How to Identify Your Sales Windows
An essential part of selling is identifying the weeks that you have in a year to sell and when, at other times, you may find it harder to sell. These ‘sales windows’ might be obvious to seasoned sellers. To me, initially, it was not and was an aha moment (Not in a ‘Take On Me’ sense).
In my market of prospects, there are 3 particular periods when prospects are focussed on other important challenges and opportunities; Easter, Summer, and Christmas. This may be similar for the market you are targeting.
I suggest printing a simple monthly and weekly calendar, as shown above. Then mark all the weeks that you believe are windows to sell. For examples, I have not highlighted the first 2 weeks of January because my prospects are pulling together their post-Christmas analysis. And in April, depending on when Easter falls, my prospects are either planning for Easter, executing their Easter plans or analysing the results. My prospects start focussing on Christmas in mid-November. Therefore, 25 weeks remain, which is just under half of the year.
Your Prospect’s Budget
Like every business, your prospect will have a budget that they need to adhere to. With the current business climate, it is more important than ever that they do not overspend. In the UK the most popular fiscal year is April to March and it is different in every country.
This information is useful to know. It means that your sales windows of the second half of January and February might be the last windows for your prospect to gain approval during the month of March for next year’s budget.
There are some companies in the UK that have a fiscal year to match the calendar year. In which case, the second half of September and the first half of October might be the last windows for your prospect to gain approval during the second half of October and the first half of November, for next year’s budget.
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Focus on the ‘Right’ Half
Your chances of selling in the wrong half are much smaller than selling in the right half. This means that in the weeks when you know that selling is harder you could spend your time planning to sell more effectively and more efficiently. Maybe planning an email or postal campaign, making 20 better calls a day, or whatever works in your market. The essence is to focus in the right half when your prospect is more available and ready to listen.
Of course, you may want to do some selling in the ‘wrong’ half, just remember how frustrating it can be. For example, ‘The Silly Season’ – During the second half of July and August children are on holiday, which means that most families take 2 weeks on holiday. To quote one prospect from yesteryear,’…And I’m away for the first two weeks of August which means the other two I’ll be catching up, so let’s talk in September’. You may say, it’s only 1 person away for 2 weeks, the world won’t stop. And you are right.
The reality of the challenge is not only will your prospect be working hard because they are on holiday soon. They will be focussing on the ‘right’ things and then be doing the same when they get back. Also, their boss is likely to be away the other two weeks so that they can cover the office between them.
The result is that between them they’ll have 4 weeks away, plus 1 to 2 weeks before, each, focussing on other things. The same goes for each when they return. For at least 6 weeks, therefore, a decision about your business is unlikely. That is unless what you are selling is really important to what they are trying to achieve.
I can hear my old sales coach, Richard White, saying, ‘That’s the point – Make it more important’. I get it and he’s right. The more your product solves their problem, the more important it is. Moreover, the more hurdles, like people being on holiday, will disappear. He’s right. I am offering a balance of when it is ‘right’ to sell along with Richard’s highly recommended tools for selling more effectively.
Sales Windows in Summary
- Identify better weeks for selling than other weeks using a calendar.
- Identify the critical weeks for decisions being made about budgets.
- Plan to make the weeks that are better for selling more effective.
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