The summer season is coming to an end, with many of us looking forward to fall. It’s been a hot summer and it will be nice to get some cool air, turning of leaves, and just a change of pace. For some of us we get locked into the summer doldrums, especially in those severely hot days and nights. And yet for others, being outdoors and in the sunshine bring us energy.
For this column, I would like to focus on the changing of the seasons for businesses and salespeople, although most of what I am about to share could be relevant to almost everyone.
With September comes the end of the 3rd Quarter for the businesses who operate on calendar year, beginning in January and closing the books in December. Depending on the industry and the organization, many times it comes down to the 4th Quarter, just like a football game. Although in football there is a chance for overtime, in business, when the year ends, the year ends.
As people come back from summer vacations, September is usually a strong month for planning and preparing for the things we can do that can have an immediate impact on how we finish the year. And more importantly, how we are all planning for 2023. This is the time to plan and prepare, with most budget decisions and commitments happening before Oct. 31. For some, that budget deadline date is the scariest part of Halloween.
To make the most of the upcoming season, the first thing we need to do is to make sure we have executed against all the planning we did for 2022. Did we do what we said we would do when we said we would do it? Next, we should evaluate where we are and what we can build upon tactically to finish the year as strong as possible. An increase in sales behaviors, creativity in marketing, leveraging existing relationships and referral sources, and maybe an amplification of the social media sources that drive our business.
New products, services, or solutions will not be brought to market within three months — that is aligned with more long-term thinking. So, the best thing we can do is focus on what we can do in the short run that will have the greatest impact on our finish, while positioning us for success in the new year.
In a recent conversation with the chief revenue officer of a technology company, we kicked around the concepts and tactical approaches that their sales team was pursuing. And the idea was not to have the team grind it out, stressing themselves to the max, and getting frustrated. No, the idea was to make the push to finish the year strong as positive, fun, engaging and motivating as possible. Small daily rewards and recognition that cost the company little, but created a fun yet daily competitive environment that are driving greater results.
Then, build upon that with weekly and monthly larger stretch goals and opportunities to win. Not a winner-takes-all approach, but making it so that if everyone exceeds their own personal goals by a certain percentage, everyone had the chance to win. For many organizations, the grind has been especially difficult with labor shortages, resignations, quiet quitters who stay but do the bare minimum, supply chain issues, and just the chaos, confusion and stress happening all around us. And one way to make the most of the upcoming season is to energize and motivate ourselves and our teams in such a way where we all can win and feel good about what we are accomplishing together.
How is the end of the year looking for you personally or professionally? Did you start strong and are looking to finish stronger? Or do you need to get creative and energized to make the most of the upcoming season? I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org, and when we can finish as strong as possible while setting ourselves up for success in 2023, it really will be a better than good year.
Michael Norton is an author, a personal and professional coach, consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator of individuals and businesses, working with organizations and associations across multiple industries.