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Selling in a Pandemic - how to approach sales when everyone is focused on Coronavirus?

Uncategorized Mar 15, 2020

How do we maintain Sales As Usual and Business As Usual when everyone is focused on impending health and economic doom?

Let's get our priorities right from the start.  It's a real health threat and everyone must take the right precautions to protect themselves and everyone around them.  We have a duty of care to each other, so take care and listen to the professionals on this one.

Can the world sustain an environment where business STOPS for 1 month? 3 months?  No it can't.  We are a resiliant bunch and while the experts in health must be listened to, we can prepare for what the business environment looks like with everyone at home for 3 months.  Businesses will find a way to function.  Are you ready?

There are some good links in an earlier post on how to maintain BAU with staff working from home.  Let's focus on selling in this environment.  What does Sales As Usual look like?

Priorities change for businesses.  The focus shifts from growth to survival.  But one thing remains the same - Value, or better still Perceived Value.  If you have failed to show, and prove the value of your mousetrap, you need to start again.  If you focused on features and functions, you need to start again.  With all this change, those features and functions are not longer needed, or best case, they are not needed right now.  Survival!

However, if you proved the value of your mousetrap, then you still have a chance of securing that new contract.  Look at it from the client's perspective.  You may have to reframe the value proposition in a survival environment but the value is still there.  Ask the question - what happens if the client does nothing (you should ask this anyway!)? The fundamental proposition changes from "Can you still grow without the value delivered" by your mousetrap, to "Can you survive without the value delivered" by your mousetrap?  This will really test the strength of your business case.

Let me give you an example.  I sell a Customer Experience Platform that allows omnichannel engagement with clients - all the way from voice and text to apps and web.  My business case was based on delivering a better customer experience to attract new customers, increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction.  Now my business case is based on providing a better customer experience to retain existing customers, protect the revenue base and improve customer satisfaction.  Can they survive without it?  A strong business case will stand up to this scrutiny.

You may also have to spend time looking at how you meet with customers.  Face to face and large demos in the boardroom might be out (generic demos should be out anyway). Online meetings with shared screens will be in.  Focus on understanding the client's problems and how you can solve them.  Nothing changes here.  You'll need to revisit this in the pandemic world as those problems may have changed (eg from new customer acquisition to customer retention).  Then arrange the demo directly addressing those issues.  "How can you survive without the value delivered" by this mousetrap?

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