It’s that time of year again, fourth quarter. A time when many companies want to end the year on a strong note. Where I live the colors are changing and so are many potential clients’ minds.
I love working with clients in the fourth quarter of the year. It’s a great time to help clients’ end the year strong and start next year in a great position. This year is no exception.
How do you increase fourth quarter results?
For me, it’s the time of the year when you change the course of a company’s sales by going out into the field or on the phone. You can help close more business, a lot more business! I still believe this!
I’ve had many interesting conversations with clients about deals that fell apart over the years. Many times, my clients didn’t know what happened until they invested significant time and resources to try to earn the business. Only to come up short at the end, many times, for a no decision, not to a competitor.
Why do potential clients not make the deal?
I know there are many reasons that prospects do not become clients. Sadly, any one of these reasons can derail a deal in the final stages. All these challenges can be determined very quickly in a coaching session over lunch or on a way to client visit. You can use these ideas to better understand who the best potential clients are in your pipeline.
When you understand what makes great potential clients you can be better prepared to maximize your sales teams’ efforts to close more business in the next 90 days. COVID19 changed some things about doing business but most successful organizations still have the opportunity to close the year strong and kick off 2021 to be your best year ever. So, let’s get started!
Potential clients share these qualities
Potential clients have good chemistry with you and your team. People still buy from people they like and trust. This almost always means that the teams work well towards a shared goals.
Potential clients have clearly defined objectives and goals. If you are uncertain about this it could be a deal breaker as you move to get started on a project.
Potential clients have a clear understanding of the time commitments it takes to achieve their goals. How many of your projects fail because one of your client resources takes off the final weeks of the year? Does the economic buyer have a team member they trust to make sure they have all the needed information required to accept a project?
Potential clients know who is assigned to the team and what responsibilities they have as they move to accepting the project. Early in my career my economic buyer was CEO or CFO or maybe even CMO. Many of these deals were multi-million dollar decisions, and they were made by one person.
Today, buying is a team sport. On average, seven buyers are involved in the decision. This can complicate even the smallest of projects. Many times, it’s not the senior member who slow down the deal. It’s a subject matter expert who is not concerned about your senior clients’ objectives. Knowing how to work up and down the organizational chart is critical to fourth quarter selling success.
Is senior management engaged?
Potential clients have senior management support before getting started on a project. Too many projects fail because the sales professional has not even met the final decision maker until after you write and submit the proposal.
Potential clients communicate on a regular basis. This means you have a wide range of ways of getting hold of clients during the buying process.
When I worked in executive search my boss used to kid me that I should have seven ways of contacting the candidate including the car license plate number when we were moving to getting the deal done. With a well-timed call placed to a spouse I could always determine if my candidate was ready to make the deal happen.
This article can provide you insights into your clients and your own senior management Who Really Makes the Big Decisions in Your Company?
Do Potential Clients Share Their Concerns?
Potential clients should provide you several ways to reach them when they are out of the loop to make sure nothing slows down the deal after they decide to move ahead. You should know which method works.
I always make it a point to get the information at the beginning of the relationship to ensure I can reach them after hours if we run into new challenges along the way. The easiest way to do this is provide your client with multiple ways to reach you when things might be going wrong.
Potential clients let you know what’s happening before it happens. Shifting leadership and new challenges have derailed many potential deals in the final stage.
Good Questions Increase Understanding
You shouldn’t be shy about asking questions when these things are happening. Start with the impact to the person and then the organization. This makes a huge difference in how people perceive you and their relationship with you.
If your client trusts you with confidential information you are well on your way to succeeding in the deal. Larger organizations having many moving parts, you need to know what’s happening inside. Sometimes even before their team members.
Potential clients have realistic expectations on the ROI on your projects. Under promising and delivering more value than expected provides you a margin safety that helps ensure return engagement.
Understand what potential clients want and need
Potential clients understand both the tangible and intangible values of completing a successful deal. Much of my career success comes from not only providing superior ROI on the projects I sell to clients. It comes from knowing my clients’ agenda at all stages of the deal.
Many times, it’s the intangibles of the deal that make it possible to get money from clients when others don’t. It may be helping a client understand what this deal can do for their career when successful.
Learning what motivates the different stakeholders and incorporating that early and often helps ensure they act on the deal. In the fourth quarter your biggest competition in not a competitor but doing nothing.
You might find this article helpful in deciding 10 Things Every Customer Wants .
What is your potential client’s hidden agenda?
Many people’s bonuses and raises come from their ability to not to spend money even when it may be the best choice to achieve their goals.
How did you do, can you tell if your client is ready to partner to get things started? If any one of these are not working to your advantage you need to decide if you should still be investing in trying to get the business done. You might want to consider what you can do to make sure they are no longer problems.
You can learn more about understanding your client’s agenda How to increase sales by understanding your client’s agenda!
If you want to talk about your sales challenges let’s set up a call. I’m certain I can help you quickly decide where to invest your teams time and resources to end 2020 on a strong note. You can reach me at 440-293-8811.
See you next week.