• Gert Scholts

7 lifelines to survive in sales right now

There are some businesses and sales people thriving at the moment. That is great for them. Yet, for many sales and revenues are down. Here are 7 lifelines coming back on board again.

This sales idea is aimed at the many agents, sales development representatives, account executives, sales people and account managers who need to re-focus their sales activities right now.

Here is a snap shot of what I have experienced and heard in the last few weeks:

  • Prospects and customers appear much more difficult to engage

  • Demand has dropped and new orders have disappeared

  • Production has come to a stop and demand can not be met

  • Deals close to completion have suddenly been postponed

  • There is personal tragedy

  • Salaries are reduced, bonuses are cut

  • Contacts are being furloughed or lost their job

  • Contacts have lost their focus and productivity

Wearing my sales hat, I have been reflecting on how I have responded and should have responded to the massive changes taking place in my market right now.

As a result I compiled 7 lifeline tips you may find useful. I called them life lines because the are here to help sales careers survive and thrive again. These lifelines have started to work well for me, so perhaps some will work for you too.

1) Don't panic

Panic leads to bad decision making. A poor decision now could have far reaching negative effects down the line. Instead, take your time, look at your previous results and numbers, and focus on the things you can influence rather than the ones outside your direct control.

2) Plan for tomorrow, deal with today

You have had sales success before and you will have it again. The future is bright. You are in sales because you are a born optimist. There are prospects and customers who need your expertise now and tomorrow. Start building a personal sales plan and do this imagining where you sales pipeline and results will be in the next month, in six months time, a year, 2 years, 5 years. Create your own vision of the future.

3) Stick with what you do best

Your core competencies have helped you creating a successful sales career. You have the skills, knowledge and attitudes for success. It may be tempting to throw it all up in the air and try something completely new. I recommend you don't.

Avoid radical unproven sales techniques or magic prospecting tools. Instead, focus on existing clients and prospects fitting your style and target markets. It has worked well up to now. You will have to adapt, yet the core of your skill set is what got you here.

4) Stay in touch with existing customers

You have built a mutually beneficial relationship with your clients. Now you can learn from each other and support each other during these testing times. Call them, email or message them. Set up a video call and ask: 'how are you? ' 'What can I do supporting you and the business at this time? ' This is what account management is all about and what you are trained to do.

5) Build closer relationships with your best customers

They are your best customers and deserve your best endeavours and professionalism. Besides that, it is an investment for the future that will pay off. Loyalty is noticed.

Consider offering your key accounts complimentary services. Brainstorm ideas with them moving the business forward. If you can, get involved in customers' projects/initiatives even if they are not directly related to your product or service.

6) Invest in smarter prospecting/networking for new customers

Soon we will all have to work harder and smarter to make up for lost sales and revenues. We need to be ready when things return to a new normal. And if you are not, you will be left behind. Just think how the 'rep doing the milk round' from yesterday, has now become the 'virtual video rep'. Some changes are here to stay or are the start of a new trend. Be part of it.

I recommend you scan the market and learn about new and different methods to find and engage customers. Start increasing your social media activity, learn to pick and write about content your markets and customers will find useful/interesting. Build relationships first and sales will follow. Discover which technologies can take your prospecting to new levels.

7) Find new collaboration initiatives It never cease to amaze me how much we can learn from each other and become better sales people. The synergy between different industries and sales practices can create competitive advantage. I recommend you approach new contacts with ideas. Be open to new ideas from strangers approaching you. I have had four in the last week and am actively working on one today.

I hope you find some of these tips useful encouraging thought and perhaps action.

As your sales coach I can help you getting back on board right now. find out more

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