For many salespeople, it can be tough to meet sales quotas during the holiday season. Customers may be busy with their own selling seasons or year-end budgets may be thin and not allow for many new orders.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use November and December to set yourself up for sales quota success in the new year. If you’re facing sporadic orders or too much down time as you near the end of the year, try these tips to meet or beat next year’s first-quarter sales quota.
Stick to a Weekly Schedule
Even if you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, it’s a good idea to stick to a weekly schedule. Wake up. Get dressed. Get to work. In fact, a January 2017 article on Fast Company found that the most productive people put their calendars to work for them by sticking to a morning routine, prioritizing important tasks, and time-blocking what they need to get done. This ensures you don’t waste time procrastinating or engaging in meaningless tasks when you could be doing something to cultivate your success.
Clear Out “Tolerations”
Often, we’re told, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” For example, don’t waste time worrying about those little day-to-day irritations or fixes that don’t really matter. However, after a while, all of that “small stuff”—called “tolerations” in another piece on Fast Company —can actually inhibit your productivity. And hold you back from hitting your quota. Use your down-time to clear out the things that are hard to do when you’re really busy, such as organizing your files and work, clearing out your inbox, or learning how to automate tasks like billing or paperwork.
Deliver Season’s Greetings
Jim Herst, CEO of Perceptive Selling Initiative, Inc., a Highland Park, Illinois-based business consultancy, suggests checking in with your customers during the holiday season. “Schedule time for weekly phone calls to customers, citing holiday greetings and seeking information about how the customer was spending his or her holiday,” he suggests. Even busy customers appreciate when you let them know you’re thinking of them, he says. If it’s appropriate in your industry, send along a small gift or catered meal. Looking for great catering ideas? Start here.
Schedule Creative Sales Promotions
End-of-year down time also gives you the opportunity to plan first quarter sales promotions. Brainstorm new strategies such as incentive programs and product sampling campaigns that will get customers stocking up on items in early January, helping you hit your Q1 sales quota. You might even put together a end-of-year flash sale. Spend some time automating email messages that will go out at various times throughout the next month or two. Plan calls to educate your customers about the different ways they can use your products and services.
Plan an Event
Look at ways you can show appreciation for your customers once their busy season is over. Now might be a great time to plan a customer appreciation event or even to set up a creative sales call in January or February when their selling season may be slower. You may even plan on hosting something at your own facility, which could give you an opportunity to showcase new products, services, or promotions, Herst says.
While many people think about setting sales goals in the new year, doing so in November and December allows you to decide on your objectives, then set yourself up to hit your quota as soon as January 1 rolls around. Use this time to decide where you want to be 12 months from now. Then, break down those big goals into smaller steps and assign deadlines to them. This will give you a year-long plan help you map your way to greater achievement.