At the most recent Utah Sales Meetup on November 4, sales professionals from around Utah met at the Skipio Star Mill to talk about what sales people are doing now to close out 2021 and make sure they’re ready to go hard in 2022.

Here’s the top 3 takeaways from the panel and Q&A featuring James Sukhan (SAVVY), Justin Chugg (Ensable), Lanette Richardson (Utah Women in Sales), and Eric Buckley (Skipio) — moderated by Donald Kelly of The Sales Evangelist.

1. Keep building and managing your pipeline

Some people in your pipeline will eagerly try to get a deal closed this year. For instance, many of them will have money left in the budget that they want/need to spend.

So continually do your prospecting and move people through your pipeline as early as possible. One thing all panelists agreed on is how detrimental it is to wait until the last minute to try to close deals.

Lanette specifically recommends that you call out the busy time of year. Acknowledge that schedules are wild and will only get busier. Talk with them to figure out their goals now and get ahead of it.

To ensure you keep people moving in the pipeline, be the project manager of every deal you’re trying to close in 2021. James explains it as reverse engineering your timeline with each prospect. Basically, “do the brainwork” and map out what it takes to close and show your prospects how you plan to get it done.

But for all the people who do sign in November and December, you of course still have to build out your pipeline for January and February. Don’t get complacent just because you have a great end to Q4.

Put simply, if you’re not prospecting in December, your January is going to be terrible. Now is the time to build relationships and get your solutions on people’s minds.

So if a deal doesn’t close this year, that’s totally fine. That’s where you start in 2022. And because that’s when people get new budgets, you might even have a chance for an upsell or bigger contract.

All in all, stay on top of every deal in the works so you adequately prepare for the new year.

2. Focus on the problems to be solved

This shouldn’t be a surprising insight, but it’s how you’ll close sales now and next year. Because if someone is dragging their feet in December or a new prospect in January isn’t sure whether to take your discovery call, you need to confirm you’re communicating value specifically in the context of the problems you help solve.

Especially throughout the uncertainty of the last nearly two years, you have to be human. James emphasizes the importance of not just being “a salesy salesperson.” Connect with people, build trust, and do your job the right way.

Lanette and Eric both focus on solving the real problem. How do you learn the real problem? You listen. Because if you don’t listen, you’ll never position yourself as the solution. And if you find out you aren’t the solution they need, then you know you need to walk away.

When you focus on the problem(s) to be solved, you get better at doing what’s right for the customer to get them what they need. As enticing as it can be to chase the money, particularly at the end of the year, you’ll be a better sales person if you have conversations and walk away when you need to.

Need help identifying problems and communicating your value? Justin recommends always writing down what you learn in one deal to help you with future deals. That way you look for and identify commonalities much easier and give yourself a better chance of building a relationship. Show people that you know their business and what they need.

3. Be brave

Selling is hard! It often feels scary. So of course sometimes it feels easier to do the minimum. That way you don’t have to worry about failing because you didn’t invest much time or effort.

But according to Justin, the biggest competitor you face is actually the status quo. If you feel scared to make a change and go bold, your prospects will feel the same. You have to take the fear out of change, and you can do that by treating the selling process as an experiment. You’re not just selling them something. You’re trying something with them.

You’ll only succeed in sales if you try new things. So even at the end of the year, put yourself in positions where you may fail. Put it all out there with integrity.

After all, as Lanette says, you can fix almost anything. So if that prospecting method doesn’t work or that deal doesn’t go through, that’s fine. You’ve got next month and the month after that to try again (and again and again).

Attend the next Utah Sales Meetup — it’s totally free!

Join the sales discussion both in-person or online during the next Utah Sales Meetup on January 27, 2022. Not in Utah? No worries, we stream the discussion live.

But when you attend in-person, it’s not just an awesome panel you have to look forward to either. You always get dinner and the chance to talk with other sales and marketing pros from around Utah.