It can be tempting to use your 2017 sales forecast as kindling for roasting chestnuts, but if you haven’t hit your numbers yet, there is still hope.
You might be familiar with the saying, “If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done.” There’s still time to deliver results that will put your projections on the "Nice" list, and they don’t require extra holiday stress - or working around the clock until Ryan Seacrest’s countdown brings us into the new year. Here’s how:
Make an irresistible offer
Don’t be discouraged by customer fatigue or their unwillingness to make a purchase during the waning months of the year. Instead, show your energy – “We’ve had a great year and are working to give an extra sales bump to close it off strong.”
Customers expect price increases in the New Year but need to be explicitly told increases are on the horizon. Indicate to prospects that there will be a 2018 price hike if they wait, but you are extending the option for them to lock in their current pricing by buying now.
As someone I’d love to have as a customer - and to push those 2018 sales into the growth figures for this year - I can lock in the 2017 price for you.
Follow up with emails making it clear that the offer is time-sensitive. Be clear that you won’t be able to honor the offer in the New Year because your invoicing system will remove the special offer after December 31st.
Give a guarantee to the right people
Identify the buying committee and influencers. Since you are working against a tight deadline, be sure you are speaking with the people who are in charge of the budget and decision-making.
Ask who would be signing the contract. If you are not sitting at the table with the buying committee and final decision maker, you might be wasting your time.
Reassure prospects with reasonable exit terms. If they aren’t pleased with the service, consider allowing them to end the contract during a 90 day guarantee period before signing a long-term contract.
Keep your team productive and focused (no egg nog needed)
It’s easy for a team to fall into a Thanksgiving dinner induced coma that lasts until the New Year. Keep your team motivated and productive by empowering them with the vision and encouragement to support your holiday sales efforts.
Express the importance of the end of the year. It’s not just about December sales because January’s sales momentum will reflect your efforts as well.
If you rely on bank loans or investment funding, your 2018 will depend on solid 2017 numbers. An uptick at the end of the year gives you a strong story to share with banks and new investors.
Encourage employees to take their planned vacation time, but make sure clients are still being serviced and new ones are being cultivated. Create open communication so team members can voice concerns about customer service gaps. You’ll need their insight to keep support strong and clients happy while some team members are on vacation.
Make the office a positive and productive place at the end of the year by showing appreciation and recognizing the stress of the season by providing an in-office meal or bringing in a masseuse.
Consider offering flexible hours to cut down on multiple days off and create even stronger commitment from your employees as they work to live up to your goodwill and trust.
Make 2018 your best year yet
What happens January 1st? That’s when we shift focus and remember that momentum in Q1 will make next December your best year-end yet.
The end of the year is a great time to set early New Year’s resolutions. Make a commitment to regularly assess progress throughout the year. Figure out what worked - and what could be even better - and get that information into the hands and minds of your people. When December approaches, your projections will be within reach, if not already achieved.
Your best month of sales could happen right now and your best year ever could be right around the corner. Wishing a happy holiday season to you and your bottom line.