The sales team is the frontline to revenue generation. When a crisis comes, and COVID-19 has certainly been a global business tsunami, the big question is: “How will the salesforce respond as customers cancel orders or stop purchasing.” Most will initially respond by hanging their heads low, throwing their hands up in the air, or mumbling there’s little they can do—a form of paralysis. Their leaders drive on self-preservation decisions and focus their energy on cost cutting in the form of furloughs or layoffs. These organizational responses divert the focus away from the customer, and customers are the only way a business will survive and thrive through the crisis.
Sales Team Mindset
What can companies do to lead through the crisis? Stop blaming, criticizing, and making excuses about COVID-19 and what it’s doing to its business. Why? Because it shows a lack of having a 100% responsibility mindset. Those with a 100% responsibility mindset don’t blame, criticize and make excuses. They focus positive energy on what they can do to move forward.
What can you do? Create a vision of what your company will look like on the other side of the crisis. Feed the vision with positive energy and affirmation. Every crisis creates opportunity for something new, so focus on being part of the “bigger and better.”
Sales Team Next Steps
Below are 6 steps a sales team can deploy to make the new vision a reality:
- Make a list of attributes (knowledge, solutions, and skills) that your business and sales team can bring to your customers. Sometimes you need to be your own champion and remind yourself of how good you are and the value you offer.
- Get in front of your customers (in person, video, phone calls, and follow-up texts). Let them know you are thinking about them on a human level during these times of crisis. Show some empathetic listening. Let them know they’re not forgotten just because they’re not ordering.
- Ask questions! Open-ended questions! Ask them what they are wrestling with. What’s unknown? What new problems are they focused on solving? What information do they need to know and now?
- Share how you can help them solve their problems. Get out your list (in your mind) from step 1 and start sharing, discussing, and asking more questions to see where the conversation goes.
- Put another appointment on your calendar to reach out again and repeat steps 1-4. And don’t let too much time go by.
- Bonus Step: Don’t hesitate to reach out to new customers. Some of those attributes from your list may be desperately needed with customers who don’t know you or who haven’t seen you in awhile.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and business consultant with an extensive background in leadership and sales. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can engage Sandra as your coach by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org