The more opportunities you have to interact with your prospects, the better, and the end of the year is an opportune time to reach out and reconnect with your clients and prospects to get in front of them prior to the new year.
Below, I have outlined the four main components for productive meetings and conversations with your client or prospect as the year comes to a close.
A sales meeting doesn’t start when your client or prospect walks through the door – it starts back in your office as you review details on their business and what pains they’ve shared with you, if any. Attention to these details will help you carefully prepare for the meeting, and help you identify some potential solutions or scenarios for your client or prospects’ business. It’s always important to make sure you’ve done your homework so you can ask more intelligent questions and show your clients you care enough to be prepared.
2. Setting the Stage
Now that you’re prepared for the meeting or conversation, it’s time to set the stage. Since it’s happening at the end of the year, it’s a great opportunity to review their activity over the past 12 months and discuss how you can best position them for the new year. We recommend using a VIP formula for this meeting: Victories, Impending Events, and Problems. It’s important to find out what’s working, what’s not working, and what changes may be needed in the near future.
This will help your client or prospect see where the gaps are, and what steps you both need to take to have a successful new year. Remember, it’s important to utilize active listening while your client or prospect describes the wins and losses of the past year, before you present a possible solution.
3. Recommending Action
Once you’ve clearly laid out the current scenario, it’s time to recommend action. If you’ve properly prepared and set the stage, all that’s left to present is a viable reason for acting now. Whether making a purchase decision can have tax implications, aligns with your clients’ annual budget, or will better prepare them for the future of their business, discover their incentive for a sense of urgency. Then, you can make a recommendation based on their needs, budget, and timeline for next year.
Once you present your recommendation, give your client or prospect a chance to process and respond. If your discovery and qualification was sufficient and you outlined both parties’ objectives and fears in the beginning of the meeting, you should have an easy time putting a deal together. Remember, at the end of the year it is important to close the sale or close the file on each opportunity. You don’t want any deals losing momentum over the holidays.
4. Next steps
Regardless of whether your client takes action or not, your end-game activity should be the same. Review what you covered in your meeting, plan for when you will interact again, and proceed to the most important step – asking for referrals.
Sometimes, getting a referral this time of year is even easier if your client doesn’t take action. If they see value in meeting with you they will want to return the favor, without a purchase, the best way to do that is through providing you with qualified referrals. They may know of someone else with an immediate need or money they need to spend before year-end.
The added benefit of asking for referrals at the end of the meeting is that it sets the expectation for you to ask again when you see them next. Getting into this routine and adding this step to your sales process will be extremely beneficial to your business.
The end of the year is a busy time for salespeople, but it’s also very important. It serves as a prime opportunity to reconnect with clients or prospects as you head into a new year. By proper preparation, setting the stage, recommending action, and outlining next steps, you can be sure to maximize the potential with your future sales meetings.