finish strongWe’re quickly moving into the final quarter of the year and it’s time to make sure resources are allocated to ensure the year’s goals are achieved.

Too many times, sales teams wait until it’s too late into the year to realize things have to change to make the number.

If this is you, then you’re not being a strong sales leader. You’re being a weak sales manager.

First thing to do is to get a solid handle as to where you stand today and where you expect to finish.

A trick I like to use is to determine where you expect to finish on Dec. 15 of the year.   This gives you a two-week cushion which you’ll need, considering the holidays and who knows what else that can happen at year-end!

Make sure the number you have is realistic. This is not the time to be smoking dope and jumping rope. Keep it real.

Second is to understand who in your department is going to be taking time off between now and the end of the year.

Managers get “surprises,” but leaders plan ahead.  Taking time off around the holidays is fine, as long as it’s planned and the business keeps moving the way it needs to be.

Third, ensure the sales team is focused against business that is going to materialize this year.

I’m not saying to forgo long-term sales opportunities, but you need to monitor time spent on these very closely in the 4th quarter.

Fourth, allocate your time to be customer facing as mush as possible.

Schedule yourself to be with the salespeople who have the opportunities that can be leveraged by your presence.

Fifth, your team is going to be looking for you for clues.

If you’re running around saying things suck and there’s no way to make the number, then guess what?  It’s not going to be made.

Your role is to be coach and motivator. The attitude you display helps. Next time you’re watching a close game, notice what the coach is doing. They’re not running away, but rather they’re motivating and leading.

It’s a shame, but I see too many organizations pack it in for the year during September and October.

In my book, these two months are incredibly important.  These are the months where, with the proper focus, you can have amazing things happen to close out the year.

Copyright 2013, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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