What Makes November the Wicked Month?...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, Oct 30, 2013

Vermont in November resized 60030 years ago, during one of my "I think I will once again try to live in Vermont" sojourns, I remember working high on a mountain ridge one cold, wet fall morning pouring cement that we had laboriously carted up by buckets in ATVs for the footings on a microwave tower.  It was November and long gone were the colorful fall leaves and smiling tourists visiting the antiques fair down in the postcard-pretty town Weston.  It was back to the hardscrabble work of running a commercial masonry company building a series of towers all along the spine of Vermont.  That November and December, we worked until the ground froze hard with most daybreaks spent chopping through the ice that had crusted over our water storage from the overnight freeze.  It was during that period of what seemed to be a never-ending expedition of increasingly cold, wind-whipped, ugly, steel-gray days that I made a decision that I was moving back to Boston and would do everything I could to avoid November in Vermont. 

So, it's with a bit of trepidation that I head out to Vermont this weekend as soon as the UnConference ends on Friday afternoon to deal with the last of the prep-for-the-winta' chores of hauling in the rest of the wood from the woodlot.  Three cords already delivered and neatly stacked in the wood tent by Tom the Wood Guy, which means that I can now haul in the last two cords that I cut and stacked up by the maples on the ridge at the edge of the property...or maybe it's my neighbor's woodlot.  Can't figure out the property line anymore, but he hasn't been around for years now so hopefully he won't mind.  Plus, there's already snow on the ground as seen in this photo, with more coming this weekend that will cover up my tracks.


  • clearly the grayest of the months
  • we lose an hour so it's even darker more quickly
  • ain't summa'; ain't winta'; it's 'tween, and...
  • there's somewhere between 34-37 selling days before yearend

Depending on how you count your "days to sell" between this Friday and the 31st of December, it doesn't really matter since it's not about you.  You can count the number of days all you want, but, in the reality of the calendars...

  • No one is going to be talking to you the day before or after Thanksgiving
  • Same thing for December 23rd-27th or the 31st

Plus, there's all that non-available time when both decision makers and purchasing types are working on their own budget planning for next year, their submission of their 2014 bonus plans, their personal holiday shopping and attending company parties and everything else that gets in the way of you making your sales quota.  All of this at the expense of you merely trying to get an order from them before the end of the year.  How inconsiderate?

Not a lot to ask for is it? 

Well, in the reality of sitting on that cold mountain top, working hard before the ground freezes over at the end of December and chopping through the ice every morning just trying to free up someone's time, yes, it is a lot to ask for

So, right now, -as in this week if not today-you need to decide on those specific tactics that you're going to use to break through the cold, open up the communication lines to get that next meeting on the books, and advance your opportunities to the end of the funnel.  Here are a few sales suggestions, but I expect that you will come up with even better ones, so please share them with the rest of our readers.

Top 10 Sales Activities Jack's 10...

1. Don't think "results; think "activities" to get to those results

2. I love spiffs. Hand out big Q4 spiff packages now to overachieve

3. Travel like crazy in the next 2 weeks. F2F moves the funnel

4.Focus only on Needle-Movers-top 10 Key Accounts only 

5. Focus only on your "A" players-get them to execute on A+ activities

6. Hone your Value Proposition to razor exactness and messaging

7. Ask what you need to do to close, shut up and listen to your prospects

8. Unbalance your time to focus only on Q4 

9. 2014 planning is important, but it can wait.  Can't believe I said that!

10. This period is all about you. Be fit, be healthy, be focused, be strong! 

 Good Selling...and a good November! 

 Jack Derby 
 Head Coach

Linked In and Sales


Tufts Marketing
Each semester at Tufts, over a period of 13 weeks, I engage 30-35 students in a unique, hands-on, tools-based experience of preparing them for the real world of business in general and specifically the complexities of working in today's environment of Marketing and Sales.

Which leads me to look for 6 new companies each semester. 

Right now, I'm taking applications for the spring, 2014 semester.  If you're interested, please email me at jack@derbymanagement.com, and I will send you an overview of what's involved and instructions.  Last June, we had 32 companies request information, and we accepted 6.  A truly unique opportunity for both your company and our students.

Save the Date:  April 6th-8th, 2014

Click HERE for information about our next Sales Management Boot Camp.

  • Perfectly timed for new sales management skills for 2014
  • Focused on you and what it takes to enable your team
  • Process, tools, tactics, and technology in a Sales 2.0 world
  • Only 30 managers accepted
  • Always sold out so register early!





Tags: Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, sales, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales management boot camp, sales producitivity