The end of the year is a particularly challenging time for salespeople for many reasons. Not only are they rushing to close the last deals before year end, but they are also dealing with the busy holiday season. Then there’s the possibility their prospects will be on vacation. A deal may be close to closing as the holidays approach and then, out of nowhere, the prospect goes dark! Although closing the deal by year-end has passed, that doesn’t mean that it’s time to give up. It’s time to get started!
The rush to close deals by the end of Q4 doesn’t transfer over to Q1 for most companies. Get ahead of your competitors by starting the new year just as strong as you finished the previous. This also offers the opportunity to approach your prospect with a new technique. Start the conversation by asking what their organization’s goals are in the new year. This positions you as a trusted partner, there to support their goals, instead of just another salesperson attempting to get their business. This tactic is helpful in protecting your deal from your competitors, as you have already become a valuable part of their company’s planning and decision-making process in the new year.
Identify their priorities for the year
Ask your prospect what their plans and goals are for 2019. This exemplifies your intentions to help them find a solution that works for their specific organization. If they are planning on participating in trade shows, work your cadences around these events to give them space when needed. Another bonus of this technique is the opportunity to use their plans to your advantage. Are they going to a trade show near you? Meet up to talk in person about your solution, their goals, and how the two can work together.
This tactic also opens up the opportunity to provide more value to your prospect. If they are attending an event outside of their usual area, contact them about how your solution can help them in these situations as well as throughout their continued growth.
Are your emails and phone calls being left unanswered after the holiday season? Maybe it’s time to try something new. Using other channels such as LinkedIn is a good way to get a prospect’s attention. While many prospect’s email inboxes and voicemails stay full, leaving many messages unanswered or deleted, social media inboxes are a different story. Getting a message on social sites also brings more excitement to the prospect than an email or voicemail, increasing the likelihood of an answer. In fact, reps that use this technique are 80% more likely to reach their quota. However, this technique should be used with caution to prevent the prospect from feeling harassed.
Send an email that has nothing to do with your product
This is most effective after you have built a rapport with your prospect. Get their attention by talking to them about their interests outside of work, such as their favorite sports teams, restaurants, or movies. This can act as a well-needed break from the grind of catching up on everything after the holidays. Building relationships with your prospects will also position you as a trusted adviser and friend, making them feel like they are replying to a real person instead of a generic pitch.
Personalize your approach so it can’t be ignored
This approach requires a deeper knowledge of your prospect and/or their company which you can gain from reviewing press releases, public filings (e.g. 10Ks), and/or their social media accounts. Try sending them a blog post or a piece of collateral related to what they’ve been posting about on LinkedIn. This lets them know that they are important to you and you understand what they care about.
Although prospects can go dark anytime throughout the year, the holiday season makes staying in touch particularly challenging. Mixing up your tactics and platforms of communication used can go a long way towards regaining your prospects attention and closing the deal in 2019.
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