Have you ever noticed how people become more serious at the beginning of September? Gone are the lazy days of summer and in front of us are four months before year-end. People develop what I call the “back-to-school mentality.” I see it as much among adults as I do among students. In the corporate world, vacations are finished, meetings that didn’t happen over the summer are now on the calendar and decisions are being made.
Why are corporate people more serious during the last four months of the year? Here are a few reasons. Executive decision makers have until year-end to make things happen before their reviews. Not only do they need to complete initiatives on their list to receive bonuses and great scores, but also, those looking for promotions must showcase themselves to management. Further, many decision-makers have to use their annual budgets before they lose their annual budgets.
What does this mean for business owners and salespeople? Opportunity! Below are five ways captured sales opportunities while helping corporate decision-makers achieve their goals.
1. Recommend funding a first-quarter initiative using this year’s budget. This is one strategy most of your competitors will completely overlook. Suggest using remaining budget to lock in on an initiative your prospect or client needs to complete during the first quarter of next year. This solidifies the business for you and your client will appreciate you protecting next year’s budget.
2. Secure client meetings that intentionally grow relationships. Set fall meetings with clients to discuss what you can do to help them during the fourth quarter. Use this opportunity to recommend additional programs as well as ask for referrals to other departments, divisions, parent companies, sister companies and subsidiaries who have a bucket of money to spend on what you have to sell. If you don’t ask, someone else will!
3. Showcase your clients. Remember, your clients and prospects are people who are working toward goals within their companies. If they want to be promoted, the last four months of the year are critical for reminding management of the game-changing initiatives they started. Be a hero by helping decision makers “toot their horns” internally for initiatives you work on together.
4. Resurrect inactive clients and “no-go proposals.” Check in with clients who have not purchased from you in a while. Situations change and projects come off hold. Be top of mind so you will be there to collect when the money is on the table! Have any of your prospects said “yes” to your competitor instead of you? Are you sure they’re convinced they made good decisions? Those sales can still be yours—but only if you stay in touch!
5. Mark your calendar! Make calls after 2 pm the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to reach those “hard-to-reach” decision-makers without their assistants answering the phone. Office staff members usually go home in the early afternoon, leaving your decision-maker at the desk, and ready for your call! Were you thinking of leaving early that day? So is your competition. Don’t miss this valuable opportunity!
By Caryn Kopp, the Chief Door Opener® at Kopp Consulting, which has been recognized on the Inc. 5000 list, named one of New Jersey’s 50 Fastest Growing Companies and named Sales Outsourcing Provider of the Year. Caryn is the author of Biz Dev Done Right, co-authored by Carl Gould, and The Path to The Cash® The Words You NEED to Bypass Those Darned Prospect Objections. She is also a faculty member of Gazelles Growth Institute.