Generally, salespeople are used to being independent, working remotely and conducting business via the phone or web. However, a lot of customers aren’t used to the virtual work environment and their lives and livelihoods are being interrupted by the impacts of the pandemic. This sets the stage to make selling during a pandemic really hard.
Whether or not we like it, this challenge might just be a glimpse into the future of sales. Rather than spend too much energy dwelling on the fact that face-to-face interactions are at least temporarily on hold, it’s important to focus on how sales teams can make the most of selling during a pandemic.
At Tethr, we believe there is always one skill we need to work on, a skill so important that it’s ingrained in our company’s values, and that’s listening. As we empower companies to listen to their customers, we listen to our teammates, customers, and shareholders to drive a positive impact. For sales teams, listening to customers and prospects is especially more critical as every day that goes by presents new obstacles.
Tips and tricks for selling during a pandemic from Tethr’s Sales team
“Share insights and market learnings, not sales content,” Steve Baumgarten, Tethr Sales Director said. “Prospects are always looking to learn or be taught something new, something of value, something they didn’t know before.”
Baumgarten said 50 percent of a customer’s buying decision is based on the value the salesperson provides during the process.
“Ask yourself what value are you providing? What new ideas, concepts or strategies can you teach your buyers?” he explained.
Be genuine when selling during a pandemic
He advises to be wary of coming off as corny. During this crisis, being genuine is all the more important.
“See any engagement from buyers during this time as a success, even if you didn’t secure that next step you were hoping for,” Baumgarten said. “Connect customers to customers so that they can share ideas and strategies. Help your buyers network with like-minded people.”
In order to condense meetings that are a key part of the sales process, consider a 15-minute discovery call, rather than a 30-minute conversation. Lengthier engagements can be tricky to get people to commit to when they are suddenly taking on additional responsibilities. Never discredit the power of email.
Don’t forget to ask for the sale
Baumgarten reminds salespeople not to forget to go for the ask, even when selling during a pandemic.
“You still have a job to do during these times, just as your buyers do,” he said. “Most buyers understand that.”
Tethr Sales Territory Manager Nick Bacon shared that now is the time to lay down the groundwork for the remainder of the year.
“All of the prospecting projects that you’ve been telling yourself you’d take care of, only if you had more time, well guess what? You’ve got the time now,” he said.
He hopes everyone remembers to first and foremost be a human being.
“If you’re not actually providing a real value to the person you’re reaching out to, don’t reach out,” Bacon said.
Flip the script
Tethr Sales Territory Manager Kurtis Hall suggests flipping the script and leading with insights and tactics to help prospective clients thrive, and ending with an empathetic “hope you’re otherwise well and hanging in there.”
“I think we’re all over hearing ‘during this unprecedented time,’”Hall said. “When you have that at the start of outreach, it’s an instant flag to buyers that you’re pitching something.”
Tethr Vice President of Sales Matt Pflughoeft encourages his team to stick to a routine.
“I am a creature of habit and have a daily routine that helps me be as productive as possible during the day,” he said. “I make sure I stick with it.”
Pflughoeft reiterates the importance of staying true to yourself and being a good person.
“You never know what the person on the other side of the phone, email or Zoom meeting is dealing with on a day-to day basis. Do your best to have positive energy.”
Hang in there, sales teams! You’ll make it through this tough season of selling during a pandemic. As Babe Ruth once said, “you just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”