The coronavirus is changing how salespeople can sell and service their customers. Many companies have banned their sales team from travel, and customers are canceling any face to face meetings. Industry events and trade show selling events are canceled for this year and will hamstring sales representatives that are dependent on sales from these yearly events.
All isn’t lost. Below are eight things you can do today to increase sales when you are unable to meet with your customers.
1. Revisit the plan. Make sure that you focus on the goals and objectives for your success. Take the time to list out the steps that will be required for you to achieve your intentions for the next three months. These steps need alteration due to the daily changing environment.
2. Align with your management. Take your steps to achieve your goals to your manager for review. It is imperative now that you are in lockstep with your management on the activities and actions you will be competing for the next three months.
3. Contact your customers by phone. Find out how this virus is affecting their business. Find out the ways you or your company can help them through this crisis. Assure them that this shall pass, and you are a partner in their success.
4. Use of Technology. Send out text and emails to inform and reassure customers that you are still working and providing service and products. Let them know you are available for voice and video conference calls. Share with them your online scheduler so that they can set up appointments and conferences at their convenience.
5. Time block your days. Without the structure of an office environment, many sales representatives can become easily distracted. Time block your days so that you are implementing the steps you created for achieving your objectives.
6. Cold call by phone. I started in sales by selling custom printed business forms over the phone. It was challenging to paint a mental picture to a customer of what their new Invoice would look like by describing it verbally. We found ways to communicate with our customers by listening very carefully to what they were saying to us. Listening to understand is an opportunity to hone your listening skills and translate that into sales opportunities.
7. Catch up on paperwork. Complete those sales reports, expense reports, forecasts, proposals, and bids. Many sales representatives have derailed their careers by not completing the paperwork required. The time not being used to drive or fly to customers can be used to catch up and set the stage for those times when the phone is ringing off the hook with opportunities.
8. Educate yourself. Read, Watch, and Listen. Make time each day to educate yourself and hone your selling skills. Subscribe to all industry publications, news feeds, blogs, newsletters, YouTube channels, etc. I had a Sales Manager’s job in Andover, MA, and a home in Manchester, NH, about an hour commute to and from work each day. The company I worked for had a cassette library (before the days of the internet) in which we could check out three cassettes at a time. I was educated in sales and management by the most celebrated inspirational leaders of that time. I listened to Og Mandino, Zig Ziglar, Buck Rogers, Lou Holtz, Peter Drucker. They became my mentors, and I patterned by management and selling styles from their teachings.
Cliff D’Angelo – Greencliff LLC, Habit Finder Coach, Leadership, Sales Training