It is easy to feel paralysed and restricted in the current climate. The situation is unprecedented and has brought with it many new challenges to businesses.
At the time of writing, most sales people have already had restrictions placed on them with regards to customer visits. Projects are being put on hold left, right and centre, supply chains have been heavily impacted and the general sense of uncertainty has led to a massive reduction in anyone buying anything (other than toilet roll, that is!).
But we can’t all put our feet up and wait for it to blow over. Rather, we must put steps in place to ensure we are well-armed to fire on all cylinders once the economy gets moving again.
So here are my top 5 tips for sales people to use their time effectively over the coming weeks and months:
- Do the things you don’t normally get a chance to do – Planning, preparation and keeping records up to date – all of these jobs are things which frequently fall to the bottom of a sales persons ‘to do’ list. Use this time to find (and do your research on) potential new customers. Look for new opportunities, tidy up your sales records and make sure your CRM system is up to date. Take a look at lapsed contacts and review whether there might be further opportunities. Use this time to attend to all those niggling little ‘should do’ voices that you normally ignore. Build a plan of action for what you will do now and then one for what you will do once things start to pick up again.
- Get social – Whilst a large number of prospects may not be in a position to make purchases at present, Social Selling allows you to build relationships and offer insight at a time when you can’t physically get out in front of people. Using digital platforms to offer expertise and share relevant content demonstrates knowledge and understanding and can help to build credibility and trustworthiness before ever having a conversation. This helps to secure your position ‘front-of mind’ with prospects for when a need is ultimately identified. (For more advice and tips on Social Selling, take a look at our series of blog posts on the subject.)
Use this time to build connections, share valuable and insightful commentary and content. If Social Selling is something that’s been on your ‘must do’ list for a while, now’s the perfect time to get started.
- Keep in touch with your customers – Whilst you might not be able to visit your customers at the moment, there is absolutely no excuse not to keep in touch with them. Pick the phone up, talk to them about how this situation is impacting their businesses, see if there’s anything you can do to help – your knowledge, contacts and experience might enable you to offer some genuine advice and support to your customers at this time. Not only will this help you maintain contact and help you build on that trusted advisor position, but it also means you’ll have a greater understanding of how and where their business has been affected, which could be relevant when it comes time for them to start buying again.
Communication is going to be critical over the coming months for all of us and, with so many of those used to working in office environments finding them selves isolated and working from home, a phone call is likely to be well received.
- Be resilient and optimistic – No-one wants to hear the doom and gloom stories, we have the news for that! At times like this, optimism and resilience are key – two characteristics which should be at the core of any sales person’s approach. Think about how you feel when you’re talking to someone who’s negative and pessimistic, it brings you down too and , more than likely, they are the people you go out of your way to avoid. So be the positive one, the one who others seek out and who brings positivity and optimism to a challenging situation. Where possible, offer practical advice and share examples of how you’re using your time over this period. Your customers, colleagues and your line manager will all appreciate your efforts and attitude.
- Up-skill – Never has there been a better, or more critical time, to sharpen up your sales processes and skills. Revisit the learning from sales training, read some sales books, search out online resources – articles, blogs and videos.
If you’re a sales leader, bring your team together, virtually if needed, to work on up-skilling the team. To limit the impact on your business, your sales people will need to be the absolute best they can be when things pick up again.
To help our customers come out the other side of this current situation stronger, more agile and more effective, we’ll be creating and sharing some additional sales tips videos and webinars over the coming weeks. To be the first to hear about these, please head to our Blog page and fill out the ‘Sign up to our mailing list’ form at the bottom of the page, or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.