Q4 has now begun, which means it’s time to build your sales pipeline for Q1. I know what you’re thinking: “Hold on, Joanne, that’s not how it works.”

Yep, it’s counterintuitive, but Q4 is 25 percent about closing business for this year and 75 percent about building business for next year.  If you make the mistake of being 100 percent heads-down getting deals done, you won’t have qualified leads in your pipeline for next year. Sure, marketing will toss you some names after the holidays, but those aren’t leads you can count on.

Tough, right? You have increased pressure to get revenue in the door before year-end. Every sales meeting is about closing deals—who are the influencers, who knows whom, what have we missed, what do we need to do to get this deal done? It’s a sprint to the end, when we should have started walking a marathon months ago. (I walked a marathon, so I know how long it takes.)

If you want to boost your sales pipeline for Q1, I have a simple “ask”: Check out my referral course on LinkedIn Learning. Sales reps tell me they like getting referrals, but they’re not comfortable asking, and they don’t know how to ask. Once they learn how, they vow to adopt a referral approach for 2020. Will you?

You already know the power of referral introductions. Now’s the time to ask for them and begin conversations with your prime prospects. You’ll be well positioned for Q1 and beyond.

In the meantime, check out the latest blog posts from No More Calling:

How to Remarkably Improve Customer Experience with a Referral Culture

I’d had it. I threw my three bananas, ketchup, and plastic mustard bottle on the counter and stomped out of the store. I’ve never had a good customer experience at that market, but this was over the top. I was in the express checkout line at Safeway. Despite the 15-item limit, the man ahead of me had more than 20 items. There was some problem, so the cashier stopped everything and called for help. This was the EXPRESS line. I was now on a slow burn, so I ran over to the self-checkout line, figuring it would be faster. All the terminals were in use. That’s when I decided to get my bananas, ketchup, and mustard someplace else. You undoubtedly have plenty of stories like this. We complain about consumer experiences all the time, but consumers aren’t the only ones who expect a good customer experience. Business buyers want superior service, too, and they have more to offer than just repeat business. They can also help fill your pipeline with referrals to piping hot leads. That’s why a referral culture leads to a stellar customer experience. (Read “How to Remarkably Improve Customer Experience with a Referral Culture.”)

Guest Podcast: Why Referral Lead Generation Is So Powerful

I never pass up the chance to chat about referrals. So, I was thrilled when Mario Martinez, Jr.—CEO of Vengreso and a top expert on social selling for lead generation—invited me to be on his “Selling with Social” podcast. (This was his 126th episode. I waited until he got it right to be his guest.) Contrarian that I am, I didn’t make it easy for him. Find out how Mario describes our conversation, read my takeaways, and listen to the podcast. (Read “Guest Podcast: Why Referral Lead Generation Is So Powerful.”)

Don’t Have the Energy to Leave a Toxic Boss? Why You’d Better

We’ve all heard stories about toxic bosses, and many of us have had one. But I never realized the impact bad managers can have on our health—for example, that it could make us “60% more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke, or other life-threatening cardiac condition.” Yep, that’s what one study showed. And there are other startling ramifications. For once, I’m at a loss for words, but I bet you’re not. That’s why you need to read every word in Mary Abbajay’s article “What to Do When You Have a Bad Boss” in the Harvard Business Review. You might not have a bad boss now, but I’m sure you know people who do. The statistics are mind-boggling, like this one: “Employees end up working longer (two years, on average) for toxic bosses than nontoxic bosses.” (Read “Don’t Have the Energy to Leave a Toxic Boss? Why You’d Better.”)

Why You’re Drunk on Overtime

Our global team won a huge deal. We got emails and voicemails raving about how the team worked together, pulled all-nighters, and managed to get everything in sync for the big bake-off. The win was the largest in the company’s history. Wasn’t that fantastic? Sure, from a revenue standpoint. But here’s the rub. The company promoted work/life balance and taking vacations, but the most celebrated salespeople were the ones who worked around the clock. There’s a disconnect there. (Read “Why You’re Drunk on Overtime.”)