If you need to close business at the end of the year, you already have a problem. The challenges with “closing business” that you need to make your number at the end of the year are exactly the same challenges you have losing weight fast or getting rich quick: it’s too late, and you don’t have enough time.
But that said, doing nothing isn’t an option. You have to take action and try to close end of year business.
- Identify all opportunities. If you have to close business before the end of the year, the first thing to do is to make sure you have a full accounting of all open, real sales opportunities. Make sure that no stone is left unturned, and that you include even early sales cycle opportunities in your review.
- Verify all opportunities against your sales process. If you are going to move some of these opportunities across the line before the end of the year, you’re going to need to make sure that the stage in which they exist in your sales process is accurate. Inspect each opportunity and make sure that all of the necessary outcomes in each stage have been accomplished. Also make certain that you know–and your salesperson knows–exactly what the next outcome is that will move that opportunity forward.
- Identify prospective clients with a compelling reason to change. Your prospective clients move faster when they have a compelling reason to change. Some of the opportunities in your pipeline may be real, but they may also be opportunities where your prospective client doesn’t have the most compelling reason to change. Without a compelling reason to change, your prospective client won’t feel any urgency to move forward now. Because you have limited time, you need to focus specifically on opportunities that have a compelling reason to change because they are most likely to give you Inc. before the end of the year.
- Ensure that the next action you need to take is on the calendar and that the client has committed. You will have opportunities in your pipeline where the next action has not yet been scheduled. You’ll also have opportunities where the customer has not made a commitment to take that next action. In either case, whether the salesperson hasn’t taken action, or where the prospect hasn’t committed, you need these actions and commitments taken now.
- Explore potential meetings with multiple stakeholders at multiple levels. If the opportunity is real, and the prospective customer has a real compelling reason to change, you can help them move faster, by engaging with different stakeholders at different levels. Make sure that your leadership team has met with their leadership team, and that they are getting what they want and recognize your company’s total commitment to helping them. If their technical team has questions, make sure your technical team is answering their questions. A lot of times stakeholders who you overlook or avoid will do everything in their power to stall your deal. Make sure you take care of them.
- Increase the value of your opportunity. Please note that I did not write to drop your price or offer a special discount. That is what you do when you have no additional value that you can create. Get a small group of smart people together from your team and figure out how to increase the value of the opportunity. What can you add to make the offer more compelling? What can you do to meet some of your prospective clients needs in a way that makes your solution more enticing to them. When you have this list, schedule a meeting with key stakeholders and present your ideas.
- Work backwards from December 31. If you are not in the habit of asking your prospective client what date would be the best “go live” date for them, it’s a little late to start. But, you can lay out the start date of January 1, and you can work backwards to identify all the milestones necessary to make the data a reality for your prospective client. Sometimes showing them the steps can help them to move faster. If you can show them an ROI based on that start date, all the better. It may be compelling.
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Filed under: Sales 3.0