Day 14 of Covid-19 lockdown. Some of us are stepping forward, making business progress, adjusting to the new ‘normal’. For others, lockdown has left us reeling, shocked, lost in our ‘bubble’ and feeling trapped in our suburbs. If your business is deemed an essential business and you’re still comfortably trading, you might even be feeling embarrassed in the face of so much commercial carnage on the news.
Can you still sell?
The big questions on many people’s lips are – Can you still sell? Is it okay?
Yes, you can still sell. Yes, it is okay. For our economy to continue, it’s necessary to still sell.
Sales is about helping people by solving their problems. Keep a healthy focus on helping people and solving their problems, and you’ll see that it’s okay to still reach out to people you genuinely believe that you can help.
Think about your tone
Make sure you monitor your tone in all your sales and marketing messages right now.
Here in NZ, we’ve heard a lot about remembering to be kind through Covid-19. Taking kindness into your sales and marketing messages is an excellent idea – especially right now.
Many of us are tired.
- Tired of our own four walls.
- Tired of eating the same type of food each night.
- Tired on the loss of spontaneity.
- Tired of getting little or no respite from the loved ones in our bubble.
- Tired of feeling like every day is our Groundhog Day, much the same as the one before – and we’re only on Day 14!
If you’re ever approached a tired person with a request, you’ll know that you’ve got to pitch it just right to even get listened to.
Check how your clients are doing
One of the best ways to reach out to clients is to simply ask ‘How are you doing?’, and then to pause and really listen to what they share.
If they’re able to buy from you – that’s great. Think – How can you help them today?
- Do they need something different to what you normally provide?
- What about order levels?
- Is there an opportunity to cross-sell or upsell?
If they’re not able to buy – keep your same focus. Think – How can you help them today?
- Remembering that you’re building relationship
- Your values are on display
This is an incredible opportunity to show your clients who you are and why they’ll want to deal with you when we come out the other side of Covid-19.
What if your clients haven’t returned your call or email? How do you check in with them?
A good process when you give them that check-in call is leave a brief voicemail message asking how they are, and then send them a quick text to say hello and hope that they’re doing well. They’ll normally text you back, even if they don’t get back on the phone. If you’re friends on Facebook or LinkedIn, you could choose to send them a quick personal message.
Getting online with your customers
Your customers probably have more time than they had before Covid-19. Even busy customers have probably saved some time on their regular commute to work.
With all this extra time, it’s no surprise that internet usage has ratcheted right up. Many of your customers will really value the opportunity to learn more about your industry and the solutions you provide. Remember that we’re all looking forward to the day we finally come out of lockdown.
- Content marketing – blogs, social media posts
- Offer resources – best practice info, etc
- Free trials (if you’re a software company or other online solution provider)
- Run webinars
Remind your customers of the value you add, and how you can work with them with achieve that result they’re after.
If one webinar isn’t enough to achieve the results they’re wanting, they’ll know they need to engage with you in an ongoing capacity.
How to avoid the sales ‘lag’
Once you’ve got your tone, approach and timing right, keep planting those sales seeds to come out of Covid-19 lockdown in the best possible shape.
At the other end of Covid-19, you want your sales to be ready to go. Continue to build those business relationships.
Remember that lag we keep hearing about with Covid-19? We know that our actions around self-isolating in our ‘bubbles’ today still mean that we won’t see the resulting drop in new Covid-19 cases for several days to come.
Initially, you’re often okay for a little while.
Once every remaining lead has dropped out of the bottom of your sales pipeline, that’s when you’re likely to experience the result – the tank is empty.
It’s a big mistake to completely stop your sales and marketing efforts during lockdown. You could risk experiencing a longer dip than your competitors. Be careful to avoid any sales ‘lag’ – delays in your business coming out of the gates strongly once the market starts to pick up. Stopping all sales and marketing activity could make it more difficult to just pick off where you left off at the beginning of the lockdown.
Business is messy right now – keep planting sales seeds anyway
Sales and marketing are a lot like gardening – which incidentally is now enjoying a resurgence. You spend a lot of time messing in the dirt, wondering if anything is really happening. It takes times to see the results from your efforts.
Take care of those seeds you’re planting – they might be a spinach plant, or they might be a big oak tree! The customer relationships you put energy into today could yield a customer lifetime value far greater than you can appreciate right now.
Right now, much of our business is messy. We’re hearing comments across all sectors about ‘uncharted waters’ and ‘unprecedented times’. The global impact of Covid-19 is huge. We crave certainty, but there is no playbook. It is a dark and dirty time for many of us.
You may not have the resources you’d want.
You may not feel like you know enough about how to pivot your sales pitch to meet your market.
Just start with what you have.
- Build and nurture your community.
- Get busy helping people.
At the right moment, be bold and ask – ‘Would you like some help with that?’
Sales will follow.
Those sales and marketing seeds you plant today may not yield a harvest for a few weeks or maybe even months.
Keep planting anyway.
Something beautiful will grow from the dirt you’ve been planting in.
You will see a harvest.
Let’s brainstorm to solve this sales challenge for you.