Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tips For Closing An Opportunity At The End Of The Quarter

Is it a rat race? Is it any kind of race?

The end of a fiscal quarter can feel like a race. The days are counting down, revenues are going up, people are requesting information and updates from all parties and more often than not your “To-Do-List” changes continually. The latter part of a sales cycle can be intense, don´t worry, there are steps than can ease the tension and enable you to ensure that you are doing everything possible to close off the Quarter on, if not beyond, target.

  1. Understand The Process – Go beyond knowing that your prospect needs to sign and you need to send an Invoice. Who will sign, where are they based, will they be signing for multiple vendors? In addition understand the procurement and payment process, will they need to generate a PO? To include a sale into a quarter is only dependent on the dates on the paperwork, the amount of Sales people that neglect the purchasers requirements and processes amazes me. Be prepared and understand the processes.
  2. Incentivize - Encouraging a prospect to sign does not necessarily mean discounting. Offer additional value from your product or service range. In addition, illustrate the competitive benefits from starting with you as soon as possible.
  3. Always Be Helping – Communication and offering to do the work yourself is key. Who can you talk to? What can you do? Simply asking for a signed order form is closing, not helping. Provide them with a clear guide on the administration process from your company and all the paperwork they may need, up front.
  4. Outline Post Sale Activity – Be aware that all the discussions leading to a deal can dilute the knowledge on what happens next. The post sale activity can have a huge impact on the desire to sign. For example, what is the lead time to delivery? If the prospect needs your offering for something in particular will they have it in time if they wait to sign? What is the payment terms? Think and offer support from an Account Management and Operational perspective to accelerate signing.
  5. Be Different - You will be amazed how these 4 steps will make you seem different in your approach. Really think about what else you can do to be different. It could be as simple as having eye catching Subject Lines in emails or, for example, send thought leadership pieces to those not in discussions that will be involved in the process like the Accounts Payable team.
Working towards reaching personal or company targets at the end of the quarter does not need to be a race or a time that increases your chance of heart failure. There will be pressure from within, dont ignore this, be comfortable though with what actions you are taking. Be holistic and methodical in your approach and you will increase your chances of success.