Hunker down. It’s a phrase we all knew but rarely used. Heard occasionally in the US Southeast during hurricane seasons, its Scottish origins date back to the early 1700’s. “Hunk’ring down upon the cald grass” referred to assuming a low squatting position and “sitting hunker-tottie”. So much for the history lesson and truth be told, I’m not sure I want to know any more than that!
Today, the phrase has become ubiquitous, frequently finding its way into conversations and articles. And of course, it makes great sense. For all the right reasons, we must be prudent and safe in everything we do during this challenging time. And that often means hunkering down.
Of course, that applies to social situations and as we well know, to the transformed business environment in which we all now operate. Just consider that, around the world, the word “Zoom” means something totally different than it did a very short time ago. We communicate with colleagues virtually, planning and strategizing the “as-is” and the “to-be”, predicting the future with a dartboard. While we hunker down.
While Maslow and human nature dictate that we concern ourselves with our own needs first in difficult times, those of us in selling must consider other very important people even as we hunker down. We must remember that we have clients doing exactly the same thing. Conflicted clients who, like us, are balancing and stressing many personal and business issues at this very moment. I’m not referring to prospects whom you don’t know or clients with whom you’re really not very familiar. I’m talking about the active clients you know well, those with whom you typically communicate on a very regular basis. Think about these real people whose behavioral profiles you should be keenly aware of through all your interactions with them. We all know how important behavioral profiling is to help ensure successful communication. Whether you follow DISC or another process, all the behavioral styles are under bigtime stress now. Think of that “Influencer” client of yours, that high “I” whom you know very well. She loves to talk and spend time with people, teaming, collaborating, and communicating. Truthfully, she thrives on it. Where do you think she is today, right now? She’s on her laptop in her guest bedroom, keeping company with her cat. And she’s participating in those same types of internal Zoom calls that you’re enjoying so much, discussing layoffs, furloughs and downgraded forecasts. How do you think she’s feeling? Why not ask her?
I won’t editorialize on the many articles and blogs written lately about not selling during this difficult time. My focus is on delivering value. And by all rights, for the clients you know well, it’s your charter, right now, to seek ways to do just that. Perhaps your reach will unearth a changed business need. There’s quite a few of those in play now, wouldn’t you say? And if you discover such a shifting need, perhaps you can find a way to help, to deliver real business value. If not, so be it. You may simply accomplish making contact with someone who really needs the touch. Someone who is probably aching to discuss topics other than sliding financial projections. Someone who will be happy to hear from a business partner who cares.
Should you be an intrusion? Of course not. Be smart. Reach out, ask good questions, and listen intently for ways to deliver value. And by all means, hunker up for your clients. What results will likely be very well-received. And it will likely benefit you as well, in more ways than one.