COVID-19: Selling in Today’s Tough Market

Today more than ever, businesses are being affected by a myriad of factors outside of their control. We have seen the recent impact of COVID-19 at local, national and international levels. So, now is the time to review what you are doing in terms of sales activity, approach and turnover.

It is a normal reaction to push salespeople harder and hope that what they are doing is the right approach in the current market. Generally, it is not; otherwise, sales and profits would be increasing. In most cases, there is a general belief that all that can be done is being done. However, this is not the case; there are always things that can be changed and improved.

To begin the process, review the following activities, then plan to make serious changes.

1. Sales Approach: Have Sales changed? Fundamentally, Sales will not change. It still requires activity and building trust with a prospect, although, considering the advent of COVID-19, the approach may have to be reviewed and modified. Face-to-face meetings were not achievable, so Zoom, Skype and Telephone became critical vehicles for communication. There are many advantages to virtual meetings such as time saved, increased productivity, and taking advantage of the visual impact of sales via sharing of documents/charts etc. It is crucial as a Sales Leader that you provide the time and tools to upskill your sales team. How often have you heard, “You can’t sell over Zoom”? Yet despite this, many companies are flourishing in the virtual world. Embrace technology as a vital aspect of the sales process.

2. Existing Customers: These are the people where you have established credibility and trust. It is essential to show empathy and demonstrate you understand their playing field to see where you can support and add value. Are the pain-points different, or have they changed in any way? Is thinking outside of the box necessary to facilitate new sales?

3. Database: Gold can always be mined from a database. With changing and tighter markets, are there new opportunities? Perhaps developing new packages, new offerings, or a new slant on your product/service can provide a valid reason to re-approach prospects that may have been mostly dormant on your database? Market research and a re-assessment of prospects’ needs can open new doors.

4. Competitor Activity: Discover your main competitors and acquire some intelligence on how they operate. What are they doing in such a tough market to capture market share? Be sure to understand their strategy and seek to out-manoeuvre by adding more value for a prospect. It is essential not to react as a follower but to differentiate your offering as superior in value.

5. Prospecting: Identify and plan a new call schedule based on step1. Then ask and answer the who, why and how of each client or prospect. Spending the time and following up will build better relationships with prospects and win new business. Remember, tough markets can also create new opportunities.

6. Networking: Your “network is your net worth”, and during challenging times it is vital to lean on your network for support, whether to undertake joint ventures or acquire introductions for new business. Networking is a medium to long-term strategy and providing the time has been put into cementing relationships, it always pays dividends. Establishing a reliable network is crucial to navigating your way through a tough marketplace.

Despite the prevailing market conditions, today’s businesses can do well if they are prepared to review what they are doing and actively make the changes required.

“A good plan violently executed right away is far better than a perfect plan executed next week.” – George S Patton.

Comment (1)

  • This is an excellent article Dean, written by someone clearly knowledgeable in the Sales process. If you think you can do it or if you think you can’t, odds are you will be right, pre- or post-COVID-19.


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