#227 Strategies for Selling in the Year-End Season

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In this tactical episode, our hosts, Luigi Prestinenzi and David Fastuca, tackle the common objection that arises at the end of every year: "Let's push this off until next year."

They discuss how to manage objections without appearing pushy, the importance of the discovery process in handling objections, and the challenges of selling during the holiday season.

Tune in as they share their insights and strategies for selling ethically and effectively in the B2B space.

Whether you're a first-time listener or a longtime fan, you're sure to gain actionable content that will help you sell more. Let's dive in!

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Luigi Prestinenzi [00:00:00]:

This episode, you're gonna learn how to manage the objection that comes up at the end of every year, which is let's push this off until next year, how to not come across as a pushy salesperson when managing objections, and the importance of the discovery process when managing objections. This podcast is designed for people selling in the b to b space who are looking to create more opportunities and close more deals. Welcome back to the How to Sell podcast. I'm your host, Luigi Prestonenzi, and as always, I'm honored and excited that you've decided to join us. What will be a very tactical episode today. Now if you're a first time listener, we just wanna say welcome. We hope you take away some insightful, actionable content that'll help you sell more. And if you're a longtime listener, thank you very much for showing up each and every week.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:00:56]:

We value you in our community. And as always, I'm excited that I have a cohost. I have a cohost with me, and, he's wearing I don't know why he's wearing the top that he's wearing because they are probably the most underperforming. It's like having It's like having Salesforce is the biggest tech stack at your disposal, and you've got no salespeople.

David Fastuca [00:01:22]:

Well, with that lovely introduction, I'm Dave Pestuca, cofounder, CEO, and cohost of the show. I for those that are listening, if you're listening to this episode and not watching us on YouTube, I'm wearing the Chelsea Football Club, jersey, pride of blue. And you gotta support the team even during tough times, Luigi, not just be a a bandwagon jumper, supporter like you are. And you could put that that slot but a little bobblehead

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:01:50]:

will go sideways. Anyway, we we Let's

David Fastuca [00:01:52]:

get to it. Let's get to it. Let's go ho ho. I love the jolly, fat man in red. Love Christmas time. The kids love it, but my word is a tough time to sell leading up into Christmas. Everybody wants to push it to the new year. People winding down.

David Fastuca [00:02:11]:

They don't wanna start new projects. How the heck do you sell ethic ethically, if I can say the word right, during this time with coming off like a bit of a sleazy salesperson, which if you wanna hit your goals, you're trying to push the deal across the line. How do you do this, Louis?

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:02:29]:

And that's a good question. Right? And you know what's interesting about this question and this scenario? In a consumer world, it's a great time to sell when you're leading to Christmas. Yeah? Especially, like, holiday's

David Fastuca [00:02:40]:

coming up. It's it's this crazy time right now.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:02:42]:

And people start to buy because they're buying with emotion. They're getting to that Christmas period. It's rushing. They're not thinking about what spending, they're using credit cards. Incredible. Right? So, you know, in some industries, the actual the Christmas period, you're seeing peaks of purchasing happening. Right? But in the b to b world, it it can actually have the opposite effect. Now often, what we find in the b to b world and this is why it's an interesting it's an interesting equation and it's an issue interesting topic, right, because often what we find is and and this is where the consumer world and the b to b world kind of align.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:03:14]:

They they collide. Right? What's happening with all of us is we're getting to Christmas, and our level of our priorities, our calendar, as it's starting to get filled up. Right? You've got school events. You've got, you know, potentially sporting events. You've gotta go shopping. You've got family things happening. So what's you you know, you're getting distracted. Yeah? And even though you're still working, you kind of start to think about other things, And, potentially, it's easier to to defer than handle before you're going on break.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:03:46]:

Right? And, obviously, there's different countries, different markets. There's obviously a few different nuances around it, right, because people behave differently in different markets. But in the markets where Christmas and and and this is not just for Christmas. There are other events that are happening throughout the year where buyers sometimes say, let's defer this until after x. Yeah?

David Fastuca [00:04:06]:

You can always argue that there's an event every quarter. Correct. There will be a social events end of year.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:04:12]:

End of financial year.

David Fastuca [00:04:13]:

That's right. Correct.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:04:15]:

Depending on the organization. Some in the financial year is January, February. Some is midyear. Right? So there's always gonna be something that, potentially, the buyer might just say, hey. Let's just defer this for now. Right? Mhmm. And and look and and and sometimes, their their reason for deferring is valid. Like, Christmas time coming.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:04:35]:

I'm having a holiday. It's a valid it's a valid reason. Yeah? But what we and this is very tactical. I wanna make sure this is quite a tactical episode. What we, as salespeople, must really, really be disciplined around this. When they actually put that concern, any concern, what we can't do is respond immediately and say, well, no, this is why you need to do x. Right?

David Fastuca [00:04:58]:

When did you respond immediately? Is this like you know, I've just got an email back from someone saying, hey, yeah, we're going ahead, but we don't wanna start till January, and the the email like, this email just came through end of November sort of thing. Is that how you do people responding immediately?

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:05:14]:

If that if that if that you know, if you do get some sort of email or if you're in your conversation on the phone that's saying, hey, Dave, this game's great, but let's pick this up in January. Right? And you say, well, actually, Dave, I believe we should do this now because of a b c. Right? Because what's happening is you're not the the the buyer or the or or the other person that you're talking to can sometimes not feel heard. Right? So that'll create relationship tension. So we've gotta be very careful about responding. Because when we respond, we're sharing our own perspective of something, and we what we are trying to achieve an outcome. Right? We're trying to fulfill our need. We go, well, I'm gonna respond

David Fastuca [00:05:50]:

to We're being selfish. We we wanna close the deal. Right? Yeah.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:05:54]:

So and and and, again, it's good practice to sort of be and and look. For most for most of us, if you look at social styles, a lot of us in sales are your d's, your, you you know, your more d's and i's, right, which is more direct, influential individuals. We don't always think before we talk. Right? And this is where we've got to be a bit more considered and slow down in our thinking and approach, and and holding the response skill behind our back is actually really, really important. So when we do hear any form of resistance or we do hear, you know, we wanna defer something, you know, the the best thing to do is actually completely agree with them. So, hey. Completely understand. With the Christmas peak period coming, you know, you you you wanna look at picking this up in the New Year.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:06:40]:

Now this is why this answer is not just about, that particular response that the the the buyer has given you then. If you've done a really good discovery, if you've asked some key questions in the discovery process around project timelines, level of priority, etcetera, you can actually use that information to ask a considered based question. Right? And what do I mean by that? So early in the sales process, it's best practice to be asking questions like, when does this initiative have to be in place by? Because, remember, they're not buying what we do thereby the outcome we help them achieve. And we're trying to understand what is the outcome and when does this need to be in place so that you can achieve x outcome. And from a priority perspective, where does this sit in from a level of you know, from a is it top priority? Is it middle priority? You kinda wanna get an understanding of that early in the process. Yeah? Even an understanding of, hey. Based on where this sits on your priority list, how does this compare to the priority list of the executive team? Where does this rank on their list? Because if we're not seeking that insight earlier in the process, then we're we're kinda not understanding what the buying journey needs to look like for them. Right? Now if they've told you that, hey.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:08:00]:

We've gotta have this in place by the end of q one. Just you know, I'm role playing here. By the end of q one because In q two, we need to hire x people, and the revenue growth that we're expecting needs to occur in the new financial year. Right? So that's why we've got that sort of 9 month project to help us get to x. If they've shared that in the discovery stage and then they say to you, hey. We we know we need to defer this after Christmas, you know, ask the question. Say, hey. Completely understand, with everything going on, you're looking to further this.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:08:35]:

Hey. Do you mind me asking? Based on some of the project timelines and the other stuff that's happening, you know, in the new year, what would be the impact if we defer this on a, b, and c? Mhmm. And, you know, is this something that, you know, you can push off given the priority of a, b, c? Now what you all consider the impact of so that's one of my go to questions. Consider the impact of if we push this off to x and we start, you know, then, consider the impact this will have on recruitment, on revenue, on whatever. Can can that

David Fastuca [00:09:12]:

come across as a little bit condescending sometimes, The and full agreement? To know yeah. So this is something that's better, you know, to have over a call rather

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:09:21]:

than the email.

David Fastuca [00:09:22]:

We even send it look. I know sometimes if I'm worried about how this might be perceived, because most times when people are reading an email, you know, they might read it in a negative light. Yep. Send a video or an audio, across, right, so they can feel the empathy, coming through. Right?

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:09:39]:

Yeah. And and, again, that's why it's important, you know, there's so many thing this is why I love selling, David, because and this is why I believe selling is a very, very hard profession because it's not just all about, hey, the words that we use. It's about how we actually, convey that message. The pace and the tone, depending on the person we're talking to, do we make it more of a direct message, more of an indirect message? Do we maybe, you know, restructure the way we deliver that message. And so, you know, the reason why we need to be thinking about this and there's some really good data from Gong where they analyze a lot of calls and actually show that when objections come up, and they're always there. Right? When objections come up, those that respond close less versus those that ask questions close more. Right? Because when somebody brings up a concern or, hey, we need to do we need to defer, whatever, if we immediately respond, potentially, we're not understanding what the concern is. So potentially, they might be saying, hey.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:10:43]:

We need to defer. And if we don't ask a question, there might be something else that's causing them concern. It might not be the deferment piece. It could be some other things that is just causing them to say, you know what? Maybe let's push this out a little bit further to do a bit more assessment. Maybe the business case isn't strong enough. And so it's easier to say we need to defer it because of Christmas versus, well, we've got some internal conversations that need to take place. Right? And I'll give you an example. So there's somebody that you know, really good friend of the show, and they're going through a process that we're looking at a at a tech platform.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:11:25]:

I won't name the company, or the platform. And as part of that selection process, the salesperson did a great job building a relationship with the c the c suite. But a couple of key reports so this particular person need to be involved in the buying process. They need to build that business case. Now what the salesperson's done thinking, hey. I've got the c level on board. I can just push this sale through, and he's trying to push it through before Christmas. But there's some concerns that the buying committee have around implementation, the change management piece.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:11:59]:

They need to get risk sorted. And they are valid concerns. Right? Some would call them objections. Yeah? Now he's not hearing those objections. He's just completely going, trying to push this through, saying the sea level wants it. Let's push it through, and it's causing some tension now. So he's creating tension. He's actually he's actually pulling, and he's creating some what we call anti sponsors in the in the org.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:12:23]:

Right? Now they're seeking they've gone to speak to other vendors because they're seeking some information. They actually need information for their business case that he's not providing. Right? And because he's pushing his his need, he's not understanding where they're at and delivering information and helping them and facilitating that process, he's caused them to go elsewhere. Right? And he's potentially gonna lose the deal. Inside. Yeah? And, again, this this is this goes back. That's why this is such a big conversation. Right? It goes back to the fact they raised a concern, an absolutely valid concern, which was, you know, we we We are concerned about, you know, change management.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:13:09]:

We need to get the business case sorted. We need to sort of evaluate where this sits. We've got other priorities happening. And he's not even he's going, well, you know, your boss said we need to be doing this. So he's kinda not hearing them. He's just responding. Yeah? And he's actually gone above them back to the sea level to say, hey. We spoke about this.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:13:28]:

Yeah. Right? So and and for me, that's kind of really bad practice anyway because you're not respecting the people that you're dealing with. Mhmm. But that is that and this is a common occurrence. Right? We see this quite a lot. So, know, just to go back a sec, whenever we hear, whenever we get any form of, hey. This event's coming up, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Financial Year, the the the the best practice is to not respond. Keep the emotion.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:13:56]:

Manage your emotions. Hold the response skill behind your back and simply say, hey. Completely understand. With end of the year coming, this is something you're thinking about deferring. Right? You you accept critical

David Fastuca [00:14:09]:

to have more deals in the pipeline where you're not relying on some you know, on that single individual deal. Right?

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:14:15]:

And look, Sometimes, Dave, you're absolutely right, sometimes timing is always gonna be a factor. And no matter how skilled you are, out strong of a business case, especially in b to b sales, so many people involved, sometimes timing, just it just won't work this this month. They might need risk, legal, the CTO need to sign off, whatever it is, procurement. Sometimes It just takes time. Yeah. But when we do hear any form of resistance or any any any, you know, objection, Holding that response skill back is critical. Right? Seek understanding. So, again, if you've done a discovery, seek understanding to say, hey.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:14:57]:

Are we from the impact to this project, consider what this will have on the impact and how does that sit within the team and Because, remember, you're a facilitator. Right? But in some cases, you've also wanna ask a question to seek understanding of, is there an underlying concern that's sitting under under the water? So I want you to think about, you know, that that, iceberg theory. Sometimes the objections are tip. It's actually not what's sitting underwater. Right? And so when you ask a clarification question, you can kind of define, is there an actual deeper concern that we need to address first. Because if we don't address that concern and if they've got questions because remember, our objections are simply they're requesting more information. And if we can't give them that information, they're answering the question from a different position of knowledge and education, and they'll fill the gaps. And sometimes, they fill in the gaps with the wrong information.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:15:53]:

So that's why we wanna ask questions to elicit and understand, is there something deeper there?

David Fastuca [00:15:59]:

Yeah? That makes amazing sense, mate. Louis, before I ask you a I've got something I wanna ask you. But before I get to that, If you're listening to this podcast and you're not a subscriber yet, subscribe to where you're listening right now. And if you love what you're hearing, Share this with a friend or colleague. Now, Louis, give me your top 2 or 3 things that you should not do in this situation. Right? You've already said about not responding. Give me the other 2, and then let's wrap this up.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:16:25]:

So don't panic. Right? You know, these are gonna things are gonna come up. No deal is gonna be perfect. There's gonna be you know, especially when you're dealing with multiple people, 4, 5, 6 people, and sometimes there's people involved in the buying decision, right, in the buying journey, then things are gonna come up. Don't panic. I mean, you're the facilitator. You are there facilitating. You've done this before.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:16:46]:

Right? So just the first thing is don't panic, seek understanding, and facilitate.

David Fastuca [00:16:54]:

Right?

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:16:54]:

Bring information together and don't try to progress. This is the third this is the key step. Don't try to push it, yeah, until you've got you've got alignment. Right? Because and and seek seek out, right, where people might have concerns. Yeah? So something that I've done previously, and you know about this, is is what I'll I'm actually you know, as part of the sales processes, I'll send them a document, a Google Doc, and I actually say, hey. As you're going through the business case, as you're reviewing a, b, c documents, etcetera, you'll have questions. And other people will have some questions and concerns. I actually use that language.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:17:33]:

And I give them a doc, and and, you know, Sometimes I'll even put the topics and say, as you're as you're reading through things, you might have questions or concerns in each section. Jot them down. Pop them in this document. I'll try to answer live, right, and give you a response on the side. And if if there if there are some questions that I need to go and do some further investigation, then when we meet, we can cover those. So what you're doing, again, you're facilitating. You're reducing that tension. You're making them feel heard.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:18:02]:

Right, you're also ensuring that all the information that they need before progress progressing is happening. Yeah? You're the facilitator.

David Fastuca [00:18:09]:

Luigi, as always, you got more gold than mister Scrooge's vault, mate. So till next time, we'll see you next week on the How to Sell podcast. And with Christmas coming up, remember Luigi's takeaways. We'll see you next week.