not answer their phones or make time to meet with you, but they might have a conversation with you on LinkedIn. Here are some ways that your salespeople can use LinkedIn to fill your funnel:
- Find all of your clients and prospects on LinkedIn.
- Connect with them by sending them a personal greeting.
- Follow their company and like their activity and/or comment on their posts.
- Send them a note or an article you find interesting.
- Introduce them to others on LinkedIn they need to know.
3. Read industry news and pass it on
Encourage your salespeople to use this time to catch up on what’s happening in the industry. Reading industry-related journals and blogs can prove to be very effective. Not only will they stay up to date and learn new things, but they now have a reason to connect with clients and prospects. Don’t forget, when they find an article a customer would be interested in, they can email it or send it through LinkedIn.
4. Take advantage of networking events
There are tons of holiday networking events. Your team can’t go to everything, but make a list and choose the ones where your clients and prospects will most likely be. Use the time to say hello to them and then meet someone new. Make sure they follow up with an email, a handwritten note, or a LinkedIn request.
5. Give a referral and get a referral
There’s no better way to build a relationship than by sending a good referral. I am always on the lookout for people I should connect for collaboration or refer to use someone’s services. People love to get a good referral, and even if they don’t end up doing business with them, they appreciate your effort and trust in them. Our society is one of reciprocity: if I give you a referral, you will try to give me one. Making calls to ask for referrals is another form of relationship building. If your customers are satisfied or better yet, loyal, they are happy to give referrals when asked. Make it easy for them to introduce you to those who might need your services. Once again, use LinkedIn to help them connect you.
6. Be happy
People are attracted to happy people. Many people get grouchy around the holidays or even depressed. Check your attitude. Make sure you are doing things to help you feel great.
- Eat right
- Get plenty of sleep
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Give one compliment each day to someone you know. You can do this in person, by phone, email, on LinkedIn, or by a handwritten note.
Make sure you have a peak performance mindset!