COVID-19 has completely changed the way we live and work. Some fields have been altered more than others, including sales. It can be extremely difficult to close deals in this current cultural climate. Fortunately, it's not impossible!
Keep reading to learn our top seven tips in regards to selling during a pandemic like the one we're currently going through.
The Current Sales Climate
Let's be honest, most companies aren't thinking about purchasing new products and/or services right now. They're simply trying to get through this unprecedented time without going into the red. And when things finally do get back to normal, most of your target audience will be conducting damage control, i.e. paying off debts, rehiring employees, etc.
Where does that leave you as a seller? You need to realize that customer priorities have shifted and you shouldn't expect to make as many sales as you did previously — unless you sell something that's in high demand right now like toilet paper.
Not a toilet paper salesperson? Then adjust your sales projections and refocus on building relationships that will benefit you and your organization down the road. We'll talk more about this in the next section.
7 COVID-19 Sales Tips
Selling during a pandemic is different than selling at other times, as we just covered. These seven COVID-19 sales tips will help put you in a position to succeed, both now and when our current crisis is officially behind us.
1. Take Immediate Action
Contrary to what you might think, this is a great time to make sales calls, send prospecting emails, and the like. Why? Because the pandemic has forced many company leaders to stay home and they're all looking for things to do.
While the management professionals you get on the phone might not have the budget to immediately purchase your products and/or services, they'll be more receptive to your outreach efforts and you'll be able to lay the groundwork for future sales.
By taking action now, you'll be able to get your foot in the door with important decision-makers and be top-of-mind when the pandemic passes and purchasing budgets have returned to normal. Don't waste this opportunity!
If you do, you may find yourself scrambling in a few months and watching others who did take immediate action close more deals than you.
2. Always Add Value
Here's the thing: the way you take action right now matters. It matters a lot, actually.
Your target market doesn't want to hear about product features they have no use for or services they'll never purchase. You need to personalize each of your sales pitches and target them directly to the individual recipients they'll be delivered to. That way you can add value.
If you can add value to your prospects' lives right now, they'll remember it six months to a year from now when they're ready to make a purchase and you'll win the sale.
How can you add value at this time? Here are a few ideas:
- Call up your prospects and ask them how they're doing. More about this below.
- Send articles and/or videos to your audience about COVID-19 safety tips.
- Host virtual events and webinars that educate folks on important business topics.
- Host a virtual happy hour for your current and potential customers to join and relax.
As you can see, adding value can be business-related or personal. Just remember that it's important to reach out and add value to your current customers, as well as potential ones. This will help your company prevent churn.
3. Have Real Conversations
Here's a crazy idea: contact each of your current customers and leads with a simple message that says something like, "Hey, how are you doing on a scale of 1 - 10? No BS."
You'll be amazed at how many responses you get and how much easier it will be to have real conversations with people. This is key! Real conversations will help you build a relationship of trust with your audience, which will likely enable you to make more sales down the road.
At the very least, you'll learn a lot more about your customers and be able to use that information to inform your sales strategy in the future.
It's nearly impossible to secure long-time customers without building some kind of relationship with them first. This strategy will supercharge the relationship building process and put your company in position to win customers when purchasing budgets are restored.
Of course, you don't have to text or email the above message to your audience to have real conversations. Just be honest and open in your sales calls and social media posts. This alone will lead to authentic communication and all the benefits associated with it.
4. Use Multiple Channels
We live in a multi-channel world. If you only make sales calls, or only send prospecting emails, you're missing out. You need to connect with your target customers on multiple channels, including social media sites like LinkedIn and via text messaging campaigns. Direct mail is even making a comeback and you might consider using that approach as well.
Here are a few tips to help you connect with clients via multiple channels:
- Phone Calls: The phone has been the salesperson's best friend for decades now. This sales channel is just as effective, if not more so, during a pandemic. Just remember to add value and have real conversations during your calls.
- Email: Email is another popular way to reach out to potential customers and strike up a dialogue. It can also be an incredibly effective sales channel during a pandemic. The same rules apply: add value and be authentic in your messaging.
- Social Media: Is it even possible to be a salesperson and not use LinkedIn? This is an amazing platform and will give you the chance to connect with buyers you otherwise wouldn't be able to. But LinkedIn isn't the only social media site out there. Use the platforms that your target audience does, create compelling content that's platform-specific, and connect with buyers via authentic communication.
- Text Messaging: Each of your prospects, no matter where they live or what they're profession is, has one thing in common: they're all addicted to their phones. Use this to your advantage and create a text message campaign.
- Direct Mail: Direct mail is often forgotten about. Why send a physical letter when we can reach prospects via digital means much quicker and for less money? Because direct mail stands out and will get you noticed. Just use this strategy wisely as it can be expensive and a single campaign, if unsuccessful, could kill your budget.
We suggest blocking out time on your schedule for each of these selling channels. That way you're reaching your audience in multiple ways and increasing your chances of making a sale.
5. Invest in the Right Technology
The right technology can make or break your sales efforts — especially now that we can't interact with each other face to face. We suggest adding these solutions to your tech stack:
- Zoom: When it comes to video conferencing software, Zoom is the unquestioned leader. This app featured HD audio and video, the ability to record and transcribe meetings, and virtual backgrounds. Overall, it's a great tool for client meetings and product demos.
- Slack: It's important to keep your sales team connected while members work remotely. Slack is ideally suited to this purpose. Users can communicate via text, audio, or video chat, organize conversations into different channels, and use the searchable history feature to easily recall information from previous conversations.
- Calendar.com: The easiest way to book client meetings and product demos is to use an app like Calendar.com. Rather than going back and forth with your prospect via email, proposing specific dates and times to jump on a call, simply send them a link to your calendar and have them choose a time that works for them. It's that simple.
- PandaDoc: This app gives users the power to easily create proposals, contracts, and other documents; send them to potential clients, and have them e-signed for ultimate productivity. Once documents are completed, they're stored in the secure PandaDoc database for safe keeping.
- CloudApp: Finally, CloudApp is one of the best ways to stay in touch with both clients and colleagues. The tool's screen and webcam recording features allow users to quickly personalize communications, while the image annotation feature helps to pinpoint ideas and/or concerns in a much more productive way. Get started today for free.
6. Keep Your Sales Team Connected
If you're a sales manager, you have an obligation to keep your sales team connected. This can be difficult to do with quarantine laws in place. But it's definitely not impossible. Here are a few ideas you could try to help bring your staff together.
- Virtual Happy Hour: Gather your entire team together via Zoom, Skype, or any other video conferencing tool and shoot the breeze. Encourage your team to bring a choice beverage to the meet up too, which will give you all something to talk about.
- Team Movie Night: Your entire team is watching an inordinate amount of Netflix right now. Use this to your advantage and plan a team movie night with Netflix Party, an app that syncs playback across multiple Netflix accounts and will allow your entire sales team to interact with each other during the show via an in-app chat box.
- Digital Scavenger Hunt: Digital scavenger hunts are growing in popularity because they're a ton of fun. Create a list of things for your employees to find, either in their homes or online. Then split them into teams and see who can find them all first.
It's important to keep your team together and facilitate camaraderie during the COVID-19 pandemic. But it's also important for you to connect with each of your employees individually. Be sure to host one-on-one meetings from time to time with your team, too.
7. Craft a Remote Work Contingency Plan
Finally, make sure you take the time to create a remote work contingency plan for your sales department. A remote work contingency plan is a document that explains how remote work situations will be handled in the future in the event of another crisis like the one we're currently experiencing. This is so important!
When you're interviewing top talent for a new open position, they're probably going to want to see your remote work contingency plan. Why? Because they'll want to know that their employer is prepared if/when another disaster strikes.
If you don't have this document ready to go when you begin the interviewing process, you'll likely miss out on talented workers. Here are some thing to include in this document:
- Expected Behavior: What does your company expect of remote employees? Do they need to clock in at specific times? Do they need to dress in a certain way? Will the company provide resources for them to improve their home office while they're forced to work remotely? These are things that should be outlined in your plan.
- Apps and Tools: Additionally, you should cover the tools and/or work processes that employees should use and follow in remote work situations. That way everyone on your team is on the same page and can hit the ground running quickly if and when they're forced to work from a remote location again.
- Employee Testimonials: Lastly, we suggest including employee testimonials in your remote work contingency plan. Let you team praise your company for providing the best possible remote work environment. This section will assure incoming talent that your organization is well-equipped to handle an emergency situation.
Improve Your Sales Numbers
Sales, in general, is a difficult and demanding career — even more so during a pandemic like the COVID-19 crisis we're currently going through. But using the seven tips we outlined in this article, you'll be able to position yourself and your company for future success.
Here are the seven tips, listed again for your convenience:
- Take Immediate Action
- Always Add Value
- Have Real Conversations
- Use Multiple Channels
- Invest in the Right Technology
- Keep Your Sales Team Connected
- Craft a Remote Work Contingency Plan
And don't forget about CloudApp! This tool makes remote work much easier and productive via screen and webcam recording, GIF creation, and image annotation features. Get started today for free and experience the power of CloudApp for yourself.