The understatement of the year? Selling in 2022 has been difficult.
As we look to the end of Q4, external factors continue to play havoc with our ability to win new business. From the lingering effects of the pandemic to supply chain disruptions to continued inflation, we’re fighting an unpredictable economic environment – and yet, there are reasons to be hopeful.
To close business in Q4, you must be strategic, deliberate and honestly evaluate your opportunities to determine where you’ll have the most impact – it all comes down to these five keys.
Step 1: Power
Let’s face it – relationships with potential buyers are hard-won these days.
After weeks or months of carefully building rapport with a champion, sellers are rightfully hesitant to do anything that may put that relationship at risk.
However, if your champion does not have the power to buy, they will never buy.
It’s as simple as that.
For proven techniques on engaging C-level executives, watch this refresher video.
Now that you know how to access decision-makers, don’t forget to form a solid understanding of the prospect’s buying process and identify everyone who can influence the deal. After all, 86% of sellers have lost a deal or had it delayed in the past year by a decision-maker changing roles (Linked State of Sales 2022).
Step 2: Differentiation
You’ve forged relationships with the entire buying committee. Well done – but will they change?
You might sell consulting services or janitorial supplies or SaaS. At the end of the day, we’re all selling the same thing: change.
And change is frightening, especially with a potential recession looming on the horizon. You must provide buyers with a clear and compelling reason to change.
To do that, ensure you’re truly differentiated. Being different will make marketing’s job easier, but true differentiation takes place on the customer level when you connect your solution to the prospect’s unique business issues.
To evaluate your position, ask yourself:
- Why does your difference matter?
- Does your prospect care about your differentiator?
- Have you connected your solution to your prospect’s business issues and drivers?
Step 3: Business and Personal Value
Say it with me: People make logical, business decisions for personal, emotional reasons.
Yes, you must first build an airtight case for the ROI of your solution, demonstrating how it will impact the prospect’s company and further its business goals.
Then you must do the same on the individual level.
From outreach to contract signing, always focus on the buyer’s agenda to ensure the value you’re offering is quantified on both levels.
Step 4: Process, Plan, Timing
‘Tis the season of holidays and treasured time with loved ones… and the season of travel, purchasing deadlines and surprise out-of-office responses.
To close business in Q4, ensure you’re aligned on three crucial elements:
- Process: Do you have a thorough understanding of the prospect’s buying process? How many signatures will be on that PO? How long will the contract take to get through procurement? You’ll need to understand every step along the way to avoid costly surprises.
- Plan: Do you have a mutual plan in writing? The most important word in that sentence is mutual.
- Timing: Expenses may need to be pushed into the next quarter, or it might be advantageous to use up year-end dollars. Get creative with terms and conditions to make it easier to buy.
Step 5: Objections and Surprises
Nothing sidelines a deal like last-minute objections.
If this happens to you, take it in stride. After all, objections at this stage are often requests for more information in disguise. Remember to get them all out on the table so that you can dispel them all and move the deal forward.
Need a refresher? You can always rely on this five-step process for handling sales objections.
Now that we’ve covered the five keys to closing sales in Q4, you’re good to go, right?
Well, not so fast.
There’s one final question to ask yourself: What are you missing?
Have you uncovered all internal deadlines within the prospect’s company? Does legal have a cutoff date for reviewing contracts? When will everyone who needs to sign go on vacation for the holidays? Find out now and adjust your timeline accordingly.
Despite the challenges we face as sales professionals, there will always be problems worth solving. Salespeople who come with solutions to pressing business problems and can demonstrate the impact on the organizational level will not only find sales success – they will become vital to businesses that thrive in 2023 and beyond.
Start that journey today by using the checklist above to ensure that the crucial Q4 deal you’re chasing comes through on time.
Until next time, happy selling,