As we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, selling has gotten more complicated than it was before. (And we realize that there are bigger concerns in the world, but for those of us who are on a commission structure and need to get paid, we are still trying to sell). It is difficult to approach prospects in a respectful manner; while the lead-in used to always be something along the lines of “I hope you are well,” now we actually mean it. The physical well-being of our prospects is a true concern. They are not merely prospects, they are people. So here are some things to consider in the time of the pandemic.
Geography. Our corporate office is up here in New Hampshire, which has still had its pockets of infection, but by and large we have gotten lucky so far. That has not been the case for everyone. Those who are in major metropolitan areas may have family members, colleagues, or close friends who have been impacted. It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: a dose of empathy can go a long way. It’s not possible for us to understand everything that is going on down in New York City, but sometimes the people to whom we want to speak to sell something just want to speak to a human who’s somewhere else. Just be a human being and have a conversation with someone before you start trying to tell them something. Now more than ever, everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about.
Possible job loss or furlough. Companies have been forced to lay people off, and it’s not because they wanted to. Economic situations have changed faster than they have ever changed before. So while you felt like your Rolodex was completely dialed in, it may be off the mark now. Those rock-solid contacts who were going to purchase in Q3 just might not. It’s truly a tough time to be a biz dev person on commission. So if you happen to get someone who has been furloughed or seen their hours cut, but is still checking email, be sure you’re kind and understanding.
Home schooling. Yes, it’s nice to have the kids around all the time. I have gotten to remember what the quadratic equation and Pythagorean theorem were, and gotten familiar with algebra again. While there are certain fun aspects to having the kids around during the day, it can be challenging for many, particularly those with little ones, or kids who may have a more complex school day and require extra help. Again, there are going to be distractions. You may not get a response back ASAP. And that’s OK! You may also get phone calls or Zoom calls interrupted by kids. Again, that’s OK! Not all of us have home offices. Be patient.
Issues within the family. There’s a lot of stress, man! You’re missing extended family members, you’re missing friends, you are around your spouse a LOT and maybe that’s a challenge. These things are challenges for your prospects, also. Sometimes it’s easier to be “on” for someone you don’t know, like a sales prospect. That’s OK, too. We all need a little escape during the day, and sometimes that comes by way of a phone call to someone you may not have any intent of purchasing from today. The sale may happen later because you took the time to brighten someone’s day.
Budgets are cut. This one’s tough. You may have thought you had a budget locked in for Q3, and it’s gone, and someone says “hey, call us back in Q4,” or “hey, I don’t know if we will ever purchase from you.” So now you have to keep in touch with someone with friendly sales check-ins. Marketing check-ins might not work for them, but the personal touch will.
Finding the right prospect. This has been a real challenge for us as well as others. The pandemic has affected many different industries in different ways, and within those industries it has impacted companies based upon their size. It’s necessary to evaluate a company before you reach out to them, and tailor your response appropriately.
We do have a solution for many of these issues – our customer enablement app allows you to remove your task list from the follow-up process. When you’re not actually selling, but you are forced to prospect and follow-up all the time, your task list gets overwhelming. Maverick allows you to take the task list and combine it with your email client (Outlook or Gmail), meaning you can schedule emails for weeks or months down the road. While things may still be in flux by then, a friendly check-in doesn’t hurt at all. We can help you learn more about Maverick, or even try a license for free. Click here for more.