In these times of uncertainty, when so many companies are struggling to survive and people are worrying about their health and future, many sales people don't feel comfortable selling or promoting products and services.
However, companies still need these even in times of economic hardship, so it all comes down to how you sell them. The sales person's role is to put themselves in the customer's shoes and see how what they are selling can benefit the latter. This is even more the case in such times, so you need to make sure that the product or service you are selling is benefitting the company you are trying to sell it to and to change your approach according to the way the client's priorities have changed.
Here are a few tips on how to tweak your sales approach:
Don't be pushy
Be aware of the fact that your customers and prospects are going through a hard time and making an appointment with you or listening to your pitch might not be their top priority.
Acknowledging this fact and being understanding and considerate instead of pushy and self-absorbed will help you gain customers' loyalty. Reschedule the calls and give the client time to adjust to the new situation by letting them choose a date for the follow-up.
Also, don't push to close the deal and don't put pressure on your prospects, instead ask them how and when they would like to move forward and then follow up accordingly.
Connect to your client
We are sociable creatures and don't thrive in isolation. This pandemic, which has forced us to stay indoors and avoid contact with others has made us yearn for human contact and communicating with others.
When you sell, try to communicate with your prospects on a personal level. Show empathy and genuine interest in their company's situation.
These days, depending on what country you live in, you might not be able to visit your clients and prospects in person, so try to make up for it as much as possible by communicating through video calls rather than just on the phone.
Collaborate instead of pitching
During these times your prospects’ attention is more divided than ever. Acknowledge this and don't pitch as usual, but use the appointment to have a dynamic conversation with the client, to collaborate with them and listen to what they need.
Instead of a lengthy pitch, focus on one or two key features of your product that would bring the most value to the client. The conversation with the client allows you to find out how you can meet the individual needs of their business. Together you will be able to find a bespoke solution that covers all the bases.
The value you provided in the past might be irrelevant now
Before starting your pitch, ask yourself how your prospect's economic situation and priorities might have changed. Try to find out how the current situation is influencing them, are they losing business or are they presented with new opportunities? They might also be in the process of making big changes in their business model in order to stay competitive in today's changed market. Then change your pitch to match these circumstances and show them how the services you are offering are going to help them now, in their current state of affairs. The value your services provided in the past or the way you used to present it might be completely irrelevant today, so be aware of this and make changes where needed.
Upsell existing clients
If you can offer new features for your product, that bring added value in today's environment, try to sell them to your existing clients. You can offer them free trials, discounts or an incentive program.
In the same way, you can persuade your clients who use a basic version of your product to upgrade it if the benefits outweigh the extra costs and are relevant in the current situation.
Create sales offers in small packages
In these uncertain times, your clients and prospects might not be able or willing to invest the same amount of money in your services as they did or would have done before. In order to continue gaining clients and not to lose existing ones, you might need to prepare smaller sales packages or subscription plans which offer a more basic version of your services. The clients that are struggling through the pandemic can opt for these basic plans and upgrade them when their economic situation improves.
This is a better option than offering discounts, because if you offer discounts it will be difficult to return to the full price afterwards.
Maintain your current clients
While trying to find new prospects, make sure you don't lose any of your current clients. Find out if their needs have changed and see what they are struggling with at the moment and if you can make any change to your offer in order to help them and gain their loyalty.
If you close a deal with a new client, use an electronic signature tool such as eversign to send the contract to them to sign digitally. It's secure, easy to use and legally binding. Also, since there is no need to print or scan the document, you can receive the signed contract within minutes.
Remember to take breaks
Last, but not least, expect sales to be hard and slow during these times and brace yourself. You’ll need to find the right approach to sales during the pandemic, but, most importantly, you'll also need to remember to take breaks and take care of yourself. Working long hours in the hope of matching pre-pandemic sales levels and worrying about them will get you burned out. You have a higher chance of success if you cut yourself some slack during these times.