As we enter the final month of the year, you may find yourself assessing what went well (or perhaps not so well) in your business over the past eleven months. You may have had a great year and decided to take your foot off the accelerator for the rest of the month or you’re engaging in that last push to hit your projections for year-end bonuses and rewards.
Either way, it’s natural to think that, with the holidays upon us, there’s not much you can do to generate new opportunities and have a meaningful impact on your company’s bottom line. But, as a wise old college football commentator on TV is fond of saying: “Not so fast, my friend!”
Here are five end-of-year strategies that you can implement to finish the year strong and set yourself up for success after the calendar flips to 2024:
Focus on Existing Clients and Customers
Prioritize the relationships you have with existing customers by exploring additional year-end promotions or incentives, budgets that need to be spent and planning on first-quarter business. Of course, you’ll want to take the opportunity to express appreciation for their business but it’s also a great time to conduct client and customer review meetings. How satisfied are they with your company? How would they rate your service? What new products or lines could you be offering? Who do they know that could lead to a referral or an introduction?
Set Clear Goals
At this time of year, it’s easy to fall into the trap of coasting along through the holidays, enjoying the season and planning to ramp your efforts up again come January. To avoid that, set clear actionable goals for you and your staff this month that can be measured and assessed. Some examples include: close three pending accounts, set five new business appointments, schedule six customer satisfaction surveys, obtain ten new referrals, etc. These will carry over into the New Year and maintain the inertia you’ve worked so hard to attain all year long.
Practice Pipeline Hygiene
Pipeline management is especially crucial in the month of December to help ensure that you are capitalizing on year-end opportunities. You should know exactly where you stand with every pending deal so you can focus on those that are likely to close by the end of the year. Those that are not should receive a “close the file” call or email from you. Don’t be afraid to get a “no” from those prospects who are simply stringing you along and have no intention of doing business with you. But those who simply became distracted with other priorities will often move forward with a deal after you’ve reconnected with them.
To finish the year strong and springboard into the New Year, you need a healthy, continuous and ongoing influx of potential clients and customers. But, in addition to those businesses that may have year-end budget surpluses, your prospecting strategy should also be targeted and strategic. It’s a good time to reassess your ideal customer profile so that your efforts have a higher likelihood of success and will result in a consistent flow of new opportunities.
Be a Resource
At this time of year, clients and customers are often looking for ideas and solutions for last-minute needs and initiatives – maybe a project that must be completed or a rush job from their boss. As a subject-matter expert, you are in a position to provide valuable guidance and advice on informed purchasing decisions. Your expertise can enhance and solidify client/customer trust and further enable you to stand out from the pack.
As a seller or business owner, the month of December certainly has its unique challenges: holiday vacations, budget constraints, time off, etc. But tailoring your approach to the holiday season also presents opportunities to execute these strategies effectively, thus enabling you and your team to finish the year strong.
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].