7 strategies for closing out the year strong

It’s hard to believe the holidays are already here, and if you’re like many business owners, managers and sellers, you’re either looking back on the year with a high degree of satisfaction and accomplishment, or you might be asking, “Where did the year go?”

How has your year been? Maybe you’re planning one last push for new business this month or maybe you’ve had a terrific year and simply want to coast to the finish line. Whatever your current situation, here are seven tried-and-true strategies for finishing the year strong and positioning yourself for a profitable and productive 2022.

FINE-TUNE YOUR ACCOUNT PLANNING

An account plan isn’t something you create in January and forget about; it’s a living, nimble document that sales teams and managers should consistently update and share collaboratively. Revisit your account plan for your key clients and customers and determine what adjustments, if any, need to be made going forward.

EXECUTE A ‘FINAL PUSH’ STRATEGY

Revisit opportunities from earlier in the year that were lost to reallocated budgets or were otherwise dropped by the customer. Remember, budgets change based on changing clients’ business conditions or, perhaps, funds that may need to be allocated before the end of the year. 

SET ACTIONABLE GOALS

If you’re a sales manager, refrain from telling your team, “We’ve got to finish the year strong!” It’s too ambiguous. Instead, set actionable goals such as increasing company revenue by “X percent” or by closing five new deals. Then, demonstrate how achieving the company’s financial goals will enable your team members to achieve their personal goals. They’ll work harder. (For example, offer bonuses or incentives that are meaningful to them—cash, days off, vacations, merchandise, etc.)

OPTIMIZE YOUR TEAM

Sales managers, make the decision to finally take action on chronic underperformers before the start of the new year. Identify those who either can’t or won’t do the job and make plans to replace them. Even without quality candidates “on deck,” tolerating consistently poor performers sends a negative message throughout your organization. (You never hear sales managers lamenting, “I moved too quickly on releasing Tom.” It’s always the opposite.)

MAKE ‘CLOSE THE FILE’ CALLS

Don’t be afraid to get a “no” from those prospects who are simply stringing you along.  Make a call or send an email and say, “Since I haven’t heard back from you, I get the feeling that you’ve gone in a different direction.” Prospects who have moved on will allow you to close the file. On the other hand, those who simply became distracted will often move forward with a deal after you’ve reconnected with them. Whether you close the file or identify something new that will help you win the deal, you’ve gotten your answer.

PRACTICE STRONG CALL PLANNING

Every sales call, or prospect meeting, should have a clear purpose. As a manager and salesperson, you should always be able to answer this question: “Where am I in this deal and what will it take to progress to the next step?” If the scenario is ambiguous for you, it is for your buyer, too. Clarity is key.

SCHEDULE CLIENT REVIEW MEETINGS

Schedule face-to-face meetings—either before or after the holidays—with customers who present an opportunity for additional business. How satisfied are they with your company? What new products or services could you be providing to them? Use your client knowledge from account planning to identify these situations with the most potential for current business.

Not all these strategies and tactics will be actionable by you and your team at this time. But implementing a few of them now will not only pay immediate dividends but will better enable you to jump-start your business in 2022.

Jim Marshall is owner and president of Sandler Training of Tampa Bay, which provides sales, corporate and management training to high-achieving companies and individuals. Contact him at 813.287.1500 or [email protected].

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