Here we are looking ahead at fall and the all-important 4th Quarter. For many business Q4 is do or die.

At this late stage in the year you should have a good understanding of how your 2017 measured up. Did you meet (or exceed!) the goals you set at the beginning of the year? Did you fail to do so? How will your 2017 revenue and profits allow you to make a more informed decision regarding your sales and marketing endeavors?

Some businesses will find themselves in an enviable position in Q4, with almost a full year of sales successes to carry them through to December. Others may be looking at an uphill climb just to keep themselves out of the red. Both situations, good and bad, require action steps in order to continue on the golden path or adjust to the year’s difficulties.

Here are three action steps to help you ramp up sales in the remaining months of the year:

Mine the gold in your database

Even as you prospect for new clients, you must remember to communicate routinely with your database of dormant accounts or prospects with whom you never closed. It may be easier to find business from the companies and people that already know you rather than start afresh. As you look ahead to Q4 look at what accounts you have let linger and make it a point to reactivate your sales and marketing initiatives in their direction. (And don’t forget to cross or upsell the accounts you already have!)

Maximize your networking with a strong approach

Business networking will help to open many doors, however your networking approach must be proactive and strategic. Aim to be a “connector,” the “person who knows everyone,” and make introductions between people in your networking community. Attend meetings and events where a high volume of other well-connected people will be, and schedule one-on-one meetings with them where you can explore the potential for more connections and business. Successful networking can be very time consuming. The people who get the greatest return for their time and efforts are those who are proactive and strategic.

Strategic social media and content creation

Social media and content creation in the form of newsletters, blog posts, and articles will position set you apart as a thought leader and subject matter expert (SME). This visibility and recognition will help to generate prospective clients and increased sales, not to mention your ability to communicate ideas and opinions to wide audiences. You don’t have to post new content every hour, but try to keep a somewhat regular schedule of activity which followers can look forward to and remain informed.

If your find yourself well short of your 2017 goals you will want to deploy each of these action steps simultaneously as well as other tactics including public relations, telephone lead generation, and direct mail. In my experience, Fall is also the time when trade show activity resumes, and you may want to consider “walking” as many shows as possible in the attempt to make new connections.

Playing catch up during Q4 is never fun and not easy. Success can still be had! Attempt to combine mass outreach with personal contacts to close the gap between your goals and projections. The time until 2018 is short so start now!