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How to Play the Fourth Quarter in Building Materials

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How to Play the Fourth Quarter in Building Materials

Have you ever seen a football coach tell the team to just take it easy during the fourth quarter?

Of course not. They know that the fourth quarter can make all the difference. It’s their last opportunity to win the game. That’s when they’ll push the hardest.

The fourth quarter matters in building materials, too, but many companies don’t give it the respect it deserves. They act like they just have to ride out the end of the year instead of making sure they’re staying active and energized.

Don’t put your sales on cruise control just because you’re nearing the end of the year. The last quarter is a great time to sell to your customers and your last opportunity to set the stage for a strong start to the next year.

Think Like a Coach, Not a Player

Football players have to focus on the game. They’re in the action and all their goals are short-term: make the pass, avoid the tackle, and react to what’s going on around them.

Coaches take the long view. They’re not just looking at the specific play, they’re looking at the whole game. They’re thinking ten steps ahead. They think of every play and every move, but it’s all with an eye to ending with more points than the opposing team. 

Most building material companies have a play-by-play mindset when it comes to the fourth quarter. They’re riding out the year’s budget and waiting until January to ramp things up again. They’re missing the bigger picture. 

If you think like a coach instead of a player, you’ll see that there’s no reason to let the fourth quarter lag. You’ll know that you’ll need to keep your sales strong if you want to win and keep improving your growth.  

Generals look further than that. They place each battle in a wider context. They want to win every battle, but they’re also strategizing for ways to win the war.

Many building material companies have a battle mindset when it comes to the fourth quarter. They’re riding out the year’s budget and waiting until January to ramp things up again. They’re missing the bigger picture.

If you think like a general instead of a soldier, you’ll see that there’s no reason to let the fourth quarter lag. You’ll know that you’ll need to keep your sales strong if you want to win the war and keep improving your growth.

Why the Fourth Quarter Is a Great Time to Sell

Your Competitors May Have Stopped Selling

When you’re trying to compete with larger building material companies, it’s easy to start thinking that they must have an infinitely high budget. In fact, they’re as budget-driven as any other company, often more so than the small ones.

This is especially true with publicly traded companies and companies owned by investment firms. They have to answer to investors, and investors love seeing short-term costs going down and short-term profits going up.

When they hit the fourth quarter, they panic. They have to make it through a few more months while still making the numbers work, so they start cutting back on spending. Their sales team starts hearing words like “travel ban.”

They’ll do anything they can to satisfy the owners and investors. But when it comes to keeping the customer interested, happy or satisfied, “It’s just not in the budget right now.”

When your competitor stops selling, it creates a perfect opportunity for you to stand out by focusing on the customer and meeting their needs.

Their Salespeople May Be Coasting

Salespeople can start to take it easy in the last quarter. They’ve made their numbers or maxed out their compensation. They have no incentive to do anything but start coasting.

After all, why bust their backs just to make the next year harder?

Pardon me, but WTF!?

Keep your sales team in ship-shape during the last quarter and you’ll easily outsell these care-free competitors.

They Stopped Defending Their Position

It’s not just their offense that’s slacking – their defense is weaker, too.

If you drive your sales now, your competitor is less likely to respond.

This is the best time to go after and convert those big customers. Pull out all the stops – meetings, presentations, whatever it takes. They’ll notice the effort because you’ll be the only one making any.

Fewer Missed Opportunities

How you play the final quarter will have a big influence on how you’ll start the next financial year.

If you’re stingy and taking things easy, you’ll start the next year from a weaker position. You’ll lose some of your market share and a few of your customers might jump ship because you’re just not trying hard enough anymore.

If you want to start the year in a position of strength, you need to lay that groundwork in the fourth quarter. Keep investing. Keep wooing customers. Keep pushing. You’ll be glad you did.

If you become a company that’s driven by opportunity instead of being driven by quarterly performance, you’ll see better growth over time.

Your Customers Are in Buying Mode

To you, it’s the fourth quarter. To your customers, it’s time to consider new products.

Think about it: summer’s over, they’re back at work, and they’re thinking about how the year went and what could be better.

This is a great time to sell – not just because your competitors may be asleep at the wheel but because your customer is more receptive.

From early September to mid-November, your customers are in buying mode. Wait until January, and they’ll need a lot more convincing.

Win the Season

During the fourth quarter, your competitors are focused on winning the game, but you can set yourself up to win the season.

They’re pulling back, so you need to drive forward.

This is the perfect time to boost your growth and give yourself a strong start in January.

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About The Author

I am the leading sales growth consultant in the building materials industry, I identify the blind spots that enable building materials companies to grow their sales and retain more customers.  As I am not an ad agency, my recommendations are focused on your sales growth and not my future income.

My mission is to help building materials companies be the preferred supplier of their customers and to turn those customers into their best salespeople. Contact me to discuss your situation.