Selling during the pandemic

Posted: 26th April, 2020 in Case Studies, Cash and finance, Communications, Customer Service, Marketing Services, PR & press, Sales , Strategy & planning, Tips & Tricks

Many people have wondered if it’s appropriate to sell during the crisis? Some will say yes and others will disagree. There is so much to consider. But there is one thing for sure – no matter what we do, it will be different. 

Keeping the economy afloat is vital. We need to talk to our customers, yet be sensitive about it too. We need to acknowledge the situation and accept it for what it is.

And as salespeople, we should ask ourselves two questions. "What can we offer that’s useful?" And "What’s the most suitable way to sell right now?"

This got me thinking about the key points of selling during these tough times. If we can practice these and do them right, it will stand to us in the future.

Let’s start with keeping an open-mind and focus on what we can do, rather than what we can’t. People are distracted, so there may be times we need to dig deep and be very patient. Stay positive and put the customer first, even when we’re not a priority.

Recently, I have been reminded of a phrase I came across years ago. It reads “Quit selling – help people buy” and is very apt today. We need to put our customers at the heart of the business and focus on the relationship, rather than the sale. We need to rethink how we look at customers and ask ourselves how well do you know them? What you can do to help? Consider new, old and even dormant accounts too. Perhaps this is the time to offer support or just check in with them.

Take time to review your customers by market segment and work out how each has been impacted by the crisis. Then consider who may be busy, has not been interrupted or could be quiet right now. Have a think about how each are doing or what they might need. Ask yourself, is there something you can do to help right now?   

Your products/service and value proposition have to be relevant. Focus on the offerings that will be of use and add value to these clients. Talk with clients and find out about their challenges. This just might be an opportunity to find the solution. 

Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”. Every time you pick up the phone, be yourself and be sincere. Connect with your customers on a human level and let them know you care. Acknowledge the situation, showing empathy and concern. Avoid negativity where possible, people want to feel better after talking to you.

Take a more relaxed approach on calls, whilst maintaining a keen interest in the customer. People may be happy to chat, but it needs to be about them. Ask questions to show interest and listen intently to find out what’s important to them. Don’t brag or be pushy. Talk about their business, their challenges and only suggest offerings if relevant to them.

Keep in mind the saying “It’s better to give, rather than receive”. Think of your customers as business partners and work with them. This may be anything from giving advice, offering support, making an introduction or solving a problem for them. Situations may include anything from extending your credit terms, to adjusting your distribution channels, bundling or altering a product / service or perhaps creating something completely new for them. At all times, stay accountable and reliable following up on every promise.

Damon Richards believes “Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. This is the time we need to slow down, be considerate and take care of everyone around us.

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