Did you ever notice people become more serious at the beginning of September? Gone are the lazy days of summer and in front of us are four important months before year end. I call this the “Back to School Mentality”. I see it as much amongst adults as I do amongst kids. In the corporate world, vacations are finished, meetings that didn’t happen over the summer are now on the calendar and decisions are being made. Why are corporate people more serious during the last four months of the year? Here are a few reasons. Executive decision makers have until year end to make things happen before their reviews. Not only do they need to complete initiatives on their list to get their bonuses and great scores, but also, those looking for promotions must showcase themselves to management. Further, many decision makers have to use their yearly budgets before they lose their yearly budgets. What does this mean for business owners and salespeople? Opportunity!! Below are ideas we’ve found successful in capturing opportunities while helping corporate decision makers achieve their goals.
1. Recommend funding a first quarter initiative using this year’s budget. This is one strategy most of your competitors will completely overlook. Suggest using remaining budget to lock in on an initiative your prospect/client needs to complete during the first quarter of next year. This solidifies the business for you AND your client will appreciate you protecting next year’s budget.
2. Secure Client Meetings Which Intentionally Grow Relationships. Set fall meetings with clients to discuss what you can do to help them during the fourth quarter. Use this opportunity to recommend additional programs as well as ask for referrals to other departments, divisions, parent companies, sister companies, and subsidiaries who have a bucket of money to spend on what you have to sell. If you don’t ask, someone else will!
3. Showcase your clients. Remember, your clients and prospects are people who are working toward personal goals within their companies. If they want to be promoted, the last four months of the year are critical for reminding management of the game changing initiatives they started. Be a hero by helping decision makers “toot their horns” internally for initiatives you worked on together.
4. Resurrect Inactive Clients and “No-Go Proposals”. Check in with clients who have not purchased from you in a while. Situations change and projects come off hold. Be top of mind so you will be there to collect when the money is on the table! Have any of your prospects said “yes” to your competitor instead of you? Are you sure they’re convinced they made good decisions? Those sales can still be yours…but only if you stay in touch!
5. Mark Your Calendar! Make calls after 2pm the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to reach those “hard-to-reach” decision-makers without their assistants answering the phone. Office staff usually goes home at 2pm, leaving your decision-maker at the desk, relaxed and ready for your call! Were you thinking of leaving early that day?
By Caryn Kopp, Chief Door Opener®