How to Close Deals Before the End of 2018
It’s December—the season for vacation, parties, and fun.
While your prospects are thinking about Christmas shopping and vacation plans, they will want to push any purchasing decisions to next year. But you have year-end targets to achieve!
And with just a few more days before the year ends, the pressure to turn your pipeline into revenue is building up rapidly.
So, how do you go about closing this sales year and starting strong next year? We’ll tell you how in this article.
Get in touch with prospects who have shown interest
It’s that time of the year when most of your prospects say, “Call me back after the holidays!” or “Call me back next year.”
You can’t avoid sales objections, but you can definitely learn how to handle them.
If you are getting in touch with prospects for the first time, they are obviously going to raise an objection. They don’t know who you are, what your company does, and the benefits your solution could provide their company with.
Your best bet is to get in touch with prospects who have shown interest in purchasing your solution. Look at your sales pipeline and connect with prospects who are in the later part of the sales cycle—they are either evaluating your solution, have received a demo, or are in the negotiation phase.
Here are four simple ways by which you can push these prospects to make the purchase.
1. Remind them of their timeline
You already know the prospect’s pain points, challenges, what they want to achieve next year and what their timeline is. Use all this information to your advantage while talking to them. Create a sense of urgency and remind them of the goals they wanted to achieve and the specific timelines they had set for themselves. This will get them thinking and they may even schedule a firm appointment with you next year.
“In our earlier meeting, you mentioned that you want to accomplish <their goals> within <timeline>. Meeting that deadline will be difficult if we start in January.”
2. Talk about the benefits of implementing your solution now
This is the time of the year when things aren’t moving at a fast pace.
Prospects who were busy earlier, will now be easier to get in touch with, and more receptive to having a conversation.
While many employees may be on vacation, companies themselves do not shut down for the holidays.
If you are selling a business critical solution, here’s your chance to make the sales pitch. Talk to them about why the switch has to be made now—minimal impact on the ecosystem, employees, and data.
“Hey Susan, this is a great time of the year to implement the solution and get your team onboard. There will be minimal impact on your business if you do it now, than wait until next year.”
3. Offer a time-sensitive discount
If you are following up with a prospect who is a good fit and had previously committed to a purchase, offer him/her a time-sensitive discount to create a sense of urgency.
“If you buy before the year-end, you will get a discount of 20%. You’ll miss out on this discount if you purchase next year.”
4. Fix a firm appointment for the next year
If the prospect has a firm reason to wait until the next year, don’t keep pushing—especially when you have a good rapport with him or her. Instead, fix a firm appointment for the start of the next year.
“Does 2 pm on 5th January work for you?”
You can also consider assigning a task to them, like sharing resources to go through before your next meeting. It also helps to send a follow-up email a few days before the meeting, as a reminder for them to go through your resources and materials.
Warm up your cold prospects
It’s frustrating to watch a once-piping hot prospect becoming cold as ice.
Especially when you know they are reading your emails and looking at your website, but for some reason aren’t responding to you.
But just because a promising prospect went cold doesn’t mean they are dead. Rather than making them sit in the back burner, take the chance to get in touch with them again. Revive old opportunities by warming them up and putting them back into your sales campaigns.
Here are three effective steps to reheat your cold prospects:
Step 1: Create a sales cadence
One effective way to get in touch with cold prospects is to diversify your outreach across multiple channels. Some prospects are more receptive to a phone call after lunch, while others are more receptive to personalized emails or LinkedIn InMail.
The best way is to create a sales cadence, and accumulate as much information as possible about your cold prospects.
Here’s an example of a two-week sales cadence and what we call ‘The Aggressive Approach’. This cadence works best for short sales cycles and small deal size.
Business day 1: Send an automated email with the information you would like to share. Send a LinkedIn connection request, with a well-worded note.
Business day 2: Call in the morning; if there’s no response, call in the afternoon.
Business day 3: Send a personalized email in the morning. Call in the afternoon.
Business day 5: Send a follow-up email with a different value-add. Send a LinkedIn message in the afternoon.
Business day 7: Call in the morning. Call in the afternoon; leave a voicemail and email if there’s no response.
Business day 10: Send the quasi-breakup email (permission to follow up). Send a text message in the afternoon.
Business day 12: Send a LinkedIn message in the morning, and call in the afternoon.
Business day 14: Call in the morning. Call in the afternoon; leave a voicemail and email if there’s no response.
Business day 15: Call in the morning. Send a breakup email in the afternoon.
If the prospect responds on Day 7, he or she will exit the sales cadence because they would have either expressed interest and booked a meeting with you, or asked you to remove them from your mailing list.
Step 2: Run a campaign
One you have chalked out your sales cadence, it’s time to set it up in your CRM system. If you are a Freshsales user, you can automate your cadence by creating workflows and sales campaigns, and also measure the success.
Here are some tips on how you can make sales email campaigns more effective.
1. Remind them of who you are
You have already spoken to these prospects so it’s time to refresh their memories about the conversation you had with them earlier. By reminding them of who you are, they are more likely to recognize your brand and may probably even revive the conversation they had with you.
Here’s an example of an email template which our sales reps send to prospects who signed up, but didn’t proceed further.
2. Personalize your communication
A personalized email stands out from the hundred generic emails your prospects receive each day. And if they have the need, there is a huge chance that they will buy from you.
Here are some of the ways to personalize and begin your emails:
- Knowledge about their website/product:
When you begin the email with information about the prospect’s website or product, it shows that you have done your homework, and grabs their attention.
- Recent news
Start your email with a recent event that has happened to the prospect or the company.
- Find common interests
Dig into your prospect’s social media to find out their likes, dislikes, and interests, and use the research to begin your email. Most people receive tons of emails in their inbox, so an opener with common interests, will stand out.
3. Follow up till they respond
One of the most common questions salespeople ask is “How often should I send follow up emails my prospects?” The answer entirely depends on how they interact with your email.
- For prospects who have responded positively at least once, or have shown some interest- but suddenly went cold: Send follow up emails until they respond. It’s alright even if they firmly say ‘no’, or ask you to stop sending emails. As long as you have their answer, you can move on to other prospects.
- For prospects who have shown very little interest like opening and clicking on your email but haven’t replied: Send follow up emails as long as they respond. Probably the prospect is interested in your offering but hasn’t found the time to respond. You have the chance to show another value-add or benefit of your solution, or address another pain point; so when the prospect is really interested in making a purchase, your solution will be on top of their mind.
- Prospects who aren’t interacting with your email: Send follow up emails six to eight times. There isn’t any point following up with them beyond this. Your emails are probably going to their spam filter, and might just hurt your reputation.
Not all cold prospects are going to turn into hot customers. But, you need to qualify or disqualify them as soon as possible. It’s not worth spending time on prospects who are never going to become customers.
4. Add a little bit of humor
Most people like laughing, so make them laugh! Add a meme or funny emoticons to crack them up. Adding a little bit of fun to your email isn’t going to hurt, and it almost always works.
Step 3. Make them an offer they can’t refuse
You can run a special year-end promotion as a means to reheat your cold prospects. Here are some ways you can do it.
- Discounts: Offer them a year-end, time-sensitive discount, “If you buy before the year-end, you will get a discount of 20%. You’ll miss out on this discount if you purchase next year.”
- Special service: Think about special packages that you can add along with your product. It could be training, implementation, free trial, etc. “If you buy this week, you won’t have to pay for training and implementation.”
While discounts and promotions are a great way to meet your sales goals, there are some drawbacks as well. Customers who receive aggressive discounts are most likely to churn and have low lifetime value.
Missed pipeline in December?
It’s alright if you miss a few opportunities in December. You are working towards building a healthy pipeline for the next year.
So what are your plans to close the sales year strong? Let us know in the comments below.
Cover image by Anandh Ravichandran
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