When Life’s Storms Hit (and they will) Look for Rainbows Not Lightning
Author: Mark Roberts. SPARXiQ
Posted: March 27th, 2020
Since the COVID-19 hit many states have asked nonessential businesses to close. I am speaking with many anxious and fear-filled leaders. These are people I have known for years and some I served with over 30 years ago. Interestingly many business leaders share their sales have not been interrupted and some have seen an increase in business by refocusing their teams on industries that are busy. There are common concerns for what the future may bring. Other conversations start with them sharing their concerns, all the lightning they see in this storm letting out their fears that haunt their thoughts and they end with: What do you suggest we do? We discuss adapting to today’s normal and leave the calls with an action plan with things they can do. Since so many businesses are different, what advice can I give to serve those in need?...” Look for a rainbow.”
What is working now?
What customers, markets do you serve that are busy and need your help?
What does your data show over the past week?
What insights can you gather in terms of your buyers and what they are buying and how they are buying?
Whenever I feel stress or anxious thoughts, I read my Bible.
I look for what the Bible says for how I am feeling at that moment and the below advice is perfect when businesses are facing challenges and need hope.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
What do we know?
We live in the best country in the world with some of the most innovative minds on this earth.
We will get through this challenge and many will come through this storm stronger than when we entered it.
Some businesses are not only surviving but thriving in this crisis.
Buyers still need to buy.
Businesses still have problems (more) they want to solve.
What other advice do I give callers even in businesses deemed to be essential?
1. Make sure your team is following Covid 19 safe practices is #1… Keep everyone safe.
2. Interview your top 20 accounts today. What do you know to be true? What have we seen to be true in the last week? Act on truth not emotion and not hysteria.
3. What customers need your help today? (maybe more than ever)
4. Who are your top accounts that generate 80% or more of your profits? Stay very close to them, listen for new challenges and offer to serve them. Develop plans for each account.
5. Make short term playbooks for sales and adjust plays when you learn something new.
6. Have senior leadership alignment meetings.
7. Create scenario plans.
8. Develop a frequent all company communication cadence.
9. Develop a frequent all client communication cadence.
10. Focus- the more you can focus your people on the behaviors you want and need them to do, ( based on your client research) the less time for worry.
11. Build sales accountability with clear expectations, processes and accountability feedback loops- “inspect what you expect”.
12. Use this time to build new relationships at your key accounts in other departments and higher in the departments you call on. Connect with purchase influencers in your key accounts. What challenges are they facing today?
13. If you serve the following markets: food, health care, medical supply, energy, utilities, trucking, public transportation, cellular, emergency support… interview your accounts, find out how buying has changed and adapt, what are their greatest challenges today and find ways to serve them. (assume nothing)
14. Training- the number one reason salespeople give for not training is they do not have the time. They have the time now in many cases and use this time to make them stronger so when this crisis passes, (and it will) they come through it stronger.
15. Training- as teams work remotely, train your teams how to use virtual meeting tools to keep their relationships strong with their customers.
16. Sales Manager training and coaching tools- use this time to help your managers become coaches. (when this is over you will be glad you did)
17. Give your salespeople and sales leaders prescriptive data, data they can use to have business discussions with their customers.
18. If you are looking for a great book all salespeople should read, have everyone read Trusted Advisor. Follow up with a virtual book review.
I participated in a webinar with Selling Power recently about helping your team assess the skills they need for the next 60-90 days you can watch it here .
I was asked by best-selling author Ed Wallace to join him on his webinar on: How to Build Virtual Relationships, and still hit your numbers this year… and you can access the recording here.
How can I help your team in this challenging time?
What do you know to be true over the last week or so?
What does your data tell you?
What are your accounts telling you?
What is your formal process to capture and share this information?
How will you modify how you serve your customers based on their needs today?
As we closed the last webinar, I shared the following:
“people are not going to remember the people who sold them in this crisis they will remember those who authentically cared, served them, and helped them through the most challenging time most of us have ever faced. Be that person! Be the light in the dark for someone today. “
If you feel stressed and concern and need someone to speak with let's chat!
I might not have all the answers but working together I am confident we can help improve sales effectiveness for your organization even in this challenging time.
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