Tis the season! December represents a natural slowdown in the pace of business as people begin to embrace the holiday spirit. Top producers know this also represents an opportunity to prepare for a big jump start for the new year. How do top producers use the month of December to jump start 2013? Here are 4 keys to consider as you work to improve your sales skills.
Invest In The Customer: This is the time of year to make deposits into the relationships with key client partners. The best sellers I know do this by investing time with the customers that matter most. I’d also strongly recommend the investment go beyond yule tide cheer and provide some real business value. I know top producers who spend this month advising customers on 2013 strategy, budget allocation and big decisions. If you aren’t being invited into those conversations you are missing out. Another opportunity is to develop deeper insight into the evolution of the customer business. What does success look like in partnership in 2013? Are you aligned? What else does the customer want, need and expect? What can you deliver that the customer hadn’t considered? It’s important you are asking those questions this month and not your competition. I’d also suggest investing a bit of time into the internal relationships that make sales success possible. This is the perfect time of year to thank internal stakeholders and align expectations for 2013.
January Calendar Confirmations: Spend the entire month booking your appointment calendar for January. Having January set going into the holiday provides the opportunity to create sales momentum out of the gate. Prospects and customers might not want to meet with you now, but will be inclined to connect in the New Year. Don’t leave that as a follow up to do in January – confirm now. My first event in 2013 is January 4th and we already have the month completely booked. A big difference from the way we started 2012. Lesson learned. Getting the new year off to a great start is critical.
2012 Auditing – Did you crush the 2012 sales quota? Either way it’s worth considering what worked and what didn’t? Where have you been investing time that isn’t providing a good return? Go back through your calendar the last 12 months and conduct an audit and I believe you’ll gain some new perspective around your own productivity. It is also a great time of year to consider your marketplace at large: Why are people buying from your competition? What skills and information would enhance your ability to compete? What changes are you committed to making to ensure that twelve months from today you’ll be way ahead of the performance target? This is the month to lock down the 2013 Go To Market Plan.
Sales Organization: Clean up the office, finish those expense reports, empty the in box, organize your presentation files, and resolve to start the New Year with a strong foundation for success. I hate doing this kind of administrative work but I know it needs to be done and always feel better when I check those boxes off the to do list. I’ll also be evaluating new tools, techniques and technology to make our sales operations more efficient for 2013. There has to be an app for that.
The next 3 weeks will be the busiest of the year in my business. I am looking very forward to the R&R ahead, but I also know from experience that it feels a lot better to roll into the holidays prepared to launch 2013 in a BIG way! There is still plenty of time to set to set the table to get January started right. Make December count!
Ryan Estis is a Keynote Speaker & Management Consultant blogging about business performance.