By Caryn Kopp, “Chief Door Opener” at Kopp Consulting and an EO New Jersey member
Why spend the last two weeks of December cleaning out files when you could be filling next year’s pipeline with new business? Most business owners and salespeople believe that trying to reach prospects at the end of the year is pointless and spend time getting organized for the coming year instead. But by doing this, they miss out on one of the best times of the year to reach key decision makers. Here’s what we’ve learned about prospecting in December:
- Companies have fewer internal meetings during the last two weeks of the year due to employee vacations and mid-day holiday parties. This means decision makers are more likely to be working at their desks and available when you call
- Many assistants take year-end time off (especially if they have school-age children), leaving decision makers to answer their own phones—without gatekeepers
- Decision makers who are in their offices at this time of year are more relaxed and chatty
- Your competitors don’t think this way. They usually stop calling prospects the 2nd week of December. Your “share of voice” when leaving voicemails and reaching prospects “live” will be higher and you will get more accomplished with each call
- Decision makers will typically not accept a meeting from mid-to-end of December. However, if you request a date to meet the next year (just days away), their calendars are usually wide open. Ask for a meeting in early January and watch your calendar fill up
This works especially well with hard-to-reach and senior level decision makers. Connecting with prospect decision makers is just the first step in getting the door open. Once you have a prospect on the phone you will need to deliver a content-rich message that is so relevant and compelling your prospect will invite you in for a meeting. Does the message you are using now accomplish this for you? Of course you must also be prepared to answer the objections that will inevitably come your way. How much time have you spent pre-thinking answers that will get you past the objections you face? Don’t forget to couple your objection response with a request for a next step. How often do you do this? What are you planning to do to develop new business this December?