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Beyond the Curve: 5 Ways to Reorient Your Sales Team During COVID-19
Blog / Sales Management / Jul 8, 2020 / Posted by Ann Zaslow-Rethaber / 676 

Beyond the Curve: 5 Ways to Reorient Your Sales Team During COVID-19

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As the country starts to open up again, sales teams around the country are tentatively reaching out to customers to test their receptiveness.

The art of selling products/services involves building a connection with potential buyers. Whether it’s a salesperson on a shopping floor or sales executive on the brink of making a deal of a lifetime, salespeople rely heavily on one-on-one interactions with potential customers.

As we remain in the midst of Covid-19, it is important to remember that there are still viable avenues your sales team can use to connect with customers.

1.   A ‘Needs Analysis’ has Never Been More Important

Sales 101 has taught us that it is of critical importance to take the time to understand your prospective customers’ pain points, prior to offering a solution.

It is imperative to take the time to query your current and prospective clients to best determine what their most critical current needs are.

At least once a week during your sales team meeting, have everyone share what they are hearing from their clients to be their biggest concerns, and explore if you can offer a solution.

Case in point, our local distillery here in Austin has pivoted to making hand sanitizer to provide to the community. As you can guess, everyone buys Whiskey now in addition to hand sanitizer! The lines are oftentimes 5 deep, and the amount of good that they have generated is quite literally, priceless.

Alter your sales pitch to address the client’s current needs, which are going to be very different from before the outbreak. Attempting to sell anything and not acknowledging the current events is tone-deaf.

It has also never been more important to conduct a true sales analysis prior to ever pitching a product or service.

Not every interaction needs to be monetized and investing the time to reach out to customers and potential customers where you have little to no expectation for an immediate sale, with the hope of laying the groundwork for an opportunity down the road, is a golden opportunity that few have the foresight to take advantage of.   

2.Practice by Role Playing

You will be encouraging your team to engage in verbiage that is totally foreign, or at the very least unfamiliar to them. To ensure that their delivery is pitch-perfect, nothing beats Role Playing in honing your team’s delivery.

Practice broaching different subjects. How do you want a salesperson on your team to respond when a customer answers their query on how they are and responds saying that they recently lost a loved one due to Covid? Help prepare them for different responses, so that they can represent your team well.

Giving them something positive that they can say about your company, offers a tremendous opportunity to ‘tout your horn’ as well as it serves to get the conversation back on a positive note.

So with that in mind, consider making a donation to a group that you believe in, and unfortunately, this needs to be said, ‘ that is as non-inflammatory as possible’. With tensions so high, be careful to choose something that everyone will be happy about.

By telling your team they can share that your company has done something to be proud of, you can spread a positive image and that also offers the easiest segue into other things about your company, like how they can solve a current need.

Role-Playing also allows you to provide more scripted messaging and gain a bit more consistency in messaging if you offer suggestions to common discussion topics.

3.   Adjust Annual Sales Targets

All companies would love to be bringing in the same amount of revenues as before, but for many businesses,  that is highly unlikely.

It is unrealistic for companies to expect their sales teams to bring in as much business as they normally do.  Businesses are advised to monitor P&L statements and adjust their sales targets accordingly.

4.   Take Precautionary Measures

Companies across America have become comfortable in conducting business virtually. Decision-makers have come to terms with the fact that it is not currently possible for vendors to fly out to wine and dine them, and that the current health crisis mandates that meetings be conducted via video whenever possible. It is simply not worth the risk to have a rep fly out to meet a potential customer when the same things can be covered via Skype.

On the occasions where live meetings are truly essential to conducting business, coach your team on best practices.

Ensure that they take all possible precautionary measures. They should always have sanitizer on them, maintain a safe distance with people they go to meet and wear a mask and gloves to protect themselves and others.

In addition to looking after their physical health, it also helps to care for their emotional wellbeing. Smart companies are offering mental health services to their employees.

5. Support Your Team!!

It is critically important to acknowledge the current factors and be flexible with your expectations!

Rather than expecting your team to have x number of live calls per week, adjust that to making phone calls simply to touch base.

The challenge is going to be in keeping your sales team MOTIVATED & ENGAGED!

Setting unrealistic expectations will only add to their frustration.

There is no question that we are all going to get through this, together.

About Author

A recruiter since 1996, president of International Search Consultants, a global executive recruiting firm launched in 1999. ISC has become one of the country’s most reputable search firms, earning more recommendations on Linked In than any other 3rd party recruiting agency in the entire country.

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