Close Out 2017 Strong: 4 Strategies to Conquer End-of-Year Sales Hurdles

How to Meet (or Beat) your December Sales Goals

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With the end of the year coming up fast, everybody gets a little frantic. Whether they're hustling to spend the last of their annual budget, fretting about the endless family visits and company dinners, or — in your case — working to meet sales goals despite an array of "out of the office" emails, it seems like there's never enough time. But if you follow these four strategies, you'll see that there is more than enough time to meet — and maybe even beat — your sales goals by the end of the year.

Plan for Other People's Vacations

December is no ordinary month, so don't schedule as if it were. Instead, decide when you must have the final contracts signed and in hand, then count backward from there to start mapping your step-by-step, time-specific outreach plan. If you leave things until the very end of the month, you're very likely to be shunted into Q1 2018 — if your contacts are even in the office to do the shunting.

Don't be shy about reaching out to contacts to find out what their holiday schedule is like and how you can best work around it, or what it'll take to make deals happen before the end of the year. After all, your time and personal touch just might take a little holiday pressure off them, too.

Finally, don't forget that your fellow staffers are busy, too — so build extra turnaround time for every in-house department into your plan.

Prioritize Your Outreach

Now is not the time to chase prospects that have eluded you all year long. Instead, rank your prospects in order of how likely they are to close by your deadline and how big a buy you can expect. Then focus on only the handful of biggest prospects that are likely to close soon.

This is also the perfect time to follow up on any "let's do this later" sales still hanging from earlier in the year, call existing clients and ask if they have money to spend now on next year's priorities, ask if they know anybody who needs help spending their year-end budget, or upsell existing customers — all sales that should take less time and be more likely to close than starting from scratch.

Provide an Incentive When Possible

Providing year-end incentives is a great way to get customers to buy now. That can mean anything from end-of-year discounts for people who might otherwise buy in January, to making charity donations in their name, or selling solutions that will let them start addressing their first quarter pain points right now. Just make sure it's clear that any year-end deals are exactly that — good only until the deadline you set for end-of-year sales.

Plan for Your Next Steps

No matter how sales technology evolves, the most critical element of making the sale will always be keeping the momentum going until the deal feels inevitable for everybody involved. You create that momentum by always leaving each communication with a clearly defined, time-limited next step on the calendar.

Getting that next step nailed down — and making sure the client understands the reasoning behind it — is one of the best ways to keep a deal from falling through the cracks that always develop in a chaotic holiday schedule.

Don't Panic. You Can Do This!

There's no getting around it; negotiating everybody's varied December schedules can be challenging. But as long as you keep your mind in the game, it's also an opportunity to excel. When you think in terms of capitalizing on and strengthening your existing relationships, you can crush those sales goals and lay the groundwork for a successful first quarter in the coming year.

Sources: 1,2,3,4