We’ve got less than a few weeks to go in 2017. As everyone frantically settles into the holiday season, there is one thing on every business owner’s mind and that is closing the business deal and going into 2018 fiscally strong. The mistake lots of companies make is wait until the new year to close that deal, but by then sales and marketing budgets may be taxed. Most companies are looking to close their spend for the year so now is the time to reach out and reconnect. As we turn to 2018, as business owners, we look to build new goals, set new metrics and strategies. But what if I told you that there was still some time left to seal that business deal.
Here are five ways you can still squeeze out more sales in 2017:
1. Revisit your “lost” proposal file.
People who engaged you in the sales process this year had a need for your services. Think back to everyone you met at trade shows, speaking engagements, maybe even at the grocery store. Whom owns a business that expressed the need for your services maybe if not at the time, but in the future. Chances are, you are inches from gold within this group, and you could likely revive the conversations with the right approach. This is especially true for the deals you lost due to indecision, since this is the season for making decisions for the upcoming year. While your sales team could touch base with each of your lost deals to see if anything shakes out, sometimes it helps with bigger potential clients to reach out yourself and drop a personal note. Potential prospects appreciate that ‘hand touch’.
2. Inquire about “use it or lose it” budget.
Believe it or not, some companies are frantically trying to spend money at this time of the year. The reason? If they don’t use all of X budget (marketing, IT, etc.) that was allocated in 2017, they won’t get as much next year. If this is a common occurrence in your industry, simply sending an email with the question, “Do you have ‘use it or lose’ IT budget you’re trying to spend wisely before end-of-year?” can spark some meaningful conversations. The best part is they are on an external time crunch so your sales cycle will be very short.
3. Add something special to your current offer from now until the end of year.
While many companies offer holiday discounts and coupons, another approach is to simply offer a little more for the same amount of spend. This technique gives you the benefit of a limited-time offer, without the risk of cheapening your brand with a discount. The difference is subtle, but important. Everyone like to feel like they got a good deal, but using discounts too frequently can cause the buyer to de-value your services. A holiday “bonus” is a nice touch that will likely get fence-sitters to move.
4. Go right to the decision maker.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is that they do not identify the decision maker and spend a lot of time with company associates that do not make the decisions on the vendor hires. Many times these decision makers send someone else in their company to meet with you, but ultimately they are not the ones making the decisions. Ask whom the top decision makers are and touch base with them as well. Closing the deal is all about establishing and nurturing relationships, and you again may have to engage with several people at an enterprise who will weigh in on purchase decisions. Ultimately, the people making buying decisions and signing contracts are buying from your people – not your business.
5. Reevaluate the competitive landscape.
You may have delivered your proposal back in February but budgets oftentimes shifted or you could have bid too high. Now is the time to look at the competitive landscape and see what your competitors are doing. Maybe they offer more services such as a marketing and public relations campaign or SEO for the same services you bid on for a more reasonable price. The quickest way to find out is to ask if the client has a budget in mind or if there was something that was missing from your proposal that might close the business deal.
If someone spent money with you before, they are much more likely to do it again. Maybe they switched providers and are unhappy with the decision by now. Reach out to see how they are, and share any improvements you’ve made to your product or service. Touching base with them a few months prior to the end of the year before things get busy is smart business. Even though time is drawing short, there is still time to make an impact on your 2017 revenue. People are in spending mode, so if you catch them at the right time with the right message, you just may give yourself the gift of new customers this year.