For many of us, closing deals after Thanksgiving is a real turkey.
This is especially true during these hard times. No one wants to commit, spend money or sign new deals right now. Yet, many of us need to either meet 2008 goals, or create a pipeline for 2009.
What to do? Anything but discounting. That should be a last resort, unless your product market is experiencing dramatic (apples to apples) price/value reductions.
Instead, you should confront the issue head on by using year's end as your urgency. Call your prospects and clients and let them know that you are hustling at the end of year to close business. Tell them why. Let them know that they can be a part of your year end success, and that's why you are calling with urgency. That's right, say the word "urgency". Review the proposal you've put in front of them briefly, then ask the closing question: What can I do today to get your business inked by year's end?" Between the premise and the open question, you have laid the groundwork to close a deal. You are using an obstacle (December's lack of business focus) as an excuse to close something.
(Make this call, if possible, on a day that the prospect is in a good mood. Good moods increase a person's desire to say yes, when asked to say yes or no. Find out when their holiday party is, and call first thing that AM, for example.)
Listen carefully to their answer. Review it with them and confirm that if you can fulfill their request that you'll have a signed deal by December 15 (leaving time for last minute snafus or negotiations). You'll find out that price is not the #1 request from them. You might find out that payment terms, added value or simple explanations are all this person wants from you. Using urgency, you'll also find out which "pending deals" weren't even hot in the first place. Until you use the word "urgency", you'll never know as the prospect treats you like a snooze alarm, happy to have you call back "after the first of the year."
Clean out your pending deals tray or folder this week with the approach and report the results in comments.
PS — If the client wants a discount, find a way to cut services/product as the price gets cut. It's more about customizing for their cash flow needs instead of slashing margins.