Holiday season is not an excuse to miss sales quota

Your best advantage during the lead-up to New Year is to lean into the fact that it's the holiday season. Make next year the enemy.

The holidays are a wonderful time of year: cheer, spirit, and fun. But, many sales managers accept that business slows down in the days or weeks before New Year, and the sales team’s activities and efforts are less necessary. 

Let me be clear: this complacency will cause a dip in sales and prevent you from achieving your sales goals. Your sales team will miss connecting with key decision-makers and qualified prospects and spend the New Year digging back in.

This is unacceptable. 

So, does the holiday season impact your sales? No. Most sales professionals will find their sales will slow a few days before Christmas, all the way to New Year. However, high-performing teams plan to meet monthly or quarterly quotas irrespectively. And it should be said all year round. 

Let’s address some of these holiday season myths and excuses that any mediocre sales manager will make, hurting your sales process these holidays. And let’s address how you can use the holiday to help close more deals. 

sales leader speak with prospect and sales team

Is the holiday slump real for sales activities?

Current research suggests businesses that prioritize generating leads, sales calls, and new business over the December holidays reach significant sales success. Prospects and potential clients continue looking for business solutions in December.

Data also shows that web traffic remains steady until only a few days before Christmas. And the holiday break traffic dip is far less than most people anticipate.

Furthermore, pre-Christmas generated leads turn into viable prospects at a higher-than-average rate leading to increase productivity.

It is important to note that web traffic through marketing dips further the week after New Year’s, but conversion rates for leads generated in that time are often above average for the rest of the month.

New business can increase significantly at the start of the new year, and with your sales team motivated to close deals, these sales opportunities will stay open to you.

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How to close deals around the holidays

The best way to close deals this holiday season is to lean into the idea of the holiday season.

Too many salespeople shy away from closing deals around Christmas and New Year.

I hear this regularly from within most sales teams:

Sales rep: “We’re going into Christmas, so let’s catch up in the new year.”

Decision maker: “Wow, this is great. Let me think about it.”

Then, the sales representative gets off the sales calls, and it will be almost possible to chase down the potential customer. Your potential customer will constantly put off deciding because of the holidays.

The best way to close deals this holiday season is to lean into the idea of the holiday season. Make the New Year the enemy.

sales leader speak with prospect and sales team

Make next year the enemy

Anticipate the resistance you will get from your prospect, decision-makers, and clients over the holidays, and deal with it head-on.

They will likely say:

“With a short week coming up, I can’t get approval.” 

Deal with that resistance head-on, whether you address them via email, Zoom, or in person. 

Here is the script:

The holidays are fast approaching. The last thing I want is for this to drag into next year.

In this sentence, you make next year the enemy. If the deal goes into next year, we’ve all failed. 

Let’s wrap up this process before the end of the year. Do you want to proceed? 

We’re walking into a short week. So, let’s make this decision.

Talk about completing the process and the “approaching deadline,” and people are naturally more inclined to make a decision. 

The reality is they already know whether they will say yes or no. 

If they wait, your sales team will get a bunch of notes or yeses in the new year. That’s what ultimately happens.

It’s counter-productive. Guide them to decide before the deadline.

When your sales team hides from the topic of holidays, you let customers get away with the extra time that does not serve you. 

Have a direct conversation and address the need to decide and complete the sales process

sales team

Get your sales team motivated

Sales leaders, your sales training and daily standup meetings or huddles are essential in December.

Start with a relevant discussion with a thought-provoking question, challenge, or action items related to the seasonal sales problems that will persist this month.

Get your sales team engaged in role play and workshopping the talk track above.

It gets your sales reps’ mouths moving: you’re warming them up and increasing the salespeople’s intensity.

Giving and rehearsing the talk track with your salespeople is more productive. It will help them stay focused on sales calls and client meetings.

Finish these meetings with a pipe-check (sales pipeline check-ins.)

You need to stress test your team shots; otherwise, how do you know if your salespeople are making them?

You don’t want assurances now.

Finally, ensure your systems reward your sales teams to sell more and not just make quota; reinforce these behaviors with pay structures and incentives.

Get a Team Assessment

Optimize your sales team with Kolbe and PRINT® assessments to identify team-member strengths and motivators and illuminate bad-fit placements.

Managing office hours over the holiday break

No. I don’t advocate working your sales team into the ground these holidays. Each team member will take time off over the holiday season. But the logic applies here.

Your sales professionals will take a few days off, maybe a week. There are still another 2-3 weeks to hustle and make deals.

Remember, sales reps only need to close six deals that month to meet their goals. It is their job to figure it out. Importantly, your sales goals stay the same irrespective of the holiday season.

If my sales representatives have agreed on a quota for that December month, then I expect them to hit it.

So, if your employees choose to take a few days off or a week, your salespeople make it up before or after they take time off.

It’s just that simple.

There is no need for a business dip.

sales hiring and sales team

Boost your sales with Rose Garden

So, should your sales slow over the holidays? Yes. But you should still smash quota. You should smash quota all year-round.

Let me be clear, if you were going to find the solution to your selling problems, you would have solved them by now.

You likely need support to solve them.

You can’t afford to leave anything up to chance. 

We help close deals faster and at a higher rate. Rose Garden is solutions-focused, using Team Assessment or our Sales Accelerator Process to provide you with an in-hand diagnostic and sales experience roadmap for quick results.

New businesses must stay up-to-date and ahead of the competition in today’s ever-evolving sales landscape. We provide Founders and CEOs with hands-on coaching to create systems & strategies to scale their sales teams.

You can’t afford to leave anything up to chance.

About the author:

Ali Mirza is the Founder & CEO of Rose Garden, a national sales consulting organization, and featured in Forbes, Inc, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Business Rockstars, and The Wall Street Journal.

Ali is a highly sought-after public speaker presenting at multiple national conferences on innovative ways to accomplish transformational growth on your sales team.

Rose Garden provides unparalleled support and guidance to growth-minded founders via sales strategy differentiation, world-class sales culture creation, and exclusive playbooks, processes, and scripts to position them for limitless growth.

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