Peeking Ahead to Q1? Why Ignoring Q4 is a Very Bad Idea

Go Get It!

It’s the fourth quarter. Your sales numbers aren’t where you’d like them to be. The calendar is changing. The minutes are ticking down. Tick-tock.

You may be feeling discouraged, annoyed, even angry. You can do all that. Or, you can get motivated.

Recently, I heard a sales consultant tell a team that they should forget about closing Q4 deals if they weren’t already close to achieving this year’s revenue goal.  The only value to Q4, this consultant argued, is that it presents an opportunity to get a jumpstart on Q1. He advised the reps turn their attention to laying groundwork for next year.

And he was dead serious.

That’s not how I see it. If this were a football game, the players wouldn’t give up in the fourth quarter. Rather they’d push harder, looking for every opportunity to score points. And when there are two minutes to go, they find still more power, take more risks and never concede the win until the last second of the game.

Why should a salesperson treat Q4 any differently than the other three quarters of the year? Opportunities are still there and you’ve still got quotas, targets, and annual revenue goals to shoot for – right up until December 31. For me, quitting on Q4 to look ahead to Q1 is akin to a football team walking off the field in the fourth quarter of a game so it can rest up and prepare for its next one. That’s not going to happen. Nor should it happen with you.

You’ve still got time to close more deals and make more money. Why wouldn’t you give Q4 your full attention?

3 Excuses for Abandoning Q4 (and Why They’re All Bogus)

With over 25 years of sales experience, I’ve heard every excuse business owners and reps make for why Q4 is a dismal time to sell.

It’s the holiday season – prospects aren’t in the office and they don’t want to hear from me. I’m too far behind – even if I worked my tail off, I couldn’t make our target. To close any deal, I have to slash our prices and we can’t afford that.

What do I think about those excuses? They’re incorrect, self-defeatist drivel. Here’s why:

  1. “No one wants to talk business during the holidays.” Do companies suddenly shutter their windows in November and December, plan their holiday parties and give their staff time off? Do they ignore their biggest challenges or top initiatives to focus on in January? No. Someone is working and, believe it or not, it’s often easier to reach those people because they’re more relaxed and open to chat.
  2. “There isn’t enough time left to do anything meaningful.” Most of the small and midsize companies we work with have average sales cycles of 60-120 days for new clients. So, yes, there are some deals that just won’t close before year-end, but there are plenty of others that could. While we don’t have 120 days left, there’s still time to close add-on sales, upsells, and fast moving 30-45 day opportunities.
  3. “Because it’s year-end, prospects and clients expect a discount.” Guess whose fault that is? Because so many sales reps now manage Q4 with such nonchalance, customers have begun to expect fire sales and slashed prices. When you sound desperate or frantic, prospects smell blood in the water and take advantage of the situation. When the tone of your emails and phone calls is confident and built around a clear business case, you can manage your prospecting with the same confidence you have in March or April.

Boom or Bust: How Will You Close Out Q4?

I don’t let those business owners, sales leaders or sales reps off the hook with excuses. I’m not going to let you off, either. Think of me as your own personal football coach pushing you to find the energy and drive to take more risks so you can close more sales and make more money.

You can still make your Q4 target.

But to achieve your goal, you need to fully commit to the next few months just as you would in Q1. The payoff for doing that can be significant. The payoff for quitting on Q4? I’m guessing you can figure that one out on your own.   

As you can tell, I’m passionate about the sales opportunities available to you in Q4. So passionate that we’ve just written a new ebook to give you 10 sales strategies to close the year strong. Get your free copy to find last minute opportunities and boost your sales in Q4.

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