We’ve all seen the movies where the unimaginable happens and a hero rises to lead the way. In times like these, the best leaders know how to get out ahead of a crisis. Though recent events might be cause for concern, we should resist the urge to panic. Here are a few things sales managers should consider when leading in times of crisis.
Keep an Even Keel
As a leader, how you act and the things you say take on a greater importance. While it’s understandable to be concerned about yourself and your family, be measured in your response. Remember, your team looks to you to set the tone. If you panic, they’ll panic. Educate yourself on the latest information, and rather than avoid the topic, engage your team in discussion. The more you reassure your team, the more they can reassure your customers. It might be a crazy world, but you’re doing all you can to keep things together—a lesson that goes beyond the current crisis to the future of your business.
Create and Convey a Plan
Send an email or update your website. Show how you are proactively addressing the needs of your team members and clients by outlining the specific steps you are taking. Perhaps you are expanding your cleaning regimen. Maybe you are encouraging and supporting sick employees to work from home. For employees with kids, allow for flexible schedules as the needs of their families change. These things go a long way to establishing trust. In the future, your clients and customers will remember your transparency and leadership.
As events remain fluid, strive for normalcy. It’s important to keep the wheels of business turning because there’s too much at stake. Managers have margins to meet. Employees have families to feed. Change face-to-face meetings to conference calls. Remember, your recent investment in technology was designed for moments like these. With teleconferencing and virtual coaching, your sales pros in Louisville can virtually join your coaches in Charleston. Show your clients you are on the forefront of technology with interactive coachings that help teams meet their goals even when travel is difficult.
During challenging times, some would wait until normalcy returns to evaluate their preparedness. Instead, leaders should self-evaluate in the middle of things. Think about changes you resisted or technologies you put off buying. Could they have made a difference? How well did your company prepare for contingencies? Often, it’s only when confronted with the unexpected that we can see how to improve the lives of our team members and clients the next time we face a crisis.
Invest in the Future
As a sales manager, remember that even a downturn caused by a crisis can be an opportunity. Use the time to invest in your team and sales organization. Are there sales processes that could be improved and streamlined? Could your staff benefit from sales training or brushing up on the best practices when it comes to your CRM or sales automation tools you have deployed? Remember, economic downturns are temporary events. Use them to plan and position your organization to be in a place when business picks up again.
Though our current news cycle may seem scary, scary times can create the best leaders—the ones who inspire our team members and clients in both their personal and professional lives. As President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Those leaders who rise to the challenge can create a climate of success that will continue to inspire long after the current challenge ends.