I think it’s safe to say, whether you are new to sales or a road warrior, that selling during coronavirus quarantines is one of the biggest challenges you are facing in your selling career. The challenge now isn’t about a new and stronger competitor. You aren’t facing a problem of your own creation. You and almost everyone else are faced with a dangerous health issue while either working and business has stopped or changed. What can you do when customers aren’t buying? Your selling is different, and you still have things to do.
- Confirm what you think you know is true.
One of the most underrated sales actions is thinking. Often when salespeople are busy they lack the time to think strategically about their business. I’ll bet you have plenty of time now. Take that time and use it to think strategically about your business.
What assumptions do you have about your business? You may think you know who are your best customers. You also might think you know who are your weak customers. You might have some assumptions about prospects. Now ask yourself how you know the information. Your job as you think about your assumptions is to confirm all your assumptions with data.
Look back at the last 6 months of your business. Your best customers should be the ones who meet specific criteria. Were they the most profitable for you? Did they contribute the most revenue for you? Did they give you a strategic advantage by being an industry leader which made it easier for you to sell to new prospects? Look at your data and see which assumptions prove to be correct. Once you learn that you have correct assumptions you can continue your sales strategy when things return to normal. It’s time to change your sales strategy if you learn that you’ve been operating under the wrong sales assumptions.
2. Learn about your customers.
You’ve got plenty of time now to make telephone calls. Remember the telephone? It’s a valuable selling tool which you should be using now. Email is not the best communication tool. People can’t see you or hear you. When you call your customers simply ask them what they’re doing. Your job is to listen so you can learn what they are doing. Your objective is to then think about how you might help them given their current circumstances. How would you be able to help your customers now unless you find out what they’re doing?
3. Become a resource for your customers.
Think about how you can become a resource for your customers and add some value to their business once you know the challenges your customers are facing. Can you connect a customer now with anyone else who might share some insight on a problem? Have you uncovered a new web tool to make your work easier which you can share with a customer? Can you lend support if they’re going through tough times?
Being a resource means not trying to sell something. Your job now really isn’t to sell something. Your job is to think of how you can be perceived as a resource. Many people are still in shock over the impact of the pandemic. They are getting a daily dose of depression with the deaths and illness of so many others. Some of your customers may be directly impacted. People are not looking to buy something. They are looking for compassion and peace of mind. A pushy salesperson is not what they need or want now. Don’t be that person.
I do hope sometime soon we all are able to safely move about and resume a new normal of selling that is closer to the freedoms we had before. Now is not that time. Selling during corona virus quarantine means a different way of working with customers and managing your business.