Here’s a lightly updated version of an article we first ran on Dec. 8, 2015.
If you need to close business at the end of the year, you already have a problem. The challenges with “closing business” that you need to make your number at the end of the year are exactly the same challenges you have losing weight fast or getting rich quick: it’s too late, and you don’t have enough time.
But that said, doing nothing isn’t an option. You have to take action and try to close end-of-year business. Here are seven ways to tackle these challenges:
1. Identify all opportunities.
If you have to close business before the end of the year, the first thing to do is to make sure you have a full accounting of all open, real sales opportunities. Make sure that no stone is left unturned, and that you include even early sales cycle opportunities in your review.
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2. Verify all opportunities against your sales process.
If you are going to move some of these opportunities across the line before the end of the year, you’re going to need to make sure that the stage in which they exist in your sales process is accurate.
Inspect each opportunity and make sure that all of the necessary outcomes in each stage have been accomplished. Also make certain that you know – and your salesperson knows – exactly what the next outcome is that will move that opportunity forward.
3. Identify prospective clients with a compelling reason to change.
Your prospective clients move faster when they have a compelling reason to change. Some of the opportunities in your pipeline may be real, but they may also be opportunities where your prospective client doesn’t have the most compelling reason to change.
Without a compelling reason to change, your prospective client won’t feel any urgency to move forward now. Because you have limited time, you need to focus specifically on opportunities that have a compelling reason to change because they are most likely to give you ink before the end of the year.
4. Ensure that the next action you need to take is on the calendar and that the client has committed.
You will have opportunities in your pipeline where the next action has not yet been scheduled. You’ll also have opportunities where the customer has not made a commitment to take that next action.
In either case, whether the salesperson hasn’t taken action, or where the prospect hasn’t committed, you need these actions and commitments taken now.