It's the last day of November. Realistically, there are three weeks of business remaining in the calendar year. Will you hit your numbers?
The reality is that unless your sales cycle is shorter than 3 weeks, there isn't much chance that a new opportunity will impact the calendar year or quarter. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be lining up new opportunities! The biggest mistake that salespeople make at year end is investing all of their time on opportunities that are already in the pipeline. There are two reasons why this is an ineffective strategy:
- Most of these opportunities are not yet closable and will not magically become closable just because it's the end of the year. The progress made is the progress made and the time line is the timeline.
- Salespeople start the new year with few, if any, new opportunities in their pipeline. This makes for an ugly month sometime during the following year, based on the length of the sales cycle.
- The sales plan calls for a certain number of new opportunities this month. Make sure that goal is met to avoid the bad month next year.
- Identify the closable opportunities in the pipeline. Other than providing discounts and incentives (bad strategy) to close, what is standing in the way of getting those opportunities signed, sealed and delivered?
- Identify the qualified (the stage before closable) opportunities in the pipeline with a time line consistent with the end of this year. Other than discounts and incentives, what will move those opportunities to closable?
- Make no effort to close anything in the pipeline that hasn't reached the closable stage but do remain connected with the contacts from these opportunities. Your competition will be trying to close (prematurely) them... You can even ask them if "the other guys are calling them and offering incentives to get them to sign". You can also mention that you "know we aren't there yet" and all you want to do is continue your discussions with them.