Building The Runway To Emerge Successfully
What your sales team is doing, how they handle this crisis, is not only going to determine if you survive this crisis but whether you emerge victoriously. There has been much debate as to whether to sell or not sell during this crisis. But the truth is if you chose the latter – not to sell -this marketplace will leave you behind.
Not selling is not an option. You and your sales team should be busier right now than you have ever been. But it is how you sell that will determine your future success. Eventually, it may be hard to believe, but the economy will turn back on, and we will find our new normal. And you have to ask yourself, will you be prepared, and will your sales team be ready?
The race for new business has already begun. Your current clients are deciding who they will do business with when this crisis is over. As a sales professional or sales leader, you need to be positioning yourself NOW to capture new opportunities as well as expand existing relationships.
So what do you, as a sales professional, need to do, and how do you position yourself for success? Think of this crisis as an airplane sitting at the gate. You want to use this time now to build your runway, grease the wheels so that you are in the first position for takeoff when the economy is ready to go. If you sit at the gate, this economy will leave you behind.
4 Things Sales Professionals Need To Do RIGHT Now
1. Contacting & Listening:
Begin building your runway by paving the way with existing and past clients. This is a great time to reach out to anyone you have done business within the last five years. Reach out, check-in, ask how they are doing, and then listen. Really listen.
Your clients have a lot going on right now, both positive and challenging. There is an opportunity for you to help them at every stage. Clients whose businesses are thriving, are struggling with leading remotely, managing change, and trying to decide how their business will be different when this is over.
For those clients who are not faring as well, they are trying to determine how to pivot, what staff to keep, and what new markets to explore. When you reach out and contact clients, you will not only secure those relationships; you will learn invaluable information that will help you emerge successful.
2. Identifying & Creating Value:
It is only through client contact that you can learn what your clients need. It is only through learning what they need that you can find ways to add value. Adding value is the best way to build and pave your runway. Identifying what clients need, and then filling that need NOW will pay dividends for years to come.
When clients are going through crisis, they remember who showed up, what they did, and who was there for them. That is your role as a sales professional right now.
Years ago, my husband’s office was flooded, and we lost everything. Our insurance company was less than supportive of our efforts to rebuild. Every day we were down at the flood site cleaning up, and trying to salvage what we could, an insurance agent would come by (not ours) and give us and everyone in the community water and lunch (no charge). Within two years, over half of the businesses in that community had moved their relationship to that agent.
Listen to what customers need, fill that need, add value, and pave your runway.
3. Connect To Prospects:
This is one of the best times to call on new opportunities with the same process you are using with existing customers and checking in, asking questions, listening, and adding value.
Why is the timing so right? Because more often than not, your competition is dropping the ball. They are either not calling on their customers or calling on them in a way that puts their needs ahead of their customers.
Again, whether people are your customers or not, they will remember who showed up during this time, how they acted, what they did. If you’re not prospecting, you need to be adding that to your list of priorities.
4. Building The Runway:
Consistency is vital right now. Most of us are stuck in our homes, with more to do, than we could ever imagine. Why in the middle of an economic slowdown our to-do lists get longer will remain a mystery.
But building your runway is not about being busy; it is about being productive and knowing what is most important to get done and prioritizing getting those things done first. It will be sales and marketing that will get you out of this crisis. Consistency is important, and you need to put your sales team into high gear, increase your contacts, and follow this process.