I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you can’t reach your prospects right now, either because they’re focussing on other, more important things or because they’re working from home, or worse still, they’re ill.
It’s only natural to worry whether trying to reach them is even appropriate; after all, they may be literally trying to save their business right now, in which case do they really want to hear from a sales person?
But in a similar vein, we’re also trying to save our own business so it’s important that we don’t simply give up, but we might need to act a little differently for a while.
Unless you’re selling something that can definitely help them right now, for example by cutting costs, increasing revenues and/or cash flow or saving jobs then don’t expect an immediate response when you reach out to prospects, just be aware that you’re not going to be top of the priority list and may not be for a while.
Demonstrate empathy by letting your customers and prospects know that you’re still around and available to help if needed. Email and social media are probably a better and softer form of communication for now. If you’re seeing new ways of working that could help your contacts, whether that’s as a result of what you do, or just something you’ve seen elsewhere, then share the ideas.
Be flexible and think of other ways of doing what you do. We’ve seen lots of pubs and restaurants switch to collection and takeaway services over the last few days, fitness instructors usually found in gyms are setting up online classes. I’ve switched from a group training delivery model to an online model. If you provide something that can’t be provided online, consider offering vouchers that customers can buy now and redeem at a later date… it might just help generate some additional cash for you in the short term.
Consider changing your commercial model to something that addresses the increased challenges your customer may be facing. Can you offer deferred payment terms to start delivering results to customers without adding pressure on their short term cash flow. If you’re a software supplier, can you offer discounted pricing whilst the pandemic continues. You’ll of course reduce your own revenues and margin, but if that helps a customer address a problem, they’ll remember and hopefully thank you for the support with long term loyalty.
If you’re operating in a sector where your potential customers have all effectively closed down, then you may just have to sit it out, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing useful you can be doing.
Review your past sales results and conversion ratios and take time to think about ways you could improve these.
Revisit your definition of an ideal customer. What is it about them that makes your product or service especially useful. Has this changed as a result of recent events and if so, should we perhaps change our sales and marketing messaging and plans.
Spend time prospecting potential new customers. Investing time now, even though you may not get results fro some time could still pay dividends in the long run.
Review your current sales process. Is it effective or even relevant in today’s new world. Does it need updating or improving?
Think about common objections that you face during sales cycles. Draw up a list them and then develop three ways you could address each one.
Above all, take time to learn new skills or polish your existing skills. Maybe there are on line training courses you could take to help better equip you for when we come out of the current challenging period.
We will get to the other side of the current challenges and those of us who are best prepared and ready to take advantage of the new opportunities ahead, will be the ones to reap the biggest rewards.
If you’d like more information about online training programmes, get in touch.
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