HARDISON’S TIPS – DECEMBER 7, 2020 – How to Beat the Holiday Slump & Close More Deals
- Map out your key dates.
According to HubSpot Sales Director Dan Tyre, figuring out the key dates for the season as early as you can is key to getting ahead for the holidays. Planning your sales activities around the dates and days of the week of major holidays.
Let’s use an example related to Thanksgiving in the US. Some businesses are off the entire week, and many start to slow down on Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving on Thursday. Additionally, 50% of companies don’t open the day after Thanksgiving. Working through your calendar can help you understand many people you are trying to sell to likely won’t be responsive or present for sales conversations during that week, so you should plan around that data.
In Australia, businesses start on holiday around mid-December. By December 15, most businesses in the country close, so if you sell to customers there, taking the major holiday dates into consideration can prevent surprises.
HubSpot Sales Manager Annalisa Specter echoes this advice adding:
“I recommend clarifying early and often what out of office time will look like for your prospects over the holidays. You can even weave it into your early rapport on a discovery call by asking what their holiday plans look like and if they are taking any time off.
It’s also important to ask who else needs to be involved in the decision making process and what their time off schedule looks like. Nothing is worse than being at the finish line with a deal and being surprised when a decision maker is out of office and unreachable.”
- Start setting expectations with your team and prospects early.
For HubSpot Senior Sales Manager Mintis Hankerson, preparation is key when it comes to reaching her sales goals by the end of the year. She says, “To succeed during the holiday season, I always prepare in advance. By November, I know exactly what’s in my team’s pipeline and I know what is coming for the rest of the year.”
She recommends mapping out a plan before the holidays to know exactly where your team stands, and what number you need to hit before the end of the year. During this time, it is also important to set clear expectations with your prospects, letting them know what timeline you’re working on, encouraging them to move through the sales process efficiently.
Dan agrees with this advice, encouraging reps to work backwards to determine when key milestones need to be reached in order to close their deals in time. He says:
“I start very early in the quarter asking clients ‘When do you want to implement this solution?’ Most people will say ‘by the end of the year’ which can come up quickly.
I respond by saying, “Great! That means we need to have onboarding done by December 15, installation by December 5, the purchase needs to be complete by November 20, and proposals need to be complete before that.’ When you start looking at your timeline in reverse, you realize you don’t have much time to waste.”
The good news is that many people understand that making purchasing decisions around the holidays, so being a good project manager and scheduler can be a great benefit to the customer and can establish some urgency.