While everyone’s distracted and scared during the COVID-19 pandemic, should you stop selling? No! Don’t stop selling — because an empty pipeline will eventually put you out of business.
But the way you sell needs to shift, because this isn’t “business at usual” — for the next few months, and likely longer.
Let’s explore how to change how you sell moving into the possible second wave. This applies whether you’re the one selling, or if you have one or more team members doing sales for you.
This won’t be easy, but there’s hope ahead. Not everyone will succeed, but you can secure your agency’s future with a good plan — executed well — with support from your full team.
Companies hit hard by the lockdowns have to work hard to rise above the situation. Your situation isn’t impossible, but you have a hard road ahead. Let’s review the sales checklist.
Success today requires a mix of mindset, strategy, tactics, accountability, and iteration. I believe the strongest leaders will encourage their teams to act with empathy, take a long-term perspective, and focus on serving their audience in everyone’s time of need.
1) Accept that this will not be traditional sales.
No matter what you do, everyone’s distracted. Now more than ever, your company’s marketing and sales messages are low in the list of your prospects’ priorities. Your efforts may not immediately resonate… but if you take no action, failure is guaranteed.
2) Your client is the Hero, and you’re the Helper.
We’re all the hero of our own lives, but right now more than ever your job is to make your clients the Hero. As the Helper, your company is there to help your clients reach their goals. And this helps you reach your goals.
3) Commit to a long-term sales mindset.
Are you going to be helpful, long-term, and patient, or are you going to be transactional, short-term, and desperate?
4) Practice compassion, empathy, and patience.
This is about clarifying your sales philosophy, and sharing with your team. Everyone’s distracted, and some people are sick — or have relatives or colleagues who’ve died.
5) Secure your immediate sales.
Understand your current sales pipeline, including an inventory of active prospects (and the true status of each now that the pandemic’s happening). This may require some adjustments.
6) Invest in your current clients.
Clients are more likely to spend money than entirely new people, so be sure you don’t ignore your current clients. Every account you retain is an account you don’t have to replace.
Rather than leading with an up-sell, ask. Ask about where they’re struggling, and then listen actively. Look for ways to use their current budge to help them solve problems.
7) Create a re-engagement campaign.
This category includes prospects who said “no” and prospects that disappeared into “the abyss.” They aren’t likely to convert now, but it’s worth a try.
Why? Some of the “lost” prospects won’t be happy with their current options — and some of the prospects that ghosted you before will suddenly have urgent needs today.
8) Craft a high-value offer for cold sales outreach.
I’m not a huge fan of cold sales outreach, but now may be the time for you to start if your inbound pipeline isn’t strong enough. Remember Charles Kirkland’s point about the urgency of selling a “painkiller” instead of a “vitamin.”
What’s next? This won’t be easy, but you need to start sooner than later. Need help, we’re here!