With only 10 days till Christmas Day, unless you are in retail, it could be tempting to think that business is done for this year.
‘People are winding down’
‘They won’t make a decision before Christmas’
‘No one is talking about 2021 yet.’
For some this might be true. People are tired, it’s been a particularly tough and draining year. However, it can also be the case that we’re projecting our own mindset on our leads and clients.
In your sales pipeline there will be a mix of vaguely interested leads, qualified leads, leads about to make a decision, clients you have recently completed work for and clients from months ago or longer.
In the next 10 days you could potentially move some of those sales opportunities forward and start 2021 with calls and meetings booked and work commissioned to start. How great would that feel!
Here are some ideas for each of those categories of leads. Your first step might be to put them into categories!
Vaguely interested leads
If they are sitting in this category it’s because you haven’t yet qualified them – so that is your next step. You need to establish what problem they are looking to solve, how important it is to them, their timescales, budget and decision-making process.
Have they shown interest in a particular piece of marketing and you could bring some more insights to that or answer any niggling questions they might have about it?
If, in your head, this sounds like some sort of interrogation it’s not! It is purely a conversation – and one which benefits them as well as you. Framing it is key.
‘Hi X, I see from your email you are interested in finding out more about ABC. Before the busyness of Christmas takes over I want to make sure you have what you need. Can I just ask a few questions about exactly what you’re looking for?’
One of the reasons that qualifying leads is so important is that it helps us agree the next step with potential customers. We find out the timescales they are working to and why those particular timescales are important. And that is gold dust.
Are there any specific events or deadlines that might affect them and which could help determine a decision?
‘ Hi X, I know that you were aiming to make a decision on your branding before Christmas so that you can start the new website early next year, what else can we do to help you meet that timescale?’
Leads about to make a decision
While agreeing a sale might be top of our list it might not be at the top of our lead’s list when they have lots of competing priorities. Our job is to bring it to the top of the pile. It’s all about talking in terms of doing what’s right for the client.
‘Hi Y, when we last spoke we said we would talk today and firm up plans. Let’s see if we can get this all sorted before Christmas and you can start the New Year with everything in place.’
Clients you have recently completed work for
These are possibly the group of leads we are least likely to contact. We’ve just done our best work and solved their problem so why would they want to hear from us again!
Was there some feedback which you could pick up on or simply check whether the solution you provided is doing exactly what you promised?
‘Hi X, how is it working out? Now that you’ve been working with (the solution we provided) for a couple of weeks, are there any questions I can help with? ‘
‘Hi X, thinking about the feedback from the team, I have had a couple of ideas about what else we could do to help. Shall we do that now or book time early in the New Year?’
Clients from months ago
How could you set up the opportunity to speak or meet in the New Year?
Have you developed enhancements to the products they bought from you? Do you have special offers that you know are likely to appeal to them? Do you know how well your solution is working for them?
‘Hi X, great to see how the team have been using the new (solution you provided). There are some useful enhancements we’ve just launched. Let’s get some time to review the current solution and see whether the updates would be worth adding on. Would you prefer to do that before or after Christmas?’
We can scare ourselves by thinking that a sales step needs to be bold and big – and often that’s not helpful or even necessary. Keep taking steps!