Winter is certainly coming, but the pandemic is not leaving. COVID-19 is continuing to uproot normalcy and force businesses to change their models. With new daily cases on the rise (as of this writing), the threat of another shutdown lingers through the winter months. The pandemic coupled with the frenzy of the holiday season is enough to make anyone want to hold off stressful decisions. It hasn’t been easy to be a salesperson in 2020.
Everyone is hoping that come the new year, the pandemic will slow down and ideally come to a screeching halt with an upcoming vaccine. Even so, it is important to take uncertainty into account when prospecting and understanding that, “Call me after the holidays” may also mean, “Call me when COVID is over”.
Decision-Makers Are Uncertain
The pandemic has caused many people to start working remotely due to safety concerns. In this new normal, it is very difficult for decision-makers to actually make decisions. When employees are all at home, many industries are left with open-ended questions. Is your service going to be top of mind for a prospect to pull the trigger and buy, or do you have to fill the pipeline even more to get a similar sales results from the same timeframe last year? The demographic of on-site employees have changed, does that affect how you target your opportunities? Which of your prospects can afford new services in the face of the current economy? Have you been able to adapt your value proposition at this time? As salespeople, these questions vary depending on what you sell, and given certain scenarios of the new normal.
Even if you’re facing a mountain of objections and slowed sales, don’t be discouraged because things will get better one day. Being prepared for that day is important. When talking to decision-makers now, probe into what the future may look like for them. If you sell services that require an on-site presence, gauge what the prospective plans are for integrating employees on-site. By doing this, a salesperson can build an early relationship with a business. Salespeople can show empathy for a business and reveal to decision-makers the value your services can add to their current scenario. Finish out 2020 strong and be sure to take this time to do the important research. This way, when you do call them back in the new year (and hopefully in a more “normal” world), you are making the best possible impression and getting a good head start now, well before the lazy salespeople are sitting around waiting for deals to happen to them!
The holidays might be a pleasant surprise – you may see spirits lifting as we close out a tough year. With life being very different in 2020, the holidays may give those a sense of hope for the new year. When talking to gatekeepers and decision-makers alike, it is important to rely on their tone to signal what to do next. If they seem open and generous, mirror that to instill likability and trust. Relate to them on a personal level. Besides using the phone for relationship building, market through a multi-channel approach like an up-lifting email, a cute direct mail piece like a calendar magnet card, or a relationship-building opportunity by connecting on LinkedIn. Maybe even send them an article that might interest them.
Since the pandemic hit, some prospects may not be qualified targets anymore. Requalify prospect demographics in order spend time on the right accounts. While many offices might be sparsely populated, blue-collar workers are still on-site at manufacturing plants. Hospitals and nursing homes continue to operate. Retailers are managing to remain on their feet. There are prospects out there for your company. Some industries (like restaurants) are looking every which way for cost-cutting measures that your company might have a solution for. Even if they do push off decisions until after the holidays, use this time to build rapport with the company and gain callback dates. Take the time during the holidays to building a foundation, and understand your new list of prospects. This way, you can have a set plan for January, and be prepared to follow up with them. Only now it won’t be a cold call.
Be sure to keep a good relationship with current and past clients during this time. It is essential during the holidays and especially during the pandemic. Sending holiday cheer out to clients through a card, email, or call, lets them know that they are special to your company. Now more than ever, kindness and empathy is key. Be the one to spread the merriment to others and lift their spirits. Empathy and understanding can go a long way this year and can create a long-lasting relationship with a client. Client retention is also more important now than ever.
Overall, it is clear that this time with the holidays and the pandemic combined is very stressful. However, lead generation should not be! Let MarketReach help. We specialize in prospect qualification and appointment setting. With our fantastic call team, allow us to market your company and help you increase your facetime with your top prospects, leading to increased sales as we head into 2021! Give MarketReach a call at 609-448-6364 or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!