New Year… New Try… New Tactic

Happy New Year.  The new year can bring about positive and negative feelings for a salesperson.  Its a great new start to a year, and a new chance to crush it.  But… it also probably means, you lost your accelerator that you were enjoying from crushing it last year, and now you have to start all over.  You are on an even playing ground with other salespeople, when you were enjoying being on top.  If you missed your mark last year, perhaps this is your chance to shine and make sure that you beat your numbers this year.

Regardless of how last year went for you as a salesperson, and assuming you havent been sandbagging, you are going to struggle for a little bit to get your pipeline closing in the new year.  Your prospects are back fresh, they have their own years to plan out, they may have fresh budget but aren’t as eager to spend it quickly.

So, whats a salesperson to do, to make sure that the year starts off great.

1.  Find the companies that have a January 31 fiscal year end.  You will be surprised how many companies have this in place.  These are the companies that you will attack first to try the “December” unused budget technique.    By using up their unused budgets that they may lose, you can set up a win-win for yourself.  Don’t be shy about asking for a contract that pays a portion in January and a portion in February.  You get your goal, and they get to split the cost across two years.  For private companies, you’ll need to ask them about their fiscal year, but I’ve never had anyone refuse to give me that information when asked.

2. Go back to each and every person who said no to you and give it another try.  Situations change, and its completely reasonable to pick up the phone and talk to those prospects to see if its time again to revisit – or if there is a better time to discuss this year.  When you do call at the beginning of the year, its a much softer call because you aren’t calling them out of the blue.  Most people receiving the call will understand that your quota has reset and may even expect the call.  If you aren’t pushy, but just trying to gauge whether or not the opportunity can be revived (money cleared up, their freeze is over, the competitive product they bought instead of yours is failing, etc.).  Ask probing questions, but don’t be pushy – just get back to the front of their minds – and see if any can shake out for a sale this year.

3. Revive the stalled deals.  Everyone has deals that just stall in the pipeline.  It frustrates sales managers (or any manager) to death that a deal is just sitting there, but I know that they happen.  There are just those people that tell you they will buy, and then evade you, or frag you along, and you just aren’t 100% sure when to mark them as a lost deal.    The New Year is a great time to revisit and try to revive them.  Often with a simple humourous call or email, I’m able to get a little traction on some deals.  I’ve actually called people up and said, “Ok, so I failed at selling you last year, tell me what to do differently this year.”  I’ve gotten some people to move at that point – with them actually feeling bad that they dragged me along last year and then working with me for a quicker close.    Alternatively, its a perfect time to try a new tactic with a prospect.  For example, you might try a new package, or a new special.  It won’t seem as strange to offer something completely different to a stalled customer, because its a new year and a fresh start.

The new year is a great chance to get started on the right footing, and a great chance to try some new things.

Happy selling and good luck this year!