With COVID-19 there is no denying that everything in regards to running a small business has changed and that includes how we sell.
If YOUR needs have changed in your business, then the first think you need to do is remember that your customers needs have changed too. So firstly, you need to investigate and listen to want your current customers new needs are and then change your sell strategies to be compatible with that of your customers.
According to Dan Gottlieb, Analyst in the Sales Practice at TOPO, ““Everybody is experiencing some degree of change right now, and the degree of change varies by their role, industry, size, and geography and he advises sales orgs to adjust their strategies to reflect the changes–some seismic–that COVID-19 has had on companies”.
So an important strategy that you should implement is to put yourself in your customers shoes as now more than ever empathy, transparency, and vulnerability are more important than ever. This in turn will give your sales people that tools to understand want you customer now wants and how they can help achieve this outcome while still getting your small business the sales that you need too.
Don’t Use Hard Sell – Work Together Don’t Pitch. Here are a few examples of how you can achieve this and help the sales for your small business grow.
1. Your responsibility as a business owner is to remember that you may have sales people on your team that haven’t sold in this type of environment. They may be feeling uncertainty and instability just like your customers. A good way to support your sales people is by reminding them of your company’s mission and instilling confidence that the solution you provide is essential. Also implement new training pathways that are short in length but viral to build their confidence in the new ways of selling.
2. Open communication and transparency is key to enabling your sales people to have the same type of conversation with their customers or potential customers. Remember for your sales people to make meaningful connections, we have to acknowledge the setting that we are all in — and that means talking about it.
3. Let the customer drive the sale. Use a new approach such as this example:
Acknowledge the customer new situation, explain how your business can help and to reach out as a partner, and final asked respectfully the customer how to best move forward and get the sales.
Now is the time as a small business owner to make sure your sales processes are stronger, up to date and refined. As a small business you may have customers in tough markets that are going to struggle with outbound sales right now, especially in travel, hospitality, and healthcare sectors and now more than ever these businesses may need to rely on other methods to ensure they are building and protecting revenue where possible. Below is a list of internal checks that you can undertake as a small business owner that could improve your sales processes:
Inbound lead handling needs to be rock solid. Every lead needs to be actioned quickly and conversion needs to stay high, especially for customers moving away from outbound selling.
Reinforce or create an incentivised referral program for your sales people to help them covert warm leads from customers. Your sales people can use Sequences to contact customers or partners to help get leads flowing.
Protect your businesses customer base. More than ever, staying connected to your customers is key to your bottom line. A key element for any small business owner is to research and implement a Sequence Strategy. A good effective Sequence strategy can help you communicate COVID-19 updates with customers, schedule critical meetings like business reviews, and manage your upcoming renewals.
Example: A common version of the sequence begins with preparing for the sales meeting. Stage two is the salesperson’s approach to the meeting. The third stage is the meeting and pitch. Stage four is negotiation, such as price and credit terms. Stage five is the close, when the customer makes the final decision to buy. The sixth stage is post-sales support.
And finally, if you can’t prospect now, build pipeline for the future. Now that we find ourselves confined to our own homes (or various small, windowless rooms), we’re spending a lot of time in front of our laptops. Use that time to make prospect lists, organise your target accounts, and add those prospects to Sequences that start in the future. This ensures that you’re ready to engage when things do recover and your prospect’s focus springs back.
Profit Network Australia would like to remind small business owners that above all else, remember that making real connections with other people is more important than ever during this time of uncertainty.