Salespeople and sales directors and managers, AKA sales leaders, by the way, I really dislike this term as very few of them I have ever met actually are leaders, most of them couldn’t run a bath; digressing for a moment, I have often found there is an inverse relationship between those who use this terminology and their effectiveness i.e. up there with “all the gear no idea” Anyway, back to the point, sales leaders are being sold on the idea that “automation” and tech will improve closing and revenue results.
Most of the email tools start with a promise that they will be easy to use, friction-free, time-shifting and most incorrectly offer the right medium for sales conversations. They offer a world where sales (AKA deals – apply your own jargon here) can be sold and won without face-to-face meetings and phone calls.
Email marketing largely does not work. There, I have said it. Waits for massive disagreement to begin.
Controlling the process calling selling to people requires you to, you have guessed it, talk to people about the real next steps necessary for producing the results they want and need. How radical is that?
Meeting other humans
All of us have to request these events called meetings and to do that you need to be an assertive ambassador.
The assertive bit means persistently and energetically arguing that you want the opportunity to show what you offer will solve the clients problem. Obviously qualified properly throughout this.
The ambassador bit means having that conversation in a way that doesn’t increase the resistance on your dream prospect’s part and instead, reducing it to the point you gain agreement to the next meeting.
If your prospect isn’t going to agree to meet you, why would you believe they are going to buy from you?
If your prospect won’t commit to going through the process you and they know is ultimately necessary, what makes you believe they are going to sign a contract and start sending you money?
Try doing that on social or by email? You wont. Beat that with a stick.
Here are some areas for you to think about on how to improve your sales pipeline and revenue opportunities during this time.
1. Reach Out to Old Clients
Many salespeople overlook a very important segment of prospects when rolling out their prospecting plan — past clients. This category of buyers can be a valuable source of business because they know you and probably already like you. They also understand your offerings and the value you provide. But before getting ex-customers back in the fold, you must re-engage with them. So, what is your re-engagement plan? How can you lure them back for more business?
A 6-step Re-Engagement Plan:
I. Create a list: Filter your BD data, and put together a list of all past clients you would like to re-contact.
II. Contact them directly through email: This is important to re-establish your personal relationship with the prospect. Perhaps record a two-minute video and attach it to the email.
III. Be thankful: Recognize, appreciate, and thank every inactive customer for past business they have given you.
IV. Be genuine: Express genuine concern for their well-being. Ask how they are doing during the pandemic.
V. Remind them of the benefits of working together: Recall your previous experience, citing your unique selling proposition and how they benefited.
VI. Build a long-term relationship: Keep in touch with the customer to build long-term loyalty. The key to re-engagement is to focus on the value you provide to your client. For instance, you can create a problem-solving checklist or service to help them during the COVID-19 crisis. And perhaps include a “limited time offer” as a token of appreciation. You can also conduct market research and provide insights to help your client pull through this crisis. Demonstrating your ability to protect customers in times of adversity is the key to winning them back and closing more deals.
2. Update Your Messaging
As you review your product or service’s value proposition, it is important to review your messaging. Your messaging efforts should focus on humanizing your brand by understanding your customer. When creating your messages, ensure they are actionable and easy to understand. Every message should have a unique call to action.
Your target audience will especially appreciate an empathetic message they can easily use at this time, not just the typical faux empathetic statements they see flooding the web.
One more thing: avoid using an aggressive tone in your message or email copy. For instance, asking the prospect or customer, “Have you read my previous email?” sounds unfriendly. Do not do it. Instead, take your time to understand their concerns and what they might need from you. It is a difficult time. Do not make it harder for them.
3. Choose Your Battles
As a rule of thumb, do not let the government or the stock market determine your financial security. Take control of your future by doing everything it takes to achieve your goals. The pandemic might bring the biggest opportunity in your lifetime. There are lots of opportunities in consumer-focused firms, especially those providing remote collaboration, support, cloud computing, e-learning, and other on-demand services that are essential during the pandemic. If I were you, I would commit myself to do everything I can to surround myself with people, information, and ideas that would help me grow and achieve financial freedom. TedX is a brilliant resource – https://www.ted.com/topics
4. Sell by Sharing What you Know and Have Experienced
One of the best ways to succeed online is creating value by sharing what you know. Success follows value. So, think about creating a high-value marketing plan that not only supports your current sales but the rest of your future. There are many ways you can teach others on an ongoing basis. So, do not worry, this is not rocket science.
a. Starting a blog post or a series of articles that offer helpful advice on what your target audience should do during the COVID-19 pandemic – e.g. https://www.redflagalert.com/articles or https://smesupportforumni.com/articles/
b. Interview real experts, or running a focus group
c. Run a virtual event, or a Q&A platform, that helps you understand the concerns of your customer base.
d. Create a COVID-19 Resource Centre that consolidates all this information in a single shareable URL – e.g. https://www.redflagalert.com/ebook/the-covid-19-playbook-for-smes
e. Once the crisis is over, you can shift whatever strategy you go with into an evergreen content hub.
You will not only help others but also benefit in the process. Sharing your knowledge like this sets you up as an expert and the value of that cannot be underestimated. But more importantly, it builds your network and helps you create long-lasting relationships that keep you afloat in hard times and rocket you to the top in better ones.
5. It is Up to You
Every time the world changes, the rules for making sales change. So, taking the initiative is the key to overcoming this economic slowdown from a sales perspective.
Finally, do not forget to prepare for the post coronavirus crisis. The pandemic will not last forever (even if it may feel that way), and the salespeople who prepare today will be the ones on top when this is all over. Stay strong, adapt to change, and you will come out of this stronger than ever before, ready to thrive in a post-COVID world.
I came across this brilliant article on Linkedin by Derek McCracken and thought it summarised key areas of what we do very well. “…….Whether it involves taking charge of a company or joining a senior team for a specific period, I have learned that there are 5 keys, which are vitally important in order to successfully engage people. These are:
Read the article here: Derek McCraken’s Linkedin Article