It’s the holiday season, and we are all too familiar with the escalation of hustle and bustle that comes with the end of the year. Our calendars get filled up with holiday parties, shopping, school functions and trips to see extended family — life is crazy. Life is even crazier as a salesperson going through the holiday madness as well as the last month of Q4. So how do we sales folks stay focused on closing our year out strong through the month of December? Check out my tips and tricks for sales success in the fourth quarter.
- Calendarize your work and holiday schedule. Starting in October, go into your Outlook calendar and start adding all of the PTO that you need and reminders of holiday parties and school plays. This way, nothing will get lost in the craziness of December, and you will have nice reminders.
- Organize your opportunities. If you are putting a lot of effort into a C or D opportunity, stop and leave it until the new year. Put your focus into your top A and B opportunities that are further in the sales cycle. Remember that “No” or “Not right now” is OK because it is still an answer and gives you the insight to focus on deals more likely to close.
- Don’t waste time on meaningless tasks. We are all guilty of making to-do lists and adding tedious mind-numbing tasks to them because they are easy. Take the “hard” items on your list, whether it’s prospecting, sending out event invites or putting together a presentation, and set a timer to work on them for 15 minutes. Anyone can work on something and stay focused for 15 minutes. When time is up, you generally realize that it wasn’t as bad as you thought and you should have started sooner.
- The average attention span of an adult is 20 minutes — probably shorter for sales executives based on our general A-type personalities. Therefore, it is OK to give yourself breaks during the work day. When I feel mentally exhausted, I find a good stopping point, grab a neighbor and go on a walk around the building. Getting outside during the work day will do wonders (pending weather, of course), so make some time to get up, get your blood flowing and get outside to take a break.
- Do one thing a day for you that makes you happy and relieves stress. Whether it is working out, painting, reading a bedtime story to your kids, cooking, drinking a glass of wine or playing with your pet, make some room for “me” time. Me time is already reduced to nothing during the holiday season, so if you need to block out 30 minutes in the morning on your calendar to go for a run, do it.
- Hold yourself accountable to the two previously stated points: Take breaks and do one thing a day that helps you relieve stress. If you don’t schedule it into your day or make it a priority, you will let it fall to the wayside. When we don’t take a little time for ourselves every day, we start to see it affecting our health and sleeping patterns, and eventually it will negatively affect our work.
- It’s easy to get down when deals push out into the new year or you’re only $10,000 away from hitting your quota, but it is all about mindset. If you let pessimism and negativity envelop you, it will be way harder to get yourself out of the clutches of self-pity and doubt.
- Be self-aware. When you start to feel down, train your body to think positively. Just like everything else, this takes practice. Listen to music that will pump you up (I recommend Eye of the Tiger), watch a funny cat video or read a motivational quote. Do what you need to bring yourself back up.
- Be grateful. If you stay grateful and thankful for the things you already have in your life, it is hard to keep dwelling on what we don’t have. Ninety percent of what we wish for comes true, so stop agonizing over the 10% that doesn’t.
In conclusion, sales is not an easy profession, but I am here to tell you that if you prioritize, find your stress outlets and stay positive, great results will follow!
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