As the economy reels due to the current global situation, more and more salespeople are finding themselves in uncharted waters. If you worked through the 2008 crisis and the following recession, then you remember what it means to try selling during difficult times. For those who didn’t, the lessons are coming in quick and rough.
Sure, we all know that there’s a difference in sales during boom times and during challenging times. However, that’s not to say that some industries aren’t thriving even in the midst of a global pandemic. Whether your business is taking hits or not, it’s important to be cognizant of our environment and understand what to do when things get tough. In this segment, we’ll be looking at what not to do when selling during difficult times.
6 Things to Avoid When Selling During Uncertain Times
1. Cease and desist short term thinking
As humans, we tend to see only what’s right in front of us often ignoring the bigger picture. We forget that the tough times will pass and be part of our past. But even as things seem daunting, there’s always better times ahead. Remember to see the big picture. Likewise, your career spans over years or decades, not months. The actions you take today will eventually be something you can look back on and either be very proud of your company or full of shame and regret. Therefore, try to see the light at the end of the tunnel as opposed to just staring at the walls all around you.
2. Assume nothing
Here’s a bit of veteran advice that also applies during boom times as well. Never ever assume that your prospects won’t buy due to external factors. At the same time, don’t also assume they will buy because their situation is largely unchanged. Assumptions can be a sales reps worst enemy. What you need to do is go through the entire process as you usually would. Ask questions, be empathetic, and no matter what happens, don’t jump to conclusions without evidence, or count your prospects before the proverbial hatching.
3. Do not turn inward during difficult times
Like most sales people, you might prefer to hunker down and turn inward when things get difficult. In sales and marketing, this is definitely not the best option. What you need to do is open up and focus on outside relationships. Namely those with future prospects and important clients. As people, we’re hungry for social interaction. Therefore, it makes so much more sense to deepen your bond and show solidarity even during challenging times. Do not turn inward, look outward.
4. Quit gaslighting the situation
From manufactured viruses to global depopulation conspiracy theories, there’s certainly a lot of talk around the Corona Virus. But no matter what your beliefs are on the severity of the situation and whether or not adequate steps have been taken, you should never take it upon yourself to convince a prospect that they’re not seeing or feeling what they say they are. Each individual has their own point of view and has life experiences that shape how they interact with the world. If you really are as great a salesperson as you claim to be, you’ll show empathy and understanding. For the ignorant salesperson, they tend to use gaslighting techniques to scare and confuse prospects into commitment.
5. Don't ignore the solutions
Today’s modern sales rep has a lot on their table. From chasing down leads to making sure prospects lack for nothing, there’s a lot of juggling that comes with the job. But when you put everything aside, the main job of sales people is to solve problems (business related, not personal). Many reps seem to forget that fundamental fact and easily get distracted with everything else that’s going on. Now more than ever, we need to remember that our jobs call for creating solutions. Try to brainstorm of how to keep the sales up even when things seem bleak. That’s what will get salespeople through the hump. Just get back to the basics and stick to the tried and tested fundamentals. You’ll find a lot of people still need certain problems solved.
6. Don't guilt trip prospects into closing deals
A top tier sales rep will tell you to use every human emotion to your advantage. With all the emotional upheaval and heartbreak that the COVID situation has brought upon us, there will be numerous opportunities to use fear and guilt in your favor. However, this is not the time. Resist the urge completely because manipulation is a poor way to do business, particularly during these difficult times. Stick with the most valuable tools you have – truth, communication and empathy. Leave the mind games to the less scrupulous.
Conclusion - Difficult Times
As we set goals and try to keep our businesses afloat, remember to also practice patience and gratitude. Don’t be too hard on yourself. These are certainly difficult times, but a lot of what’s happening is beyond your control. So treat yourself kindly. And if you don’t achieve your objectives today, there’s always tomorrow. And lastly, make sure you’re kind to others as well. After all, we’re more than business people, we’re human beings. Make sure you take advantage of Veloxy to keep in touch and communicate with your prospects.
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