Let’s Not Hibernate. Let’s Accelerate!!!

This is the time of year when most salespeople start to wind down in anticipation of the holidays.  It is almost like we go into hibernation mode until the beginning of next year. Well, I’m here to say “DON’T DO IT!” Don’t think there is nothing left to do. Instead, put the pedal to the metal and accelerate for 2016!

This is the prime time to get a head start for next year. I am not saying you shouldn’t take time to celebrate the holidays and enjoy yourself…that’s important…but let’s not get all caught up in the hot totties and festivities without thinking about January.  This is a great time of year, not only to reflect on 2015, but also to envision how you are going to shape 2016 into the year you want it to be.

Here are some tips on things you can do in lieu of crawling into a hollow log or a dark cave and going to sleep:

1. Take a look at your 2015 results. 
Were they what you wanted or expected? If this year is not ending the way you expected it to, what got in the way?  Was there anything you could have done differently to get a better result?  How will you prevent this from happening in 2016? If this was a great year, what made it great? What were the things you did that made a difference in your results?  Take note so you can repeat your success in 2016.

2. Take a hard look at your sales pipeline. 
Are there areas that need improvement that you can work on now to make a difference in your first quarter?  What strategies can you put in place to make sure you stay on target for the year? Is the front end of your pipeline full enough to kick start you in January?  Many of us suffer the first couple of months of the new calendar year because our level of activity in November and December is lower than what it needs to be to have strong results in January and February. Don’t fall into that trap.

3. Clean out your database!
How much junk do you have in your database that you know is a waste of space? If you haven’t contacted a company or prospect in a year or two, maybe you have to dump it or look for a new angle to gain the competitive edge to get activity going within that account or prospect.  Don’t keep things that are dead in the database. It doesn’t do you or anyone else any good. Your database is only as good as the information you put in it.  Think of it this way — if Santa’s sleigh hit you today and someone looked at the information in your database, would it be valuable and make sense to them?

4. Create your target lists.
This is the time to do some homework.  Decide on the top five, ten or twenty accounts you want to go after and create a game plan.  This includes finding the right people to contact, gaining phone numbers and emails, doing your due diligence to understand what the organization does, and coming up with a plan A and possibly plan B if you cannot get to the ultimate decision maker. Start creating that game plan and process now instead of waiting till the first of the year.

5. Get on the phone!  
This is a great time to set appointments.  Many decision makers have open spaces in their calendars during this time of year. If they are not seeing people until after the first of the year, be the first person they meet with in 2016!   Average salespeople avoid setting up meetings at this time of year, which means exceptional salespeople get appointments before anyone else.  We’ve all heard the saying “The early bird gets the worm!” Be that early bird.

Sometimes we need to do things differently in order to get on the fast track to improved results.  Start to accelerate now and make 2016 the best year ever!


ETIQUETTE CORNER:
Ready or Not…Here Comes the Holiday Office Party!

For many of us, December brings with it the annual holiday work party. This is not the time to put a lampshade on your head and think no one is going to notice.  This is the time to put your best foot forward because everyone is watching.

So here are some tips to help you make the best impression during this holiday time:

1. Make sure you dress appropriately for the engagement. 
Even though the atmosphere is meant to be fun, don’t be tempted to put on your best clubbing attire.  Festive business attire is appropriate for both men and women. For women, glitter and sparkles are fine as long as the look is respectful.  For men, depending on the culture of your business, you are better off wearing what you would wear to the office normally, and spice things up with festive socks, a tie or a vest.

2. Drink alcohol and eat in moderation.
Remember the one or two drink rule. It’s well known that lose lips sink ships. The more we drink…the more we sink.  This is a time to show respect for others and maintain control. Too much alcohol is not a good idea for any business occasion.  Also, don’t be tempted to overstuff your plate. It can be a hazard if you are standing and conversing and down right impossible if you need to shake someone’s hand. Even if you’re sitting, you don’t want to look like you’re not sure when, or if, you’ll ever be eating another meal again.

3. Be thoughtful about how you greet people at the event and be sure to thank the host company or the actual planners after the event.
Many office parties include company executives, clients, and/or employees’ significant others. If you are meeting someone for the first time, keep the four parts of an introduction in mind: stand up, use a firm handshake, look the person in the eye, and repeat the person’s name. First impressions can make you or break you. Leave a positive one. And don’t forget to write a simple handwritten thank you note to the person or people who planned and executed this special event. This small gesture will be greatly appreciated.

Wishing all of you a very happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year!