Sure, you’ve got a number to hit, but prospecting looks a little bit different in the fourth quarter.
Time isn’t on your side. So what do we most need to focus on?
See my 10 insights below on how to adjust for success in the 4th quarter.
1. Know your funnel
This means you’ve got to be up to date on your CRM system. And more than ever, right now in the fourth quarter, I’m paying attention to what’s in the lower third. Those are prospects that probably have the greatest probability of closing.
I need to make sure that I’m allocating my time, and I know exactly what’s in my funnel, because it’s also going to help me identify how much more I need to put in, or where I need to put my focus because of the size of the opportunity.
2. Past and lost customers
You may think, “But Mark, they found another vendor. They don’t like what we have…” Hold it, you don’t know that. That’s an assumption. You don’t know that until you talk to them. You took the time and effort to develop a relationship with them to get them as a customer, right? Okay, now maximize it.
Reach back out to them, because they may be buying from somebody else, but it’s year end and they can’t get what they need. You can be there.
As far as lost customers go–you know the customer that you thought you were going to get, but ultimately they went with another option versus you? Well, in the fourth quarter, all bets are off because it’s amazing how things change and twist. And you can pick up a tremendous amount of business.
Years ago, I was running a pipe, pump, and valve distribution facility, and we did this right at the end of December with past and lost customers. It was incredible the amount of business we picked up.
3. Allocate your time
Of course, there are certain activities that are going to take longer than others. For example, if you have a prospect that’s a little further up in your funnel, you better be allocating more time to them right now.
You need as many weeks as possible to try to close them. Allocate your time judiciously based on where it needs to be spent.
4. Telephone first
The smartphone is not a 500 pound dumbbell, it is an absolutely powerful tool. The phone works, but you’ve got to use it. More than ever, right now, you have to accelerate the selling process.
Using your voice, and having a conversation with a prospect gives you so much information. In fact, in one phone call you can get as much information as an email exchange over five or six weeks.
Like email, it won’t be instant. You’ll have to leave a lot of voicemails. In fact, it could take between 12-16 voicemails to finally reach someone. But when you do, it’s powerful.
I talk a lot about how to pair the phone and email for maximum power, and how to leave great voicemails in my Phone Prospecting Masterclass. Check it out here.
5. Think CFT
What’s CFT? Customer facing time; I talk about this in my book, A Mind for Sales. You’re either face to face with them, on a Zoom call, Teams call, maybe you’re on the phone with them, you’re actively exchanging emails with them, or something of that nature.
There’s also CFT that you spend in front of prospects. It’s two separate measurements.
I find a lot of people spend all their CFT with existing customers. However, the amount of time spent on existing customers prevents you from spending time on prospects. You need to invest some time in prospects, or that pipeline will run dry.
6. Sell the close-in need
This is not the time to boil the ocean, this is time to get tight. I’m going to sell the need that they have today.
What if the deal is broken into parts, and they don’t need something until the second or third quarter of the year? Unless they’re flushed with cash looking to spend, if you sell it as a complete unit they may say, “Well, you know what? Why don’t we just push the whole project to next year?” And then you’ve lost that opportunity. Separate the pieces and stay tight.
7. Year-end funding
The bigger the company, the more likely they are to have year-end funding. But here’s the deal, companies are starting to get conservative.
So, you may have departments that margin today, but they may not have it a week from now. Better to play year-end funding card right now before potentially they either spend it or they lose it.
8. Sell TCO
TCO, total cost of ownership. Focus on the total cost–because nobody buys anything, they only invest. So, they’re going to invest X amount of money and they’ll want to get X plus Y out of it.
But here’s the risk: total cost of ownership might be over three, four or five years. And that’s okay, but you have to be careful that you can still make that sale happen this year.
You may have to create TCO that only happens in the first quarter, or something of that nature. There are various versions of total cost of ownership, but it’s a great strategy to play.
9. Rinse and repeat
The three most critical sales words found on every bottle of shampoo, rinse and repeat. Rinse; I’m sending a new message to my prospects, but I’m repeating the process.
Now more than ever, follow-up is absolutely key.
Do follow-up that actually continues the conversation, not stall it. Enroll in the Stop Getting Ghosted Masterclass today!
10. Be available
This is not the time to go dark. Do not put any kind of out-of-office message on your email or voicemail this time of year.
You need to be checking it, because things can happen and can change quickly and you need to take advantage of it.
This week on The Sales Hunter Podcast…
Have salespeople fallen into the AI trap? We’re not robots, and a robot could never do what a salesperson can…right?
Join Mark and guest Larry Long Jr. as they discuss using technology to advance you, but not to replace you.
PLUS if sales is a transfer of energy…what should that look like?
Catch this episode Thursday morning, or find a plethora of other Sales Hunter topics wherever you stream podcasts.
NEW Masterclass available now!
Think of all the deals you didn’t close this year because the prospect went silent. What if you could change that?
Consider this your Anti-Ghosting Guide. Start having better communication, and more effective follow-up now. Click here for more information.
Join this industry expert panel, including:
Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist
Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter
and Molly McKinstry, Calendly’s Head of Enterprise Sales
…as they share advice and lessons learned for reaching your full revenue potential.
Nov. 2nd at 1:00 p.m. EDT Register and find out more here.
Copyright 2022, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.