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5 Sales Prospecting Tips to Combat the End-of-Quarter Blues


Seeing as this is the end of the year, I suspect many of you may be feeling what I like to call the “end-of-year blues.” It’s a positive time to be a consumer, especially if you are planning to buy a car, as you can often use this end-of-quarter or end-of-year blues to secure larger than normal discounts from desperate and starving sales reps.


For inside sales reps, on the one side, you’re getting the brush off from prospects who want to call you back next year instead. The end of a period is a time when your prospects have other fires burning bright. Often, they use those other priorities as an excuse to put buying decisions on hold – especially if you’re selling to publicly traded companies. “I need some more time,” “let me think about it” and “call me back next (month, quarter or year)” are three of the most frustrating phrases you’ll ever hear in sales.

Try these 5 great ideas to help overcome any unwarranted delays:

1. Offer alternatives.

Once when I was selling software, we offered to split an invoice in two, charging the customer for the software in March and the maintenance in April. Because the payments were split, the order fit better into her quarterly budgets and the customer was able to make the deal right away. Can you think of a creative way to help your customers say yes right now?

2. Question them into a corner – and close them when they get there.

Tell your clients: "I would be happy to call you back next month. Do you mind if I ask: what will have to be different in January to make you want to buy from me then?" Or take the opposite approach, and ask: “Will anything change over the next few weeks that will cause you not to buy?" Once the prospect assures you that they do want to do business with you, you can respond with: "Great! Let's get your order into production now so your project won’t be delayed, and we'll deliver it after January 1st.” One Engage client offers to ship his product in advance and the invoice later, so that his customers can benefit from having the product on site while paying for it later. Of course, he only does this with clients who have excellent credit. But it works great – and he never has to discount his prices!

3.  Use the “F” word.

Agree with your clients, and then disagree, by offering an alternative: “I know how you feel. Other clients of mine have told me that they felt the same way. What they have found is that they can save up to 20% if they buy now. Are you sure you don’t want to save this money now?”

4. Get a testimonial letter.

Testimonials are the most powerful tool in your arsenal. They’re also a sales person’s best friend (next to my dog Conrad, of course!). Ask someone who bought before the quarter end, or any client who accelerated their purchase and was glad they did so, to write you a two-paragraph letter. The first paragraph should state how they originally wanted to wait, and the value they received by not putting it off – for example, did they save money? Time? The second paragraph should detail how happy they are with your after-sales service.

5.  Get scarce!

Remind your customers (if it’s true!) that the price will be going up after a specified date or that there might be a product or delivery back-up after the 1st of the month, and advise them to schedule delivery now. If your business is service oriented, then let your prospect know that you have the capacity to efficiently execute their service now and will make for easier planning going into the new year.

If the prospect is dead set on delaying until 2015 make sure you lock them in now for a commitment in 2015:

1.  Make the customer be specific.

"Thanks for letting me know that next month is better for you. What date would you want to place the order?” Or: “I would be happy to call you back next month. Would Tuesday, January 11th at 10:00 a.m. work for you?"

2.  Control the call back.

Don’t take “don’t worry – I’ll call you!” as an answer. You need to stay in control of the follow-up. I suggest you say: “Thanks for wanting to stay on top of this, Bob. How about, if I don’t hear from you by the 15th, I’ll call you on the 16th at 10:00 a.m.?”

End of year put off aren’t valid objections you can deal with. They’re stalls. And stalling is twice as frustrating because it almost always masks a real objection. When you get a stall, you have to figure out how to dance around it, find the real objection, handle it – and then get the deal back on track. Using the seven ideas above will ensure you reduce the stall and accelerate your sales!

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About the Author   |   Colleen Francis

Sales expert, best-selling author and founder of Engage Selling (, Colleen Francis arms her clients with innovative and proven sales strategies that deliver results. Start improving your sales today with her The Sales Leader newsletter – packed with cutting edge insights from Colleen:

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