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Sales Advice During COVID-19: What to Change About Selling

1) Accept that this will be slow and hard.
No matter what you do, everyone’s distracted. Now more than ever, your company’s marketing and sales messages are low in the list of your prospects’ priorities. Your efforts may fail… but if you take no action, failure is guaranteed.

2) Recognize that your client is the Hero, and you’re the Helper.
We’re all the hero of our own lives… but right now more than ever, your job is to make your clients the Hero. Make sure you are there to help your clients reach their goals… and this helps you reach your goals.

3) Commit to a long-term sales mindset.
Are you going to be helpful, long-term, and patient? Or are you going to be transactional, short-term, and desperate?
My advice here (and in general) focuses on a long-term approach. You may be tempted to compromise and take shortcuts—but is that in line with your values? As they say, values aren’t values until following them costs you money.

4) Choose to practice compassion, empathy, and patience.
This is about clarifying your sales philosophy and sharing with your team. Everyone is distracted, and some people are sick. Ask and listen, before you tell. Now is not the time to send pushy or otherwise tone-deaf sales messages.

5) Understand (and secure) your immediate sales and marketing situation.
This applies to marketing, sales, and everyone involved. The goal is to avoid making an obvious mistake about an in-progress initiative… or lack thereof.

Understand your current sales pipeline, including an inventory of active prospects (and the true status of each now that the pandemic’s happening). This may require some adjustments. Inventory your sales leads, to understand what future sales opportunities might look like. Review what is in your marketing queue, to see what’s applicable (and not applicable) to helping clients today. Decide whether to increase your sales team’s base compensation (via a temporary draw or salary increase).

6) Adjust your annual sales targets.
It seems expect that most sales reps will not grow their top line revenue in 2020. If you’re focusing on a hard-hit industry (tourism, hospitality, events), you can expect a minimum of a 50% decrease in revenues. Depending on your mix of verticals, you might expect a minimum 10-30% decrease in revenues.

7) Create lower-commitment “bite-size” sales offerings.
These are things to generate revenue today, even if they’re smaller than your minimums in the past. The key is that the price range needs to appropriately reflect the scope (for you to deliver) and the value (for the client to receive).
You’ll need to “test” different options to see what resonates for your target market today.

8) Outline a plan to create high-value marketing content, for sales support.
This will be a layered, multi-phase process that you continually “enhance” over time.
The key is that you need something high value as “currency” to share with prospects, so your sales outreach and follow-ups don’t lead with “pay us money.” Beyond sales support, this marketing helps you attract inbound prospects.
If you haven’t built (or strengthened) your personal brand, now might be the time for you to step up—because the world needs your thought leadership.

9) Show the love to your current clients.
Clients are more likely to spend money with existing accounts than with new people, so be sure you don’t ignore your current clients. Every account you retain is an account you don’t have to [immediately] replace.
Rather than leading with an upsell ask them where they’re struggling, and then listen actively. Look for ways to use their current budget to help them solve problems.

I know some of you have already implemented a few these new strategies but if not, get focused on how you’ll manage in the next few months. Please reach out and let me know how I can help with your sales journey! leslie@groeneconsulting.com.

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