• Duane Cashin

Selling In a Time of Crisis

Business is hurting right now, and uncertainty abounds across all industries. Without exception, things in your life are cancelled or postponed, including prominent networking events you normally rely on to generate business, because of coronavirus. It’s easy to feel like you have no control.

Let me offer a message of hope.

In times of crisis, it’s important to keep calm and remember that there is still much we can control and many ways in which make a difference. It’s hard to see now with ominous headlines dominating our newsfeeds, but this crisis will eventually end. How do you want your situation to look when it does? Do you want to see a pipeline full of qualified prospects who are ready to do business again or an empty one because you let the panic and despair of this moment paralyze your sales efforts?

A few days ago, I wrote the following and posted it to my LinkedIn page:

Just like we are all learning how to deal with the virus in everyday life by taking additional precautions like frequent handwashing, disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, and being vigilant about properly covering coughs or sneezes, there’s a way we need to approach our sales strategies in light of the coronavirus challenge before us.

1. “Stock Up” on new business leads now.

Just like stocking up (not hoarding) on supplies that you think your house may need in case of a quarantine, you also need to “stock up” on sales prospects starting immediately. Working remotely, we all have some extra time now without in-office distractions. Use it wisely, devoting extra time, effort, and resources to prospecting and lead generation, even if you’re currently busy. Even if you aren’t feeling the pinch now, there is the possibility that this outbreak could lead to wider and more severe economic impacts down the line for your company, and you’ll want to be ready.

2. Reengineer your solutions to fit the current crisis.

Rethink and change the angle on what the key benefits of your products and services are in such a way that you address the needs of your customers in the current crisis. For example, many companies have announced aggressive shifts towards working remotely. That brings significant challenges to businesses. Is there a relevant sales pitch that you can develop about how your solutions can help clients adapt to sudden remote work and key benefits to help them get through the crisis?

If you sell cloud colocation solutions or space in virtual meeting platforms, you obviously have a distinct advantage. But, thriving at this time won’t be limited to companies in the tech industry. The same selling points for your product that already were relevant before the coronavirus might still work, but you might need to slightly adjust your sales pitch to frame your solutions for people’s most urgent concerns. Just think of the unique possibilities for companies involved in sanitation, medical supply and support, eCommerce support, and thousands more.

3. Get creative with sales presentations.

Coronavirus is forcing lots of businesses to cut back on travel and in-person meetings. That means web-based presentations are more important than ever. Start repackaging your sales pitch into a full-blown virtual presentation. Be prepared to do more of your pitch over the web instead of on-site meetings.

Of course, this might require a change in your sales process. Perhaps you are used to doing an initial discovery-type phone call as stage one of your sales cycle, and then your next call would be an on-site meeting. On-site meetings may not be an option, as your potential new client may be working exclusively from home, or just not meeting face to face with anyone until the crisis settles down.

Be ready to get creative and keep your sales advancing by doing things that you never thought possible. Such as:

  • Taking your client on a virtual tour using FaceTime or mobile conferencing apps.

  • Doing an in-depth product demo that includes your technical team who typically don’t get involved until later in the sale.

  • Sending your client a YouTube video of your product or solution in action, and then talking through it via web conference while watching the video together

Think creatively. Maximize the various collaboration tools at your disposal. Don’t worry if you can’t be there in real life. Make the connection happen.

4. Just don’t stop.

We are going to get through this public health crisis. Life may not totally go back to normal right away, so look for ways you can continually adapt and keep doing business. You’ll only drown if you stop swimming.

Deals may get stalled in your pipeline. Work to keep them warm. Some companies may hold back on investment until the uncertainty resolves. Look for the first sign that the crisis is ending. By doing so, you’ll make up for some temporary losses we’re feeling now.

We are here to help you no matter the challenge that lies ahead. Please reach out if you’re struggling.

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