It's Q4 of This Calendar Year, Do You Know Where Your Sales Are? -or- 5 Ways to Close the Year Strong (even if you haven't earned it yet)

So here we are, looking at the final quarter of 2017. The unforgiving hours are looming, when the mundania of preparation, basics, planning and plodding come to fruition. Or not. That's the thing about basics, they're basics for a reason, and the reason becomes painfully present when we denied those basics our focus early on. For many of us, these final weeks of the year reveal to what extent we did, or did not, apply the basics. We reap what we sow, and our crop reflects the preparatory investment.

Is your Q4 everything you'd hoped? No?

Is it too late? Yes, and, most definitely, no.

There's no way to overcome the whole of what was lost by our early lapses. We all know that, and, we gotta live with it. What we don't have to endure, however, is the seemingly inevitable wages of our sins of omission, when we are able to muster the will to compress our time and score a come from behind upset. This dig-deep test of our will and ego can make an otherwise apparently broken annual quota whole, and perhaps then some! Let's look at our 5 challenges for a successful 2017, and see how we can bring them to bear on our final stretch.

Challenge 1- Candid Self-Analysis. This New Year’s challenge is as timely now as it was then. Not navel gazing reflection, as much as a view of your genuine strengths and weaknesses being seen for what they are today. Don’t dwell, but, don’t go easy on yourself, either. As I said then, be brutal to yourself, and the brutality of others will seem quaint in comparison.

Challenge 2- Actionable Self-Analysis. There was a time for measured reflection. That luxury is passed. Now you must take your current state from the first Challenge, and relate those metrics to what you need to accomplish in this 11th hour. And then, where you have identified weaknesses, you need to address those weakness as they endure today with an eagle eye to the degree it effects achievement of your 4th Quarter objectives. 

Now is not the time for big picture psycho-analysis; you’ll have time to interpret your dreams over the Holidays. Even if you know you’ll be able to do better next time, now is the time for using what you’ve got.

Challenge 3- Operational Self-Analysis. At the beginning of this year, the third challenge reminded us to keep our weapons sharp. Each of our tools benefit only to the degree they are fully functioning. While now is not the time to re-temper an imperfect blade, nor is it the time to research a new CMS, or migrate to the latest handset. 

It’s never too late to make sure your devices are clean and don’t distract from their business purpose. Check your firmware updates, make sure you’re not pushing your storage capacity, confirm your licenses aren’t going to expire in the next 90 days. You don’t want a crashed laptop to knock you to the ground on the final push.

Challenge 4- Effective Self-Analysis. Nine months ago, we had the chance to uncover our ruts. Those well-worn automatic paths we often subconsciously pattern as we assemble our most effective measures over time. We knew then that these moves are inevitably born of yesterday’s perspective. We know today, that none of these tactics are above improvement, and there’s no more pressing a time than now to find the most telling way to improve them. But not all of them.

Look at your sales cycles, and the most frequent stages of those cycles, left in the year. If your sales cycles are long, you’ll want to focus on the closing stages, and how you address those routines. Look at the last year’s closing phases, and find what worked and what didn’t…especially what didn’t. Pay attention to what small assumptions and habits you bring to your closing. Start there, and find your winning changes. If you have a shorter cycle, you have more room to make the differences that can add up to higher sales in these final hours.

Challenge 5- Unnecessary Self-Analysis. Yep, End-Of-Year is not the time for existential analysis.  Closing out the year as strong as you are able pays forward many times over. Perform now, and take the Holidays to navel gaze. It’s time to deliver.

There you go. While you can’t get back lost time, you can tweak the clock and find that rabbit you’ve been saving in your hat. The New Year’s party is always more fun when you have a successful Q4 to toast!

Sell fearlessly, my friends. 



Do you, or your team, want to sell more, and have more fun doing it?

Executive Swordsmanship, llc
Berkeley, California 94706

Phone: +1 415 3075524+1 415 3075524



Daniel Hunter, Executive Swordsman

Daniel Hunter has built, trained and managed sales teams around the world.  As an awards-winning sales pro who's carried a quota himself, Daniel has trained outside and inside sales teams for multinationals like PSINet, IBMROLM, and Memorex Telex from the salesperson's perspective.  While competing for stakeholder value, Daniel has also earned the distinction of a pioneer in historical european martial arts, both successfully competing in national and international sword combat tournaments, and training swordsmanship around the world.