I was reading the local paper this morning, and there was a headline that read “Stock Market Soars to Record Close to Kick off the Fourth Quarter.” This made me think about the fact that we are now in the last 3 months of the year, and it’s make or break for us in the sales community! Yes, the final push is ON. Are you positioned now to close the business and beat your plan? In my last newsletter, I asked the sales community “Where will you be on the last day of the year? Relaxing or standing a lonely vigil at the fax, waiting for the final orders to come in?”
There are some basic things we need to be doing now to accelerate and close business as we begin the final countdown to December 31st!
- Are you quarterbacking your sales campaign communicating with your entire team, virtual and local, about what you expect to close and where you need their support and help? Be careful not to demand – ask. Now is the time to raise our game as a sales community by demonstrating strong sales leadership.
- Make sure you ASK for the ORDER often! I have said this many times, and it remains a passionate point. Doing everything right but not asking for the order is a mistake I often see. You have earned the right to the business – go and CLOSE IT! Is this obvious? Yes. Does it happen every day? Yes!
- Are all of the contracts you need signed, approved, and in place? Have you negotiated the terms and conditions to a win-win situation for you and your clients? If there is still ambiguity, you will have a harder time getting ink on the contract. Is your legal department ready to handle last-minute changes?
- Do you have the agreement from the correct stakeholders that your solution is the right on for them and it works? Now is the time to make sure you are working with the right people! I have seen far too many deals go south at the last moment because the decision-maker was not involved.
- If you’re in a position where your product or service has to be delivered prior to year-end, have you alerted the appropriate members of your virtual team?
- Do you have enough business in your pipeline at the final stages to close to get ahead of plan? Are you relying on one big deal or is your success based on numerous deals?
- Are you reviewing your pipeline with your management to get input and other ideas to guarantee a strong close? I have seen salespeople afraid to talk to the boss at this point because there is some fear that a deal might be seen as not as strong…. HINT – as a long-time sales manager, I would rather my reps come forward now and seek help then wind up with a non-close!
- People generally want to see you succeed, so USE them! Make your virtual team work for you…. Can you ask your CEO or VP to make a high-level call to reinforce the solution and the relationship with the account?
The best sales professionals are doing this activity and are all lined up to close the business! Great sales professionals are not caught by surprise!
Finally, as great sales professionals, we are also doing one more thing.…We are prospecting and filling the pipeline every day to make sure that our Q1, 2008 is awesome and get off to a great start!
Good Selling and Closing!
PS – if you have not gotten your copy of my recent white paper “Understanding Successful Sales Performance: The Sales Success Triad” take a moment and get it now!