There are a few reasons it’s difficult to make your number in December.
Defying the Natural Timeline of Opportunities: When you create an opportunity, there is a certain amount of conversations you need to have with your dream client, and there are certain commitments you need them to make and keep. Let’s assume it takes 6 hours of conversations to move through those commitments in deals that you win and that normally takes 6 different meetings, each meeting with its own specific agenda. Deciding to have 3 meetings of two hours each to cover two outcomes is not the same, and it isn’t likely to compress the natural timeline. Instead, trying to go faster than your dream client works against you, often subtracting from trust, and causing others to try to slow things down.
Pushing Reveals a Self-Orientation: When you push people to push deals because you need the deal, the contacts you are working with can feel the shift in your attention. Because you want—or need—what you want now, your contacts can feel the shift in your intentions. Your language might also betray you, signaling that signing before the end of the year is more important to you than the outcomes you are working towards for your dream client. When you push, the person you are pushing can push back. If what you were doing was for your client’s benefit, it would feel different to them and would move things more quickly.
Attention Shift: In the last month of the year, and especially during that last couple weeks, not much work gets done. People have already shifted their thinking to the following year, with little time left to do anything meaningful in the current year. If you initiative doesn’t have traction going into the year, you are likely to have the opportunity stalled until the third or fourth week of January. The shift of attention doesn’t serve you if your opportunity hasn’t matured and if you haven’t gained the commitments you need to be close enough to sign a contract.
If moving the deal forward in time and agreeing to move forward benefits your client, making the case to do something to create value for them, then the best thing you can do is explain the benefit to your dream clients and ask them to accelerate the conversations to ensure they receive the benefit of moving forward. As difficult as this might be, it’s still more likely to help you than bad salesmanship.
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Filed under: Sales 3.0