How businesses can beat the January lull
Tis the season for the sale slump, or is it? Salespeople who diligently focus on prospecting during the holidays will have a much better first quarter of 2014 that sets them up for a significantly successful year, more than those salespeople who hide behind the holidays.
The best way to overcome the January lull in sales is to be strategically proactive in December.
There is no reason for anyone in sales to be ho-hum in January. In fact, if someone experiences a lull in sales in January, they need to look within themselves and take responsibility immediately. It is unnecessary to start a new year in a slump. There is no scarcity of opportunity. There is no scarcity of prospects. Salespeople need to be strategic; get a structure in place that works for them and then take action.
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Many salespeople take a mental vacation from Thanksgiving to the Monday after New Year’s Day. That equates to well over a month! Here are the most common excuses:
- “Our prospects are too busy with their holiday plans. They are not in the buying mode.”
- “It’s holiday time. Our prospects are too busy with shopping, parties and holiday plans.”
- “Prospects are distracted by all the holiday events to seriously consider buying decisions.”
- “Prospects don’t want to meet with salespeople over the holidays.”
However, there are salespeople who see the holidays as the best time of year to prospect. They are strategizing their prospecting. They are planning on attending events with a keen ear to opportunities in addition to celebrating this time of year. They are planning on sharing their achievements which will increase their credibility with people they are in conversation with. This is an exceptional time of year to ask people, “What has the highlight of 2013 been for your business?” This leads to delicious business conversation. If the person is half-way savvy, they will in-turn ask the salesperson the same question. What a great opportunity to strategically promote yourself.
Top salespeople believe that due to the holidays, many decision makers are in their offices planning for 2014. They believe that decision makers have some strategic decisions to make between now and the end of the year.
Now is the time to implement at least five proactive prospecting conversations every business day during the holidays. Setting that intention affects your business in a very deep way that is setting you up for a bright future. Focus on the fact that whatever you are doing proactively today, you are creating in your future.
Whatever you believe, you will create situations to validate your beliefs. If you believe that prospects are unwilling to engage with salespeople during the holidays, guess what? You will create situations to validate your belief. Your belief will be true for you.
The four energy blocks that keep salespeople from achieving their goals are: limited beliefs, assumptions, perceptions/interpretations and their inner critic who sits on their shoulder and whispers negative intruding thoughts in their ear. The good news is that you can identify your energy blocks and find a solution to transform each one of them.
The perspective that prospects are too busy with their holiday plans to engage with salespeople can become your reality.
Let’s explore and challenge that perspective:
- Prospects are in their offices and not traveling as much, this is the perfect time of year to pop in and introduce myself.
- Prospects are making plans for 2014 and my product/service is something that they need to know about now.
- This is an exceptional time of year to stay visible with prospects. I’ll drop by their office with an appropriate gift and will ask if they are in.
- Prospects are more open at this time of year to go out to lunch and spend a few extra minutes. I’ll call and invite them to lunch.
- Most people are in a good mood during the holidays and they are more open to engage with salespeople.
Now choose which perspective you want to, circle it and say: “I choose that one.” Then get moving!
Focus is absolutely vital. Clarity is power. When you focus on your new business development plans and then get your ‘ask’ in gear you will be sure to ‘receive.’ This is a mindset that will serve you well.
What would it be like to stay proactive in December and experience significant business results in January? That question is a profound question that will rewire your brain if you allow yourself to ponder on the answer. It will interrupt the negative pessimistic perspectives and take your brain and creativity to a place it’s never been before.
In our culture, we have been raised to believe that we must see it before we’ll ever experience it. However, science has proven that we have to believe it before we’ll ever see it.
Get busy now with your strategy. If you are stuck and lacking creativity, engage a coach to help you.
The greatest leaders of all walks of life see everything as an opportunity. They are calm, powerful, entrepreneurial-minded, confident and are in control of their lives and they realize they choose their life experience.
Have fun this holiday season and smile all the way to the bank in January 2014.
About the author
Connie Kadansky is a certified coach, professional speaker, and trainer specializing in Overcoming Sales Call Reluctance®. She offers effective tools and training to diagnose Sales Call Reluctance and assists salespeople and financial advisors in highly profitable prospecting. Connie facilitates the Fear-Free Prospecting and Self Promotion Workshops® in the United States and Canada. For additional information, contact Connie at (602) 997-1101 or email her at [email protected].
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.