Three ways to overcome January blues


Every parent knows that it is the unique child that will not wait until the material morning of opening school to say, “I don’t have a pencil” or “My socks were stolen last term.”

January is only nine days old. The holiday season is past. Schools have re-opened. Traffic is back. The sun is moving towards (instead of around) the earth.  Blood is beginning to flow in the veins of buyers,   bringing them sluggishly back to life. You don’t seem to be getting any response when you reach out to them; and those that do respond, sound like they are yawning from ‘Njaanuary’.  (Njaanuary is Kenyan parlance for the financial hangover experienced from December’s unusually high spending). Buyers have that luxury of staggering back to life; sellers don’t. Here are some activities sellers can engage in to accelerate their sales.

Invest in back office staff. I’ve said this before and won’t tire doing so- selling internally to back-office staff is as equally important as selling externally to buyers. Back-office staff are the unsung heroes of every sale. They are like the housewife is only background noise when the wildly successful husband is being feted. Back-office staff keep the promises the seller makes. The seller reduces his target by one when back-office staff order the cheque book and open the bank account that he promised. They install the solar panel while its seller is pitching the next one.  Typically, results oriented sales people vilify process-oriented back-office staff and the feeling is mutual. Progressive salespeople know this toxicity will ultimately harm them so they invest in back-office staff. For instance, they will share with them the free goodies from clients instead of seeking dud popularity doing so with family and friends.

Prep yourself before the tornado hits.  Every parent knows that it is the unique child that will not wait until the material morning of opening school to say, “I don’t have a pencil” or “My socks were stolen last term.”  Unique sellers take January to line up their ducks in a row. They plan ahead.  Diarising the dates they are required in their child’s school ensures they don’t take up meetings then.  They also marshall the resources they will need.  So if you’ll need a government official to see a complex sale through, a subject matter expert for your panel interviews or any other resource, take lazy January to build a relationship with them so that it will be easier to access them when you need to. Reaching out could be as simple as seeking a connection on LinkedIn or emailing them feedback on an article they wrote.

A third thing you should (not can) do is check on more than your image whenever you look in the mirror. Interrogate your attitude too. This is not a January activity but an all year round one. It makes sense to interrogate it in slow-moving January because ‘Njaanuary’ is contagious. Sellers infected with Njaanuary will justify just sitting around the office doing nothing claiming, “It’s still early in the year; buyers aren’t biting; let’s give them time.” It’s a downhill spiral for them from that point onwards.

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