The Season of the Witch...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, Sep 18, 2013

Season of the Witch resized 600

 Middle of September.  Definitely frost on the pumpkin this morning and, with
 the leaves already beginning to turn both in Vermont and on the beach, I  realized as I was driving into Boston today, the music switch inside my head
 had selected Donovan's '60s hit song, "Season of the Witch" to let me know
 that Halloween, the first of the fall holidays, was right around the corner.   Yea, good rhythm and mystical lyrics, but more importantly for me that "announcement" in my head was telling me that the fall selling season is well underway.  

In the calendar, the holidays...and vacation days... are..

  • Columbus Day -1 day
  • Halloween-some hours
  • Thanksgiving- 2 or 3 days
  • Hanukah-2 days
  • Christmas- 3 and "more" days 
All days that to some extent we celebrate, and also days, that to a some extent will directly impact my time and my ability to sell stuff. But, more importantly, those same days will directly impact my prospects' abilities to pay attention to my value proposition, my pitch, my demo, or perhaps to my entire selling process.  If that's the case, and I don't plan to counteract the reality of the calendar, I'm guaranteed to hear a lot of the dreaded Q4 putoff..."call me after the end of the year"
Added to those direct holidays will also be the time that the management of my customers and prospects will be spending...
  • closing their own 4th quarter
  • working on their 2014 budgets
  • and strategizing their 2014-2015 business plans
Add to all of these timesinks and distractions, the fact that Forbes on Monday and the WSJ  yesterday came out with weak holiday doom & gloom articles on the upcoming retail holiday buying season.  Good for selling magazines, bad for those of us who are trying to gain focused, unbiased time with our prospects in a still-fragile economy.   
What was interesting for me to discover from those articles is that the selling time in terms of the actual number of consumer buying days between Thanksgiving and Christmas will be at a record low this year.  Last year, a record high number of days; this year, a record low.  The simplicity of what that means is that you can't sell if there's no one around to buy.  A bit easier in the retail sector, of course, since that prospective consumer can buy online anytime and anywhere.

Not so, in the real work of B2B sales.  By my count, as of next Monday, we have about 60 good selling days in the year.  60 brings us up to Friday, December 20th. Given where Christmas falls the next week, my expectation that it's going to be impossible to get much focus or any meetings that week, and the final week of the year will be for finalizing signatures on deals that will have been sold much earlier in the month.   

Bottom line:  about 60 selling says left.   
Sounds like a lot?  Sounds like too little?   Doesn't really make any difference what it "sounds" or "feels" like.  Success is entirely dependent on how closely you've mapped out your...

One more thing.

Positive attitude about salesCould you do me a favor with your positive, winning attitude that I know you carry around all of the time? 

When anyone asks you over the next 60 days, "How's business?" could you tell them a very positive story? If for no other reason than to beat up the Doom & Gloom business writers and editors!

With time management, with process, with tactical enablement and with planning ahead all of the time over the next 60 days, we won't have to wake up any morning with Donovan's warning of "Oh, no, it's the season of the witch" bumping around in our head.
Good Selling...  

 Jack Derby 
 Head Coach

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