I want to share with you how you can survive, thrive, and be of even greater service to clients and prospects in this ongoing coronavirus environment.
My definition of sales and selling for over 35 years in business has been helping people—and more specifically, helping people buy. And that is even more accurate, important and essential right now, given how so many things have changed, even just in the past week.
I’ve compiled a number of suggestions as to what you might be able to do to be of greater service to clients, future clients and to yourself.
1. Vaccinate yourself
Not physically, but mentally and emotionally. Success in sales, more than any other profession, is reliant on our thoughts, which result in our actions—or inaction.
Saying there is panic and tremendous negativity right now makes me Captain Obvious. You can choose to participate in it, or not. But this requires more than just a meme or motivational quote. It requires being a positive person, with all of your thoughts.
Transformational coach, Jim Fortin says that “nothing has meaning until I give it meaning.”
This is true for everything in life. From a bird you see outside your window to anything anyone says to the entire coronavirus situation, none of it has meaning for you until you give it meaning. And you totally control that meaning, positive or negative.
This related point is painfully simple, and yet complex at the same time:
Everything is just a thing.
All things mean what you want them to. For example, many advisors right now are telling themselves a story that their clients don’t want to speak with an advisor. Others are saying, “Now is the best time to reach out to clients, reconnect, reassure, ask how I can help, and share ideas of how other clients are coping.”
What is your story?
2. It’s a great time to be of service
And as I have said before, selling is really all about helping, and is the ultimate form of servicing. There are tremendous opportunities out there right now to be of service and to sell and prospect.
The saying, “We can’t control the wind, but we can adjust our sails” certainly applies today. And not to be cute, but I will change the spelling of “sails” to “sales.”
Yes, there are new opportunities right now that didn’t even exist last week. I’m not talking about taking advantage of people, I’m talking about helping to an even greater level.
It might require getting really creative. Ask yourself this question:
What new problems are your prospects and clients facing right now that they might not have had last week, and how are you uniquely qualified to help them?
In my case, my business for over 35 years has been helping salespeople use the phone more effectively in their sales and prospecting. Right now, many who did not have a need to do that are finding that they must, and I have many, many resources to help them.
3. Be smart with your outreach
In my opinion, it was never a good idea to just smile and dial and engage in the numbers game, shotgun approach to sales. It is disrespectful to try and get someone to spend time with you when you have not taken the time yourself to understand them, their business, and any unique situations or problems they might be experiencing.
This is even more important today. It’s not tough at all to do even the smallest bit of research on your prospects and clients, and easier than ever to even go more in depth using Google, LinkedIn, and premium sales intel services.
4. Speaking of using the phone
Yes. Do it. Most humans desire to be connected. If they are working from home, when they normally are around people, they might be more apt to want to speak with someone.
Start with contacting your best clients first. But don’t do a “Just checking in” call. That’s lazy. Come up with a list of 10–20 possible items of interest or possible value you could share. Think of what unique challenges and problems they are now encountering, and how you might be able to help them.
5. Speak to the human first
Right now every single person is being affected in their own way by the virus. Most not physically but, in other personal, family, social, financial and work-related ways.
For many people the small talk and chit-chat has always been a part of their conversations. I know for others, maybe they don’t engage as much and are not comfortable with it. Right now, we all have a built in way to connect with everyone we speak with because we have this current situation in common. Ask your clients and prospects how they are doing personally, and be prepared to share your story too.
6. Use video
If you haven’t used video yet in your marketing, prospecting, or sales, now is a perfect time to start. There are lots of options. It could be using an online meeting platform like Zoom, Skype or GoToMeeting for live interactions. Or sending a personalized video through email using a service like BombBomb, Vidyard or Soapbox. Two executives from BombBomb, Ethan Beute and Stephen Pacinelli have written a great book on how to do this effectively, it’s called Rehumanize Your Business: How Personal Videos Accelerate Sales and Improve Customer Experience.
7. Send something physical
My friend, Stu Heinecke, author of the great books How to Get a Meeting With Anyone and Get the Meeting, has coined the term “contact marketing,” which, in a nutshell, involves sending something physical to prospects and clients.
You are only limited by your imagination as to what you could send. It could range from something as simple as a trinket or toy, up to something more elaborate. As an advisor, you will be constrained by gift limitations. But for instance, Google once sent me a Chromebook computer case, saying they would give me a computer to go in the case if I just took a phone meeting with a sales rep. That was attention-getting and got the meeting.
8. It’s not about the sale today
As the saying goes, “change is constant.” And it has been accelerated and amplified beyond belief. We’ve seen thousands of things happen since spring that have never happened in most of our lifetimes, and it will continue in the short term.
It is not a time to be desperate. You have a massive opportunity to be proactive and make positive lasting impressions in the minds of your clients and prospects. The smoke will clear, we will come out the other side, and when we do, what will remain are the positive impressions you made during this disruption.
9. Use this as an opportunity to work on you
Self-quarantine and social distancing are common terms and practices now. Many people still have a lot more downtime than they’ve ever had. Some will waste that time by binge-watching Netflix or doing puzzles or playing video games.
Others will look at this like someone just gave them a tremendous amount of assets to invest. And, that is exactly what has happened, because you may have time, a commodity even more valuable than money. Use that time to increase your knowledge and improve your skills.
There is more free instruction available on anything you want to learn than at any point in history, and it’s being added to every day. And that includes sales and prospecting. Go reread some of the books you already have. Invest in some new ones. Listen to more podcasts…
When the dust settles on all of this, how much better will you be than you are right now? The answer to that is totally up to you.