Do you want to make sure you end the year on a positive sales note? Are you ready to get a head start on next year?
Here are 4 things you need to do today to ensure your future success:
1. Get Ready to Sell Again
Most of the salespeople I know believe the summer is a hard time of year to reach people and as a result they don’t prospect that much in the summer. If that is the way you think, then what is the day we should begin prospecting again? When is it safe?
On that day we’ll wish we spent these last few lazy August days preparing so we don’t have to lose time during the frantic “back-from-vaca” sales season, which is already in progress beginning in September.
Now is the time to do some research in advance of our next meeting or initial outreach, apart from the obvious activities like checking out the customer’s website or if there were any recent press releases. Let’s learn something new about their industry, their market share, and their competitors so we can connect the dots to determine hot issues, budgets, and timetables.
Come out of this “get ready” stage with a plan to test a customized approach to your market broken down by thinly sliced audience segments. The more segmented and personalized, the better. You will need to get started now to be ready for September meetings.
2. Polish Your Presentations
By this point in the year, you have delivered your standard presentation template enough times to be able to do it in your sleep. But when was the last time you really looked at your own material with a critical eye? Have you seen what the competition is doing?
No? Well, first it's time to give your presentation another look and make adjustments. What reaction are you trying to get from the audience when you present your material? To give yourself better insight, practice delivering the presentation in front of a co-worker or your manager. This way, you're rehearsing before you go live with a real, potentially paying customer.
It would also serve you well to do a little investigative work into what your competitors are doing and how they are positioning their solution.
Take advantage of this time to optimize and practice your presentation. You'll be in good shape before the selling season starts.
3. Get Ready to Defend Yourself
Your competitors are just as determined as you to win more sales. Even if you think you are selling the better solution for your customers and prospects, have you thought about the best way to position your solution against competitors?
Practice answering these questions to give yourself a competitive advantage:
- What is your solution?
- How is your solution different?
- Why would someone choose your solution?
- What is the ROI of your solution?
Can you answer how your offering is different? Better? Better ROI? Can you explain to a customer loyal to your competitor why they should consider your offering? Would you be able to close that deal?
Between now and Labor Day, assume your competitors are practicing answering these very same questions and working on refining their sales “arguments.” To be safe, you should too.
4. Make January Easier on Yourself
So many salespeople work so hard to close out the 4th Quarter that they walk into the first quarter with nothing. It is much easier to get a head start and find January opportunities now than it will be if you wait till December or January.
Right now, many customers are set or getting set for the remainder of 2016. But, the opportunity to look at something new in the new year is smart for the savvy customer and easy to agree to.
Start reaching out now asking people about 2017 – you will have much more pleasant conversations because they will not be rushed like 2016 conversations will be. In January, you will be glad you began that long process of finding those savvy customers in August.