This was my 26th end of the year as a salesperson/leader/manager/teacher/observer. I started thinking about the fun that happens at the end of the year. It also got me thinking about the end of the quarter or end of the month. In a related slash unrelated thought, it is common knowledge that the best time to buy a car is at the end of the month or (even better) the end of the year. All of this “end of” started me to thinking.
In an effort to help salespeople, managers and training become well… better, I am always looking for non-data ways to find out what is really going on. Now, don’t get me wrong… use the data. Know your pipeline and your forecasting. This article is dedicated to taking an additional step to understand behaviors.
I have been on a big kick lately about helping people get back to the basics. I have written a few articles about cold calling and prospecting and people have really responded to them. One of the core principles that people seem to get so excited about is the need to maintain an appropriate level of activity. If you think about it, activity is the key, but on that last statement the word “appropriate” is the hard part. It is unrealistic for a seasoned rep to be spending all of their time on cold calling just like it’s unrealistic to expect a new rep to demo. If you haven’t created a “sliding scale” on activity dependent upon the rep’s experience you are setting yourself up for failure. In other words, one size does not fit all.
I got some advice one time that has stuck with me… “Follow the money”. If you follow the money on activity what I find is the bulk of the “appropriate” activity falls at either the end of the quarter and especially at the end of the year. Now, I know this can be in line with customer’s buying patterns, but the thing that I want to call out is the fact that reps that don’t have a predictable closing pattern have a tendency to get last-minute deals, and if you are close to that rep you know that there is a desperation and they do whatever it takes to close a deal.
All of that to write this… If you or your salespeople are closing more than 50% of their opportunities at the end of the month, quarter or year (depending on your selling cycles) their activity is too low and not the right kind of activity (probably too many emails). You or the rep will need to make more calls in person on or on the phone. Notice that I didn’t advise to send out more emails. With having such a large amount of the activity coming at the end of a point in time (and going back to the word appropriate) you or the rep may be doing the wrong kind of activity. It always pays to do the most direct type of activity as possible. Getting face to face is probably the most direct, but the next most direct is a phone conversation. After that it gets less and less direct.
Don’t get caught by too little and too passive activity. Life is much better when you do the appropriate type and level of activity.
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About The Author:
Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people that startedAvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact usfor more information.
Categories: Sales - Selling Process