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How To Beat The Holiday Doldrums (In Sales)

I hear a lot of complaining about the upcoming time of year regarding "holiday doldrums" sales and revenue. While I've discussed this idea before, I want to add a few action steps to the solution for you.

First, let's remember that the notion that the whole world shuts down in the holiday season is silly and false. You can buy into it if you want to, and I can't stop you, but it's really a false and limiting belief.

Do many people take time off in the period starting at Thanksgiving and concluding in early January? Of course they do. I'm not here to argue that.

But does everyone?

Everyone?!

festive food holiday doldrums sales training

Holiday Doldrums Are Not For Everyone

Many people have an unconcealed hatred of the consumerist way Christmas celebration has become. I speak with them every day, and they have no trouble sharing their belief with me. These folks all continue with the grind and are available in their offices during the holiday season.

And what about people who don't have kids? They have far less of a reason to take their holidays at Christmastime, don't they. I myself took holidays for many years in April, and late September or early October.

The lesson here is that not every prospect has to follow the pattern you have in your mind.

You are not your customer!

Prospects Will Also Behave Differently During the Holiday Doldrums

So the truth that we are left with is that many potential customers remain in their offices in the traditional holiday season. And who is around them? Not as many other people, to be sure. The gatekeepers are often gone. These proto-buyers are far more likely to answer their phones.

I remember one year when I was a credit manager, I worked on my birthday. My age-turner is in the final week of the year, and it was almost silly—there was a skeleton crew on, and I was bored out of my tree. At 3:00 the director came in and said I could go home as they were shutting down early.

Now if you had reached me on a day like that day, right smack in the middle of what is supposed to be the dreaded “Shutdown Season”, I would have talked to you. I would have been glad to speak with you.

Keep this image in mind, because there are a lot of bored executives out there during the holiday period who will welcome your call.

See, what you have to do to be successful during this upcoming season is Change Your Behavior.

You can't count on inbound leads.

Referrals probably aren't going to flow in.

Your regular customers are going to behave exactly the way they have in past holiday seasons, and disappear.

Are you starting to get me?

You are going to have to do something different.

Reach out.

Have an interesting way to reach out—give the prospect something, have a good opener, something to break up what in there world is deadening monotony.

Then you have a great chance of being greeted by a chuckle, or a warm word of appreciation...and then you can get on with qualifying your new lead.

The deals are out there. Even in the midst of the holiday season. Change your behavior and go get them.

>> Jason Kanigan is a business strategist and sales trainer. If you are looking for a way to consistently reach and engage prospects, book a consultation with Jason.

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Qualify Not Close: Make Selling Easier On You

Qualify Not Close. You see a ton of emphasis on The Close in traditional sales training. Get that prospect in there, and BAM! Hit them over the head with The Close. Kill 'em like a squirrel in a deadfall trap.

Killer, huh?

You want to be a killer?

What if word starts getting around that you're a killer when it comes to sales? That this is the attitude you bring to the sales conversation?

Why You Should Qualify Not Close

It may work for appliances and cars—people stupidly buy vehicles, a long term, large financial investment, as if they're deciding what brand of orange juice they like—but in a real, senior B2B selling situation you're likely to get "niced out the door" by the prospects you're hoping to "kill."

Let me ask you this: What matters more...what you say, or what they say?

If you answered, "What I say," you're in error.

If they say it, it's true. If you say it, you have to defend it.

Even if it was exactly the same thing!

Closing without Qualifying is exhausting.

shouting qualify not close

It's mud wrestling that prospect to the ground and pinning them there...in the mud.

It's getting hit with objections, trying to come up with the memorized rebuttal, and overcome the issue.

It's presenting to those who are not necessarily a fit to even see your offer. And the fast-tiring struggle that comes with that.

So while you may have a book in your hands that promises to teach you The Secrets of Closing, what it's really teaching you is how to get tired out trying to force square pegs into round holes. Can you do it? Sometimes. But man, is it exhausting.

Qualify Not Close To Use Your Energy Well

I don't know about you, but I don't have the energy for that.

I don't have the energy to support the case for what I offer entirely on the force of my personality, or my confidence.

If they say it, it's true. If you say it, you have to defend it.

I'd much rather get the prospect to say it.

I'd much rather get the prospect to tell me exactly why they're a fit for this offer.

I'd much rather get the prospect to close themselves.

And the way to do that is by Qualifying heavily up front.

Before any kind of dog and pony show. Before any attempt at a Close.

Put your effort into Qualifying, and you'll have a much easier time Closing. You'll have a lot more energy left over, too.

Even another well-known sales trainer, who really pushes the Closing thing, says this: Fill your funnel to the point where it's overflowing.

OK, he didn't use such nice language, but that was the point. Fill your funnel so that you have so many leads—you can do what?

Pick and choose.

Select those who are most likely to say, "Yes!" to your offer.

Qualify.

Yep, that's qualifying.

Behind the big bang of The Close, which is what everyone thinks and says they want, is Qualifying...which is what they truly need.

Hmm...give them what they say they want...they said it, so it's true...but sneak in what they really need...I have to admit that's good selling.

>> Jason Kanigan is a sales trainer and business strategist. To book a consultation with Jason to discuss your Qualification issues, click here. <<

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Hard To Sell To?

Hard To Sell To: "Are {Insert Niche Here} hard to sell to?" is a common question I see; it was repeated again on an expert platform I'm a member of this morning.

The truth is that no industry is "hard to sell to."

hard to sell to wrestling block tackle pain hurt

If you are having trouble selling in a marketplace, an understanding of a key problem that niche has that you can fix is what you're missing.

Instead, odds are you're relying on pushing features of the product/service as most salespeople do. But I'll bet you're not even getting that far.

The problem that kills your prospecting process is more immediate.

Why Salespeople Say "This Industry Is Hard To Sell To"

I have trained many, many salespeople. These include so-called veterans with 20 or more years of experience in sales roles. Turned out they existed on soft referrals, though, and when times got tough and they had to start prospecting by phone, they quickly found themselves in trouble.

Two critical steps must be completed before any discussion with a prospect may be had that leads to a sale.

Your first step is to reach a decision maker.

Your second step is to start a conversation.

Most employed "salespeople" don't know how to do these two things.

If you can't reach a DM or start a conversation with them, what chances do you have of making a sale?

Is it any wonder salespeople say it's "hard to sell to" prospects in this niche?

You're not even getting that far—far enough to have a qualifying conversation!

Hard To Sell To: A Symptom of Larger Issues

I discuss these symptoms of a key problem further in this video:

Many large companies I've worked for didn't even have a consistent sales process, or any sales training materials. This is a rampant problem.

You would think sales organizations would have this all figured out, but the truth is they do not.

Customers don't buy because of features. If you want a better process, we should speak.

>> Jason Kanigan is a sales force developer and conversion expert. To book a call with Jason, click here.<<