During difficult times, it can be easy for salespeople to lose confidence. With so much of the news devoted to dire forecasts for business and industry, it can seem like all we can do to keep ourselves together, let alone inspire confidence in our clients or customers. However, this is exactly what salespeople need to do during the current economic crisis. This is an opportunity to position yourself as a trusted advisor, someone your customers can rely on during difficult times. Those salespeople who can inspire clients during the tough times will have an advantage and reap the rewards of stronger relationships when things return to normal.
In order to inspire confidence in others, you must first be confident in yourself. Although this can seem difficult during challenging times, it is something you can overcome. If you lack confidence, work on improving it step by step. Focus on the positive and build on what you’ve been able to accomplish. If sales are sluggish, stay engaged in the things that are important to your customers. Remember, a key component of being successful in sales is your ability to offer value and, in times like these, one of the most valuable things you can offer is yourself. Ask what you can do for clients and present yourself as someone they can count on.
In tough times, be as transparent as possible. While many businesses send impersonal emails on policy and updates, you are the face of your company. Personal communication goes a long way to establishing trust and instilling confidence in your clients beyond mass emails from the marketing department. Let clients know about procedural changes, such as which team members are in the office or working remotely, as well as the status of outstanding orders. If you’re experiencing delays, let them know you’re working as hard as you can to meet deadlines, and be open about additional time it may take.
Proactively reaching out can provide value and boost confidence. Let clients know you are thinking of them. Express confidence in your tone of voice on the phone and in written communication. If you sound all gloom and doom, that’s what you will inspire. On the phone, your active listening skills are vital to pick up on the subtle cues they send, whether they’re anxious or upbeat. In email, think about word choice and the connotation of your words in addition to their literal meaning.
When much of the news is negative, use social media to post relevant items about business that are useful to clients. Target specific clients with a brief note that an article or post made you think of them. The important thing is to be a voice of value, offering insight your clients can use. Remember, too, that others will see your posts, so it’s important to build your personal brand as you inspire confidence in clients.
During difficult times, it can be challenging to avoid being consumed with the negativity of the daily news cycle. While you might be limited in what you can do, it’s still vital to maintain open communication and show yourself to be an honest and value-added partner. More than anything, when the difficult times pass, your clients will remember you were a steady and inspiring presence, which can go a long way to building the relationships that are vital to business, regardless of the economic times.