We’ve written in recent weeks about practical, actionable advice about the mechanics and methods of shifting to a near-entirely virtual sales world as we now find ourselves in. But we thought it would be a good idea to note important items to keep in mind, even in this altered sales landscape.
- You still have your sales skills
This is perhaps the most important thing to remember. How you sell may have changed. The skills you’ve developed as a sales professional haven’t. Your ability to respond quickly to client needs? Offering insights and ideas to solve pressing business issues? Both still there. The skillsets have been the foundation of your sales approach and continue to be the bedrock supporting any changes you’ve had to make in your approach.
- Communication styles are more important than ever
Another aspect of sales that hasn’t changed is communication styles. People still have their preferred way of holding conversations. In fact, determining how your buyers express themselves is even more critical than before – being able to match their style provides familiarity and comfort in this period of uncertainty.
Where you’ll need to adapt is in how to determine their ideal style. Rather than primarily face-to-face cues, you’ll need to pay closer attention to verbal clues and even written ones. You’d be surprised how much you can determine about Bob from Sarum Enterprises and Noelle from Whitmore Bank just from close reading of their emails – tone, vocabulary, syntax, information they volunteer, etc.
- You might need to emphasize solutions to current problems more
This is a largely unprecedented time in our history. While we’ve dealt with pandemics before, it’s been over a century since we’ve had one of this scale. And that means no one can predict with any certainty what the post-pandemic future looks like – or even when the end arrives.
What that means for you as a sales professional is that you’ll likely need to lean more on your customers’ current issues and how your offerings can address those pain points that exist now. While long-range planning will certainly still be a part of it, there’s so much volatility that buyers may prefer to focus on immediacy. Be ready to help in both the short and long term.
- Keep the discussion business-focused
It’s an unfortunate reality that our response to the pandemic at all levels has become politicized. That may well mean you have buyers who are making political commentary about the local, state, or national response plan. Avoid the temptation to get sucked in.
Instead, redirect the conversation to the business itself. You can do this by saying something like, “I certainly empathize with the difficulties you’re facing right now. Can you tell me more about X?”, where X is a particular problem they mentioned that can help you uncover critical information you need about the buyer and their situation.
These are unstable times for everyone. Buyers, sellers, intermediaries – we’re all learning how to navigate this chaotic business and sales environment together. Keep in mind your expertise is still there, focus on relationship-building, and remember that above all else, you’re a Trusted Advisor who can help your pipeline weather the current economic storms and get through to the other side.