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The good news is that some of your customers that still have budgets may have to spend them before the end of the year. Other companies must go forward with purchases, investments and initiatives, no matter what is going on with the economy as a result of customer, industry, regulatory or competitive pressures.
The bad news is that buyers may be interested in getting your best price, then waiting to 2003 to actually buy, leaving you high and dry on New Year's eve. Equally as bad for you would be your competitor undercutting your proposal to a price point below which you can sell.
Close whatever business is closeable during December at a price you and your company can live with.
Requalify, focus on what you can win, then get creative.
Requalify. Let's talk about requalifying first. It is imperative that you find out whether your prospect is going to buy before the end of the year, whether they buy from you or someone else. You can't afford to squander precious time on opportunities where (1) they are not going to buy in 2002, no matter what, (2) someone else has already won the business or (3) they are only going to buy at a price below which you are willing to sell.
How do you find out where you stand? Ask the tough questions, ask again, get corroboration, get your allies and coaches to sponsor you to the executive suite (assuming you've not already been there), ask for documentation on the project or initiative, recheck their financial position, and objectively assess where they are in their buying process. For example, are activities associated with their evaluation still moving along at the pace they were? Things should be speeding up, not slowing down near the end of the buying cycle.
Focus. Once you have determined that one or more opportunities are not going to close this month, redirect your energies and resources on those that will close. Zoom in. Here is what you must know:
Dave Stein, after 25 years in sales leadership positions and delivering his own sales training and consulting worldwide, founded ES Research Inc. ESR offers independent, authoritative advice on Sales Training and Consulting and the Companies that provide it through weekly briefs, in-depth reports, online seminars and advisory services. For more information go to www.ESResearch.com or call 508.313.9585
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