Blog Post #1 in a Series of Sales Strategies to Stay Profitable: Solutions to Stay the Course and Meet Your Goals Safely
If I had five dollars for every time I heard the word “unprecedented” in the last two months, I’d probably be retired by now! This pandemic is on the top of everybody’s mind and it’s what we’re talking about. Those conversations are filled with emotions – the most primary of which is fear. We’re afraid-afraid of getting sick and afraid of the impact on our livelihood and our personal finances.
But there are also more subtle fears that exist in the social realm. We are afraid of appearing insensitive if we find a way to keep going, while others cannot. People wonder if they should be going about their business as if this pandemic didn’t happen. Or maybe it’s the fear of rejection – but rejection is always part of sales, pandemic, or no pandemic. This is largely unconscious, but it’s always there especially in times of uncertainty, like these. We’re afraid of spending and running out of money. So, the question crops up, should we invest in marketing or sales right now?
The other emotion is anger. Anger has no place at all in any sales environment, so today I am focusing on the fears. It’s important because fears impact your behavior, which then directly affects your results. Fears hold you back from forming the new relationships you need to progress your business. They can even weaken the existing relationships your business already depends on. So, let’s talk about the limiting beliefs caused by your fears:
People who are aggressive product-pushers give sales a bad name. Unless you operate in a highly transactional environment, to succeed you need to become a problem-solver not a product or service pusher. When you want to buy something would you prefer to deal with someone who understands your concerns and wants to help or someone who is more interested in promoting their product or service? In any sales environment, if you appear insensitive, then you’ve got the wrong approach, COVID, or no COVID. Find the problems to solve, analyze them in the context of your potential client and help people – that’s always the best way to approach sales. Salespeople waste too much time pitching to people who don’t have a problem in the first place, or they’re just not serious enough about solving it. In either case, you don’t come across as insensitive by inquiring. It’s when you refuse to accept the no that you do.
The economy has slowed down across the world, but it hasn’t stopped.
There are people and companies out there that need your product and service – go help them, or someone else is going to do it (most likely your competitor).
Not knowing what to do or afraid of doing the wrong thing
This is where the pandemic could actually be of help. Everyone is affected by the pandemic, so how can you adjust your sales approach to bring this into the conversation? Shift your market strategy to best reach those people who are open – the essential workers – who need what you have. Adjust your sales conversations and questions in the context of the pandemic.
So, what should you be doing?
First: Look at your corporate strategy.
Evaluate what your plans were coming into 2020, and how you need to adjust those now to better fit the ever-changing environment of this pandemic experience. How are your target markets affected by the pandemic, and where should you focus your energy? If they’re shut down, redirect and go after the ones that are still active and need your help.
Decide where you or your salespeople should be spending their time. Where is your best opportunity for more sales, short term? Is it in getting more business from your existing clients? Does the current situation provide more opportunity to establish new relationships within your current markets? Or, is your best opportunity in getting into new markets where there is an unmet need? Keep your focus on what makes sense – monitor your results, stay the course and make adjustments as you go.
Third: Use this time to develop new relationships
There’s never a better time to get people on the phone – think about it. No one is on vacation, no one’s going to the office, and their yards look better than ever, so what are they doing now? There’s no commuting time because everyone is on Zoom calls and because we are Zoomed-Out, we are trying to keep them brief. This affords much more available time during which you can reach decision-makers and they will welcome a conversation with someone who is not on their staff provided the conversation is on something that is top of mind. People are now more accessible than they ever have been and ever will be. Take advantage of this and develop new relationships now.
In our next 3 blog posts we will drill down on each of these, stay tuned.