In the film Cadillac Man, a maladroit and discourteous Robin Williams highlights the depths some people are willing to plunge to, when asked to make a big sale on a tightening deadline.
Whilst Williams’ attempt to turn a funeral procession into an opportunity to sell a car may be clichéd and outmoded, the pathos of the scene exists in his desperate need to make the sale with just a couple of days to play with; something many modern sales people can still relate.
According to new research from InsideSales, businesses are too often suffering from winning (and losing) the majority of their sales deals on the final day of any given month or quarter.
The research found that the number of deals closed on the very last day of every month leapt up by more than two and a half times the average number across all other days of the month.
However, more telling is the fact that the number of deals lost on the last day of every increased by an average 10.34 times the amount lost on any other given day of the month.
The scramble to get sales at the end of each month is also leading to a fairly substantial dip in deal size. InsideSales’s data highlights that whilst sales tend to slowly increase through the course of any given month, on the last day this drops by a seismic 38.13%.
According to Martin Moran, international managing director of InsideSales.com, the data highlights that the perceived success of getting sales wrapped up at the end of month is a veneer.
“Many will struggle to believe that this central tenant of sales strategy is deeply flawed and adversely impacts both the sales rep and their customer.
“But the data clearly shows that sellers forcing buyers into making snap decisions, poor pipeline maintenance, high pressure sales tactics and customers delaying committing to negotiate a reduced price have deeply detrimental impacts on sales organisations.”
Like in the Robin Williams clip, Moran states that many end-of-month sales are being affected by gut instinct, thanks to a rationale that the end of any given month or quarter is the best time to close sales.
“Gut instinct has no place in directing sales activities,” he adds. “Customers can be unpredictable at the best of times, so it’s essential that sales reps look at the data analysis to guide them in their decision-making.
“Without a complete understanding of pipeline management in relation to time-based patterns or strategies, organisations are losing opportunities and throwing millions away each year.”
InsideSales’s recommendation for correcting this trend is to put limits on discounting options and raise prices for future month purchases.
They also recommend creating other ‘urgency events’ across any given month in order to balance sales spikes across the year, and to include compensation multipliers to encourage full price sales rather than the bargain basement sales that are so often being done at the end of each month.
And of course, to not try and sell a car to a widow on the way to her husband's funeral.
Chris is Editor of MyCustomer. He is a practiced editor, having worked as a copywriter for creative agency, Stranger Collective from 2009 to 2011 and subsequently as a journalist covering technology, marketing and customer service from 2011-2014 as editor of Business Cloud News. He joined MyCustomer in 2014.