It’s that time again! With the end of the year rapidly approaching B2B sales expert Lori Richardson stops by to share her tips for meeting your end-of-year sales goals.
For this week’s Labcast we’re joined by Lori Richardson, founder and CEO of Score More Sales, a sales enablement company that coaches and trains frontline sales team members.
In addition to being a popular blogger, speaker, inside sales trainer, and B2B sales detective for Score More Sales, Lori was also included in our list as one of the Top 25 Sales Influencers of 2012. She sat down with OpenView to share some of her best tips for sales teams looking to close year-end sales and start next year off strong.
Kevin: Hello, and welcome to this edition of Labcast. I’m Kevin Cain, and today I’m joined by one of the greatest sales influencers, Lori Richardson. For those of you who don’t know Lori, she’s a blogger, speaker, inside sales trainer, and B2B sales detective for Score More Sales, a sales strategy organization that she
founded in 2001. Lori also is one of the Top 25 Sales Influencers that we named at the beginning of the year.
Hey, Lori, thanks so much for joining me today.
Lori: Hi, Kevin. It’s great to be here.
Kevin: What I would love to talk with you today is something that’s a little bit timely since the holidays are approaching, end of year is approaching. The question that I think is on some people’s minds is: If you’re in sales, how do you get ready for the end of the year? How do you optimize, because it’s kind of crunch time, right? You want to hit your annual sales goals, but the holidays are coming. People are busy. What’s the best way to do that?
To kind of kick off that conversation, I’m wondering: What kind of impact do you typically see that holidays have on sales?
Lori: Well, it’s a great topic. It’s one that has been talked about recently by a lot of people I know and a lot of sales leaders. I think it’s just keeping the momentum going. For the people that might not hit their quota by the end of the year, we don’t want them to give up. We don’t want them to write off the rest of the time. We want to make sure that they can be working on high value items that are going to help them sell in the very near future.
Kevin: Sure. I was actually reading something today. It was kind of interesting. It said that the holidays are the time to check in, not check out.
Lori: Yeah, exactly. I think about my own circumstances and the people around me personally. They’re scheduling trips, or they have family coming in. There’s all sorts of extra personal things. As a sales leader, you have to be a little sensitive to it and also help keep people structured.
Kevin: Right. What do you see, then, as the main challenges and opportunities that this time of year presents?
Lori: I think it’s an excellent time for leadership to shine, to help keep people focused on the task at hand, both right now and the continued long-term goals of the team and the company. Does that make sense?
Kevin: Sure. Can you elaborate on that a little bit more?
Lori: Yeah. Understand that people are going to be a little squirrelly. Try to incorporate a little more fun. I’ve seen teams that have done that well. Be a little more lighthearted as you can be. Also keep people focused on, “Here’s our number. We’re trying for these many meetings to be set up in January.”
One of the best things about the end of the year is that most people are very willing to meet with you or talk with you after the holidays. If you’re not in dire straits to close business by December 31st, get those meetings set now so that you can come back from the holidays and have eight or ten meetings and webcasts and whatever scheduled already.
Kevin: You had mentioned a minute ago something I just wanted to go back to, the importance of being creative at this time of year with trying to motivate people and keep the momentum. Can you give us some examples of some of the best instances of that you’ve seen?
Lori: Yeah. I like when people reward their people in ways that aren’t just gifts. People love gifts and spiffs and things like that, but giving people a couple hours off early for maybe the most productive salesperson, which you should be able to track through your CRM and other ways, assuming that you are measuring performance in some way. Surprise people, and it’s amazing how it will get the other people around them to say, “I want two hours off. I’m going to try harder next week or tomorrow.”
Kevin: Sure. Are there any specific pitfalls that you see people fall into at this time of year?
Lori: I think people, like you said, they just kind of space out. They just produce lower as a human being. People get overwhelmed, and they forget that there are opportunities to reach people almost every day of the year. For the people that say, “Oh well, you know, all my prospects are gone or they’re taking off,” some people will say, “I’m only going to reach half the people I normally do.” Well, there’s still people to be reached and talked to. It’s actually a very good time to get a hold of people who are kind of getting organized and cleaning things up for the end of the year.
Kevin: Sure. Any other tips or suggestions that you have for our listeners about how to close those year end sales?
Lori: Well, I don’t like tricks and short-term closing. It’s not something that you do to someone. It’s a process. If I’m not ready to buy, probably you’re not going to find a way to get me to be a buyer today. There’s nothing worse than someone that says, “Hey, my sales manager gave me some extra leeway to close this deal.” I just do not like that at all.
Instead, let’s have a relationship where it’s going to happen by the end of the year just because you’ve set the stage for that process to take place. If you haven’t done that ahead of time and it’s not clear to me what’s going on, it might not work by the end of the year. So it may not happen.
Kevin: Right. Another thing that you had mentioned is that a lot of people are really happy to meet you after the holidays, which would give you a really nice start into the new year. Are there other things that people can do to really use this time of year to get ramped up for the new year?
Lori: Absolutely. I love this time of year for getting more organized. There are old school examples and new school examples. An old school example would be it’s a great time to phone strategic partners, people that can refer you business on an ongoing basis. It’s a great time to write a short handwritten note to a coworker, somebody in marketing, or the people that write the paychecks, that process payroll, those things we don’t normally think about.
The new school stuff is working on the metrics. If you’re the sales leader, get your leads processed, organized. Read the OpenView blog that might be piling up in your inbox. This is a really good time to pick a project like that and say, “You know what? We’re going to get this fixed.” Make it a five day, three day, two week process. I think it’s a great time to do those things.
Kevin: That’s really great advice. I appreciate that. Thank you.
Kevin: Before I let you go today, I just wanted you to give the listeners of our podcast some information about you. Where can they follow you, get in touch with you, all that good stuff?
Lori: Thank you. They can find me at ScoreMoreSales.com. I’m on Twitter @Scoremoresales, and pretty much, if you just Google me, I turn up all over the place on the Web. We love for people to comment on the blog. We love feedback. We actually will create new posts based on comments that people make, so that’s always a nice thing.
Kevin: Fantastic. Well, Lori, Happy Holidays to you, and thanks so much for joining us.
Lori: Thank you, Kevin, you, too.