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While the US economy is gradually reopening, that doesn't mean you can expect sales to come in as soon as before. Prior to our current global health crisis, the sales rep with the best relationships probably closed the most deals. Maybe they were a wizard at solving customer problems and knew their competitors 'weaknesses better than anyone, or they knew more about the company's position in the market and how to achieve their customers' goals. But these properties may not be enough in today's world.
Trust is the key
Recognizing the changing attitudes of buyers, sales organizations around the world have conducted virtual training to help sales teams develop new skills. In the months and years to come, sales reps need to show a high level of sensitivity and compassion. You'll learn how to train prospects with insights that build trust. Why is that so important? Because trust is an “intangible asset” that moves nervous perspectives from a maybe to a yes.
Related: Five Guiding Principles To Help You Get A Deal (Even During A Global Pandemic)
In a recent interview with Austin Cohen, CEO of remote personal training company FlexFit, Cohen claimed, “Covid-19 is changing the way we consume, not what we consume. Traditional industries, in our case personal training, will continue to exist and thrive – and sales will always be the core of the growing business. "
Process over performance
In difficult times, the process usually takes precedence over the display. Salesforce Innovation Evangelist Tiffani Bova says in her book Growth IQ, “How you sell is important. What your process is important. But how your customers feel when they interact with you is more important. "
More than ever, it's about nurturing your unique ability to inspire and educate customers with valuable insights that will take them to a better place. Once they believe you can do this, your graduation rate will improve.
How to effectively close
Here are six ways I think you can get more deals in the post-pandemic environment.
Sell yourself as a "stress reducer". There is no need to learn new age practices to relieve stress for your customers. Sharing stories and ideas about other companies in their industry can reassure these important decision makers about the future. In my experience, entrepreneurs and C-level executives need to be given perspective from respected colleagues to offset their own perception of a crisis. Often this comes in the form of a third party analysis of market trends or the anecdotes of others dealing with similar issues, but it can just as easily come from a heart-to-heart conversation.
Related Topics: B2B Sales Strategies For The "New Normal" Of COVID-19
Empathize and share knowledge. Salespeople should learn to differentiate themselves by becoming a trusted advisor. Insights, predictions, and storytelling are most useful when they are summarized in a pitch or presentation that can be read in less than two minutes. This way the contents of clients and destinations are easily digested. When all competitors' products and services look the same, this technique creates a link between the emotional and the logical mind. The process begins by providing a framework within which the seller can thoroughly understand the drivers and challenges of a business and help them change the narrative.
Help them help others. The coronavirus crisis has shown that businesses need to do more to help their immediate communities. Many large companies set up a social cause, and now is a unique time to fulfill that commitment. "The Power of Sports" is a monthly television show hosted by Harvard law professor and sports business expert Rick Horrow that highlights corporate social responsibility and efforts for positive change by sports companies across the country. I worked on this show as a producer for several seasons and was able to incorporate best practices with CSR, marketing, and the benefits of helping others. The companies that have helped drive change in their community have built the greatest goodwill. Doing really good for good can be translated into long-term business partnerships. Authenticity is the key.
Stay up to date. Reaching clients and prospects during a crisis can be exhausting, especially if the conversation is one-way. Many emails and phone calls go unanswered, mainly because the prospect is unwilling to commit. By providing valuable insights into your customers' industry and staying up to date on local, regional, and national stories, your communications will become more valuable and relevant. Remember to be selective and only share the stories that drive the conversation about your business. Ultimately, prospects will respond when your communication is more focused on their needs than yours.
Find leads in different places. When the competition slows down, figuring out who is closing deals can be difficult and it seems like your normal sources of lead have dried up. A good example is the advertising agency whose customers go "dark" because stores are closed. Finding new customers can mean scouring the headlines looking for government and nonprofit initiatives, goodwill messages from large utilities, and companies looking for new ways to communicate with customers. A large number of deals were closed as salespeople began to think outside the box.
Bring your enthusiasm. As the phrase goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets tough.” Never has this advice been as relevant as in these confusing times. If prospects can only see the bleak side of the crisis, show them the bright spots you speak about what has been lost and give them a glimpse into a well-planned future. Try not to be overly optimistic, however: it is never a good idea to allay your customers' worries and pity temptation. Real enthusiasm and hope are like fuel that enables people to face the challenges that lie ahead.
Related: 4 Mistakes You're Likely to Make When Having Difficulty Closing a Sale
We live in a time of crisis and it is time to face the challenge. Use the tips above to keep yourself in the best possible position for closing deals. They may not happen as quickly as they did before and you may have to work harder to maintain them. Just keep your eyes wide open and be ready to adjust quickly.