With the Coronavirus having brought business as usual to a halt, we have had a number of conversations with revenue leaders across the Sales Leadership Communities that we support. Four topics that have been recurring themes are:
- How to best support my family, friends, colleagues and community during these unprecedented times?
- How to appropriately engage with customers and prospects as they assess their situations?
- How to keep teams focused, motivated and engaged in the current environment?
- How to achieve our revenue goals in this new reality?
Four recommendations from our conversations with sales leaders are:
#1: Be Empathetic
As we have spoken with a number of sales leaders over the past week, the subject of empathy has been mentioned many times. Empathy for our customers and prospects situation, but most importantly empathy for each individual’s situation. The impact of the “virus” is not only global, but personal. Everyone has a unique experience for them in this changing daily situation. Do they have school children that are suddenly in need of home school? Do they have elderly parents, grandparents or great grandparents for which they are concerned? How is it impacting their extended family? Do they have a friend or family member in a high-risk group?
#2 – Understand the Change
For all of us with experience in sales, an important question to ask a prospect or customer around a key initiative is: “What has changed since the last time we spoke?” Understanding what has changed in their world from required social distancing, remote work, shifts in priorities and more will help us better align to their new situation. We have a saying that we use frequently which is “with change comes opportunity”. The question is who will be able to recognize and support their customers and prospects in seizing that opportunity.
#3 – Engage as a Leader
Times like these require that we engage as leaders with our teams and our customers. Working with our teams and customers to take the next best step in the uncertainty of a changing situation. Engage your teams through creating the right connection and conversation through regular team huddles and focused conversations to create the new cadence to support your teams in their efforts to support your prospects and customers. An engaged team leads to an engaged prospect or customer.
#4 – See New Opportunities
The opportunities that sales leaders and their teams were focused on will likely change due to the new situation at your customer or prospects. Likewise, new opportunities or reshaped opportunities will likely arise from this new situation. This requires that we focus on the existing opportunities that are still in play while identifying new areas in need of our solutions.
This became very obvious to me as I observed changes in my own families’ behavior as a result of the Coronavirus. More hand washing than traditionally was the case, constantly looking for that 6-foot marker to maintain our distance when out, awareness of a sneeze or cough, wiping of surfaces with disinfectants and much more becoming new routines requiring new solutions. Outside my own experiences, we have seen rapid adaptation by restaurants in our area to curbside pick-up.
Will this become a new normal? We see accelerating online ordering, delivery and pick-up for groceries. All responses to the new “situation” of their customers that create new demands for new solutions. Understand the changes that have occurred with customers and prospects, be empathetic, engage as a leader and see opportunities. Remember that with every change comes an opportunity for someone!