Things are moving FAST right now. I know you are probably shaking your head, as it seems the world has literally stopped. (Just as so many of your sales deals came to a screeching halt.) But consider this: In only 3+ months, we have gone from a nearly complete shutdown of schools and businesses, to states like Georgia opening parks, restaurants and hair salons, to businesses slowly opening their stores and offices again. That’s a LOT of change in a very short time.
Adaptation, adjustment and acceptance of a more difficult selling environment were critical when this all began. But we are not where we were. It’s important that to recognize that things are starting to open up. It’s time to move forward. It’s time to look towards ‘business as usual’.
Leading with Empathy?
Empathy was critical to your sales outreach just one month ago. Not leading with empathy led prospects to believe you were cold, uncaring and essentially tone deaf. In our case, some early pandemic calls were occasionally met with astonishment at our insensitivity, rude responses and abrupt hang-ups. (Talk about demoralizing business development outreach!) However, businesses still needed our services and we still needed clients, so we kept trying. Speaking to this rapidly changing environment, we have recently seen a dramatic shift back to a more normal cadence of outreach and generated sales opportunities. We have undoubtedly turned the corner and your outreach needs to adapt to that.
We all remain empathetic to the ongoing pandemic and its effect on the lives of those around us. And that doesn’t have to change in order for us to push our businesses forward.
It’s time to stop leading with empathy in our outreach, with the understanding that it’s time to get “back to business”.
Revenue Attainment is Still Paramount
Revenue goals still exist for every company, just as every sales team has individual and team goals. Those aren’t disappearing, despite what’s happened. Sure, we are all a bit more realistic about how this situation may impact the bottom line come December. But employees still need to be paid. Rent is due. Vendors are knocking on the door (well, figuratively speaking…) for payments. While the world seems to have stopped, bills never will!
It is CRITICAL that sales professionals start accelerating NOW to have any impact on 2020. You simply cannot sit back and reach out gingerly (or not at all) for fear of offending someone who isn’t ready to make a purchase.
Are budgets tight? Yes. Have many been frozen during this period of uncertainty? Oh yes. But that doesn’t mean business has stopped. It has slowed.
Companies still recognize areas where they need help, perhaps even more so now than before. There are still consideration sets being created while products are evaluated. If you aren’t reaching out, you miss the opportunity to be considered at the point budgets are loosened. To maintain momentum, you must stay in-market, keep brand awareness high and continue outreach to create first conversations with key players in target accounts.
You can lose ‘share of voice’ in the marketplace if you aren’t actively reaching out while your competitors are. And that can haunt you long after Covid is no longer a daily topic.
I’m in no way saying you shouldn’t be empathetic and that the continued loss of life lives is insignificant. I AM saying, that in the words of the great PT Barnum, the Show Must Go On. And to earn new deals, you must be actively engaging with your market so when they are ready to reach out for help, it’s you they want to talk to. In sales, there is no prize for second place. At the risk of over-doing quotes in one paragraph, I would be remiss if I didn’t quote Ricky Bobby: “If you’re not first, you’re last!”
Let’s get back to business and make 2020 the very best we can.