Stay home. Do not shake hands. Keep social distance. Observe the curfew. And now, don a mask. Face-to-face selling is facing unprecedented challenges.
With the coronavirus accompanying us like the sword of Damocles, one would imagine there’s no silver lining in sight. Yet it’s there. You see, the disease will pass but your targets won’t. And when it does, sellers that exploited the ‘idle’ time will thrive. It’s not idle time the depressed selling environment offers, it is unprecedented invaluable time to actively invest in selling.
Here are ways sellers can do this.
Prospecting is the corner stone of all the activities necessary for a successful sale. I’ll never tire of shouting this from the rooftops. Prospecting is the lifeline of every seller.
With no prospect, there is no-one to sell to, no sale to make and no justification for your existence. Prospecting takes time. In fact, so critical is prospecting that a reader of this column once told me that they are required to spend 60 per cent of their time
getting the right people to sell to.
Sixty-per cent! How much time do you spend prospecting? And if unavailability of time has been your excuse, between staying at home and the curfew you have all the time in the world. Further, technology and the internet allow us to prospect while in self-quarantine.
Even donning a mask and social distancing don’t stop you from prospecting, do they?
This is another time-consuming activity that can be done during this time. In our very first article eight years ago last Thursday (yes, Sales Pitch is now eight) we shared the 5Rs for a successful presentation.
In order, they are representation, repertoire, research, rehearse and repeat. The first two (how you look and having your tools of trade) may be affected by self-quarantine and social distancing but not the next two. The importance of researching the prospect before seeing him cannot be gainsaid.
Many buyers look unfavourably on sellers that ask for information that is public; conversely, they are encouraged when sellers demonstrate understanding of the same. When the audit firm says it is struggling with instilling the importance of money laundering among its bank clientele and they want training in this, and you give the example of the several banks being fined to avoid the National Youth Service (NYS) fraud suit the buyer’s eyes light up. He feels understood. We live in a time where privacy is public; when not being found online is treated as suspicious. Understanding prospects before meeting them serves to propel the sale further.
Prospecting and researching are two never-ending, time consuming, yet indispensable, sales activities sellers can engage in at this time when face-to-face meetings, the platform for many sales, is being frustrated.
Seeking remedial measures upon reflection on causes of past lost sales is a third activity. What else can sellers do?