But we can study other historical crises and draw inferences as to how sales professionals can weather this storm and set themselves up to be way ahead of the competition when better times return. The way you do your work now will have a direct impact on your success later this year.
Buyers are scared, so they’re sitting on their hands and putting off decisions. Because of the market uncertainty, they are not interested in engaging with sales pros like us.
That leads to a second problem – sales pros start feeling disheartened and then adopt a defeatist mentality toward their work. Why should I bother calling anyone when nobody is willing to make a decision?!!? If you succumb to such fatalistic feelings, you’re in trouble.
This is a time to push forward. Be active and assertive. This is the time you should be doing something special for clients, thinking about new ways to serve clients and developing new messages to engage people who aren’t yet working with you. If you take advantage of this time, you will have a clear advantage once things settle down.
Sir Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” I don’t know if these current times quite qualify as “hell” or not, but we can all agree they’re pretty bad. The last thing we want to do is sit around and take it all in. Let’s get out of this situation.
Are you wondering how you get out? Here’s the answer: The only way you get out of this crisis is to sell your way out of it!
That’s right; you need to sell your way out of this crisis. That doesn’t mean you adopt aggressive, hard-sell techniques. Such techniques simply don’t work when clients are fearful. Plus it would be tone-deaf.
Here’s how you CAN sell your way out of this crisis:
- Stay in front of clients and provide a lot of value. Talk to them. Listen to them. Bring them new ideas. Make the conversations about them and not you or your offering.
- See yourself as a coach and teacher, not just a sales pro. A coach or teacher makes “students” more successful. A sales pro operating in a coaching role gets clients to see things from a different perspective and challenges their thinking when they’re suffering from fear-induced decision paralysis.
- Focus on steps in the process instead of the ultimate end. When clients are riddled with fear, they want to move more slowly. Just getting a mini commitment out of them (convincing them to take one more step in the process) can be a victory during these times). Even if prospects are taking only baby steps, they’re at least still moving forward.
- Work on yourself. It’s always important to sharpen your skills and stay on the cutting edge of your industry. It’s even more important now. Elite professionals are always “training forward.” That means they study, prepare and get themselves ready for the next opportunity.
If you have a little extra time during this crisis, invest in yourself and become stronger for the good times coming in the not-too-distant-future. During a down market, lazy sales reps always fall further behind the proactive ones!
This is your time to shine! It’s time to go out and engage new clients and keep your business moving forward.