November can be a beautiful time of year. The smell of fall, the fireplace and NFL playoff battles lining up. It can also be a dangerous time in the life of a sales force or for a salesperson.
This is the time of year where distractions are the rule. Whether it's the holidays, closing the year, or 2011 planning, it is tough to stay focused. It's easy to defer actions to after the new year. Just as it's the beginning of the flu season, it's also the height of the "sales flu" season.
The flu makes life difficult because everything just feels tougher. Your body aches, your brain works a little slower, and it feels like you're always in a fog.
"Sales flu" makes selling tougher because you - and your customers - are just a little less focused, a little off your game, and it becomes easier and easier to do nothing. Sure, there are lots of reasons and rationalizations. We convince ourselves:
- Prospects are just not focused, they'd rather we not call.
- "They'll" just put things off until next year.
- I've worked really hard this year. I need the break. This way I'll come back stronger.
November and December are always dangerous times for the sales flu, but it's especially dangerous now. With the economic displacement we've all gone through, our "sales immune" systems are weak, as momentum is working against us. It is more important than ever that you make sure that you take your sales flu shot and stay focused.
Here's the prescription:
- Set very clear goals and/or milestones that you will measure yourself against between now and the end of the year.
- Focus the goal on effort - not outcomes. Just as physical exercise is one of the best things you can do to avoid the real flu, quality action is the best immunization against the sales variety.
- Get an accountability buddy to push you and hold you accountable to your goals. Unlike the real flu, sharing is critical to avoiding the sales flu.
- Make sure you have two, solid lead conversion events or initiatives planned for early to mid-January to ensure that you get back in the swing of things quickly.
- Take some time off - you deserve it. You've worked hard, you do need to rejuvenate and come into 2011 ready to rock. But take a real break. Don't show up to work and waste your time away - get away (from the office at least). Find something fun to do, read a fun book, catch an exciting movie - and please make sure you get plenty of sunlight.
2011 promises to be a year of opportunity - for those people and organizations healthy enough to capture it.