Welcome to the end of 2021. Where has the year gone? It has flown by, and 2022 is knocking on the door. Salespeople everywhere are pushing through the 2021 finish line and are preparing for a dynamic 2022.
As exciting as a new year is, a new sales year often brings uncertainty and a little anxiety. How will my sales evolve in 2022? Will it be robust? Is it going to be better than 2021? Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are fleeting at the start of a new sales year.
We don’t know how all the macro-environmental issues will impact us in today’s selling environment. For example, how will the pandemic shape our customers’ behavior? How’s inflation going to shape 2022 decisions? How will interest rates impact our clients and us?
Despite all these open questions, uncertainty is ok and expected. Planning to scale the mountain ahead of us makes our profession and industry dynamic and exciting. We must remain agile and open to successfully taking on all of these new challenges. Thinking about conquering new challenges is where my fear goes away, and my optimism grows. I’m excited for 2022.
Before starting 2022, we have some unfinished 2021 sales to close.
Let me share my year-end 2021 sales tips and best practices that can help you get through the tape as strong as possible. Three sales best practices to closing strong this year are:
- Prompt With If to encourage your customer to act;
- Ask for the sales opportunity;
- Open the door to reciprocity – the human behavior of giving a gift after receiving one.
Prompting With If
Let’s start with Prompting With If. This salesperson-to-customer communication approach creates a catalyst or motivation for the customer to act. Prompting With If is a helpful approach to use when you want your customer to move forward, make a decision, finish a deal, or cut the year-end purchase order.
Here’s an example of Prompting With If. When I’m looking to close a deal at the end of the year, I develop a special incentive that I share with the customer and a request for the customer to take action.
It sounds like this, “IF you’re able to move this deal across the finish line before the end of the year, I’ll include free shipping.”
That’s prompting with If. I want to find a way to get my customer excited and motivated to close the deal with me now. Once the customer is interested in my offer, a dialogue begins, a negation follows, and we’re working toward a win-win outcome.
What Prompting With If offer will you share with your customer at the end of 2021? Take some time and write a few examples down. Remember to start with the word “If,” state an action you intend to take, and then ask the customer to work with you to make it happen.
Ask For the Opportunity
The second end-of-year best practice is to Ask for the Opportunity.
I learned a valuable lesson when I ran political campaigns a long time ago. The biggest sin that a candidate for elected office can make is to fail to ask for the vote. A candidate may do everything right during the campaign. She knocked on the doors to talk to the local voters. She prepared and excelled at the debate and gave a great stump speech. Yet, if she didn’t ask this vital question to a voter, “Will you vote for me?” then she’s missed the opportunity to hear the voter commit to pulling the voting level for her.
Every political consultant’s advice with a candidate is to make sure you ask for the vote. Then, encourage the voter to commit to action. “Yes, I will vote for you,” or, “No, I’m not quite there yet. And here are the things that have me concerned.”
Are you asking for the vote from your customer at the end of the year? Stated another way, “At year-end, have you asked your customers for that final sale?”
With a few days left in the year, don’t miss out on a sales opportunity by failing to ask for the sale, opportunity, or business.
The good news is you don’t have to be pushy or aggressive with your ask. I like to ask like this. “You know, it’s getting toward the end of the year. I want to deliver this product to you, so you start the year with it. Would you like to move forward?”
Prepare in advance the ways you’re going to ask for the opportunity at year-end. Then, when you ask, you’ve just given them the perfect opportunity and reminder to say yes to you.
A Gift May Create Sales Reciprocity
Third, consider giving your customer a small gift before the end of the year.
A small token of appreciation, a holiday card, or an extra service you provide are great gift ideas. Ensure your gift is authentic and genuine. When you extend a gift, the customer is likely to return your gift with the gift of a final sale. The behavior of returning a gift is called reciprocity. As humans, we find joy in accepting gifts and want to return a gift of our own. It’s the adage, “I want to return the favor.”
Think about a time in your personal life when someone gave you a gift that you weren’t expecting. What do you do? You may have reciprocated by giving a gift in return.
Reciprocity operates the same way with customers. If you are connected to your customers and believe it’s appropriate to give a gift of some sort, then, by all means, give one. The advantage they give in return may be one last sale of the year.
I wish you success in closing 2021 with sales and success momentum. Then, take a moment to recharge your batteries and sprint into 2022 with confidence and drive.
Good Selling | Good Living | Good Leading