We are living in a different world. What was normal just three months ago is not any longer. Travel and tourism has ground to a halt. Restaurant sit-down meals are but a memory and I am only allowed one carton of egg at the supermarket (thankfully it is more than enough). The sales landscape has changed too. COVID-19 has transformed many things. What has not changed, however, are the fundamentals. The customer imperatives of managing operations, being productive and staying ahead of the competitors are all still valid and the executive who ignores these is displaying short-sightedness and ineffectiveness.
Equally, the fundamental way to conduct sales correctly has not changed. Sales needs rational thinking and avoidance of yielding to knee-jerk and silly decision-making. What has changed is that customers are prioritizing differently to respond to altered circumstances. Re-gear your emphasis on value (for the customer not for the sales’ org i.e. WIIFM), remote work, health, safety and customers remaining in control of themselves, their families, their suppliers and respective customers (supply chain imperatives), but stay away from haphazard reactions that smack of desperation because “circumstances have changed.” Double down on your process that is now retooled to focus on the aforementioned areas of focus.
You do have a rigorous sales process, don’t you? One that emphasizes understanding your own value, customer’s needs and aligning those two to one another.
I stuck with a disciplined sales methodology and during the 2008 and 2009 years my team managed to hit its numbers and remain busy. Many customers disappeared, but others appeared, albeit with a different set of expectations. The point is do not lose your belief in being methodological about sales and control what you can control.
What To Do?
- Know your sales process, value statement and how it helps today and double down on it
- Be ready to present, sell and fulfill remotely. Could you have video meetings or even send a video message? Google Meet (previously Hangouts Meet) has been made free and it supports up to 100 participants.
- Focus on their immediate needs and feeling. To do that you have to ask, understand and care. Are they going through a crisis? Are they busy? Are they encountering an unexpected problem right now? Think about the focus at your local hospital. Elective surgery is relegated to the background and emergencies and COVID-19 are getting all the attention.
- Sell where the demand is and do not swim against the stream. Consumer sales at the supermarket are surging if you are in the food and beverage industry even if your customary clients in the restaurant sector have vanished.
- During the entire process do not forget that sales make the world go around. How is a client supposed to feel confident in a sales process if the salesperson does not convey confidence?
Do you remember the 2008-2009 recession? Here is an older article.
*Things That Need To Go Away: Salespersons Winging It During Hard Times As They Have Done Before The Hard Times!