Tennessean Column- Sunday, September 7th
Fourth Quarter, Your Best Quarter
The fourth quarter has started. There are only four months left in 2014. When you break it down into days that’s 80 work days. There are a lot of holidays in the fourth quarter and many of your prospects will take off more days around the holidays. I know I do. So with the rest of your year flying by how can you maximize those 80 days? Here is some advice and some ideas to help you maximize the end of your year.
- First, review the prospects you have seen so far this year. I am assuming you are in the 21st century and you have kept a list. There will be some who said, “Check back at the end of the year.” Call those prospects. There will be another group that told you “It is not in the budget.” Companies prepare their budgets for next year in the fourth quarter. Be sure to call this group as soon as possible. This is the time of year when there is no “It is not in the budget” objection. Contracts with competitors renew this quarter; be there to compete. It is too late if your prospect renews with the other guys.
- Second, if you are like most salespeople you have some prospects that are bigger than others. Some sales are worth more than others. Make a top 10 list, a list of your 10 biggest opportunities between now and the end of the year. Do this without putting all your eggs in one basket and spend as much time as you can focused on these top prospects.
It only makes sense that where you spend your time is where you will get your results. If you are worth your salt as a salesperson, when you start talking people will start writing checks. So the last quarter, the last 80 days of the year, spend more time with your best prospects.
If you have had trouble seeing your best prospects this year (everyone faces this problem) pull out all the stops. Stop by their office. Call early (before 8:00 a.m.), call late (after 5:00 p.m.) or call during lunch. Be creative, try emails or try a FedEx package with a letter in it. Try sending a drone. You will never know how far you can go until you go too far.
- Third, take care of your health (both your mental and physical health). Read or listen to motivational and instructional material. Instead of listening to your favorite tunes or a fictional audio book listen to something that makes you a better salesperson. Put a book out in your home that you want to read. Try reading it for 10 minutes a day or more if you can. Put the book in your car. If you leave it on your bookcase you probably won’t read it.
Your physical health is just as important. If your fourth quarter is your best quarter there will be a lot of stress. Nothing diffuses stress like exercise. A short walk is better than nothing. Eat regularly. Recent studies have linked glucose to will power. Do not skip meals, eat healthy snacks and get enough sleep. The great sales warrior is mentally and physically healthy.
- Fourth, put in more time. One of the greatest salesperson’s I know said, “I cannot work 80 hours a week all year long. It is just too tiring. I can work 10 or 12 hours a day for 90 days. I always save my best effort for the fourth quarter.” Make sure that your best effort comes at the end (last 80 days). I have found over and over again that the person who works the most hours gets the best results.
It will be difficult to miss the holiday parties, take a day off to do holiday shopping or to fill out your holiday cards but this is not the highest and best use of your time during the work week. I have a poster on my desk that says, “Finish strong! Make your last your best.”