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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe final quarter of the year is here, and that means for many organizations the race is on to make the year-end number.

Here are a few key things you need to be doing with every customer:

If you work with accounts on a regular basis, a few things you need to find out right now include what their hours of operations are going to be the last two weeks of the year.

With Christmas on a Wednesday, it’s hard to know without asking what each of your customers might be doing.

Equally important is finding out in October where they stand with regard to their own numbers. Are they looking to make cuts in orders or looking to increase purchases?  Waiting until they tell you can be too late for you to respond effectively, so you need to ask now.

New customers and prospects create their own set of opporutnities.  Many companies shut down their Accounting Department to new vendors a week or so before the end of the year.

Last thing you want to do is close a sale, only to find out the new customer’s Accounting Department won’t process anything until after the new year starts.

Worse yet, with regard to year-end changes, is the common practice of many companies to simply stop taking appointments after Nov 1 to allow them to focus their own energies on making their own numbers.

Problem with this is companies don’t advertise this. Typically, it’s only found out when a salesperson is attempting to get an appointment.

Another important thing to know is how your own company is going to handle things at the end of the year.  I’m always surprised at the number of salespeople who get surprised by things within their own company.  Too many salespeople fail to pay attention to emails about changes in their own company.

Be a sales leader in Q4.

It starts by being pro-active in finding out information from your company, your customers and everyone else to ensure you can satisfy as many customers as possible and ulimtately make your year-end number.

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

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