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Give your sales a pre-Christmas push

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By Shaun Thomson, CEO of Sandler Training (UK)

It’s hard to believe, but it won’t be long before we start seeing Christmas paraphernalia stocked at our local supermarkets. We are already in Q4, which for most businesses means one thing – the race is on, because time is running out to hit year-end targets.

With fewer than three months to go, there is no time to procrastinate. Now is the time for action and, if you implement the correct sales strategies, you can go beyond making up lost ground to smashing your targets and ending the year on high. This means you can enjoy a guilt-free Christmas and start the new year from the best possible place. 



The following sales tips will help give your business a pre-Christmas boost: 

Focus, focus, focus


If I had a pound for every business that told me that “every business” would benefit from their product or service, I would be languishing on a beach drinking a cocktail. It isn’t true and spreading your net so wide will result in a lot of wasted time. 

Being laser-focused will make your job easier – look at the sales data for the last nine months. What are you selling most of, and what type of business has been buying it the most? This is where your focus needs to be. It’s easier to replicate success, so upselling to current customers should be the first port of call.

Close your sales faster


This is the part that most businesses struggle with as it involves a step-change in behaviour. You can waste an inordinate amount of time giving “free consulting”. 



Think about the last ten deals you closed – were they with businesses that you spent months working on and chasing? It’s very unlikely. When a business needs and wants your solution, they will buy it. If they aren’t keen, move on.

Learn to say no


We have all been there when we are so close to closing a deal that we give in to price-cuts to get it signed. The fact is customers don’t want the cheapest deal; they want the best. Don’t be afraid to stand firm – giving in now sets a precedent for your future relationship. If you aren’t making profit you aren’t moving forward. 

The same goes with identifying customers that are just window-shopping – if there is no intent to buy don’t let them try! Giving into free trials is a false economy; if they valued your solution they would pay for it. The key is realising this early on before time is wasted.



Identify pain


When engaging with a prospect there is a strong temptation to just spend the call rattling off the key features and benefits of your solution. Apply an 80/20 rule – you should be listening 80 per cent of the time and have a list of questions prepared that will encourage them to tell you the issues they are currently facing and how it is hindering their business. 

Once you have identified their ‘pain’ you can move the conversation to how your solution could alleviate that pain, but, again, don’t then try and add additional benefits. Keeping it to simple pain relief will expedite the sale; they don’t want to feel that they are paying for something they don’t need.

Get organised


Again, this change can go against the grain of the busy business. You need to document everything – the failures as well as the successes. Having this data will help you identify and address issues, such common objections and creating a way to resolve them, or even identify a time and day when calls have a higher success rate. 



Creating systems and processes, rooted in what you know will enhance the success rate, means that you will start to get predictable results – it becomes a benchmark that you can keep evolving and easily train new starters with. A sales process that you can quantify, track and adjust is a win-win for all involved.

Shaun Thomson is CEO of Sandler Training (UK)