It’s the last month of Q4, and we’re almost down to the final two of the 52 weeks in the year. So, how’s your numbers coming along? If you think you’re about to miss your targets, stop wishing for an extra 25th hour in your day or an 8th day in your week. With proper time management and a few year-end appointment setting best practices, it’s not yet too late to make 2013 a great year for your marketing efforts.

Yes, year-end prospecting should be a part of your to-do list even during the holiday months. Right now, a huge chunk of the competition is putting lead generation and appointment setting aside under the mistaken belief that most prospects are simply too preoccupied to respond. There’s a tremendous loss of opportunities when you hold off on actively looking for new prospects in December.

While December days appear shorter and seem to go by faster than the rest of the year, you never know when your B2B products and services are on somebody’s Christmas wish list. That can certainly brings a stream of prospects to your pipeline for this month as well as for the next year — if you know how to engage with them the right way, that is.

So, without further ado, here are seven prospecting tips you should put into practice throughout the month:

1. Expect nobody there. Well except maybe the unforgiving office assistant or worse, the dreaded voicemail. Last year, almost half of Americans hit the road for the December holidays, and it’s only reasonable to expect roughly the same number of vacation-goers this year. Put that on top of parties, family gatherings, etc. on your prospects’ calendar and you’ve got a no-show on your hands.

But does that mean you’ve hit a dead end? Certainly not. It’s not impossible to get past gatekeepers or to leave voicemails that get response. It really depends on how well you’ve prepared for these situations.

2. Follow the email route. Since there’s a good chance your target prospects won’t be at his or her desk to pick up the phone, you’d probably get better results by initially reaching leads through emails and following up with a phone call later on. Decide whether the email-first strategy really works for you and then write a short introductory email for your prospects. Also, consider integrating social media platforms like LinkedIn with your prospecting toolkit. You want to use these channels with the objective of getting your prospects on the phone, so don’t lose sight of that goal.

3. Try to be extra relevant. With so much going on inside and outside the workplace this time of year, patience and attention spans are at a premium. So for your marketing messages to really stand out, you have to make them even more relevant to their needs. Find out as much as you can about your potential clients and use those points to personalize how you communicate your offer, but be sure to…

4. Lighten up the conversation. It’s the holidays after all. The last thing your prospects want to come across with these days is another professional sales rep being too professional. Engage with your leads on a more personal level. Don’t be too quick to talk business or pitching your offer. Focus on your prospects’ most favorite topic: themselves.

5. Avoid adding more deadlines. A good number of your prospects are probably on the brink of burning out by the time you connect. The frantic pace of activities in December makes it extremely hard to press prospects to squeeze in appointments into their already overbooked schedules. So, do both yourself and your leads a favor by not imposing another date into their calendar. Prioritize leads according to availability and learn to manage objections.

6. Don’t join the holiday rush. In line with #5, it’s not uncommon to hear prospects putting up objections like “Let’s talk after the holidays,” “Call me back in January” or something similar. But it’s really not hard to turn these setbacks into opportunities. Don’t lose hope when prospects tell you to call again after the New Year. Have you even tried asking for a specific date/time? There’s no point getting caught up in the holiday rush and disregarding promising prospects like these.

7. Remember to follow up. Persistence pays off, especially when you’re prospecting in December. On average, it can take 9 to 10 attempts before you can connect with prospects over the phone. But December is anything but average, so you’re probably going to need more than that to get through. Plus, hectic prospect schedules mean you have to send follow-up emails or make follow-up phone calls more often than you normally would.

You have two weeks left to make or break 2013. Better get started putting the above ideas into action right now. Happy holidays!