How to Talk to Prospects in The Time of Crisis
Sales must go on, but everything has changed with COVID-19.
With the recent global crisis, how can you be successful in sales?
Ill give you some advice on what to do when it seems like your prospects are impossible.
Get Your Perspective Right
Stop for a moment and think about what youre saying. The person is probably looking at their email inbox or LinkedIn with all the people who reached out to them, so dont be pushy.
Dont let the professional voice fool you. We are all scared and for different reasons.
Its important to be empathetic when someone is in a vulnerable position and not pressure them with hard selling.
If you start knowing how to talk to prospects, the rest will not be easy. It may even feel impossible at first.
If you want to get peoples attention, dont talk about what happened a couple of weeks ago. You will just annoy them and likely get stuck in the locker by someone who has no patience for it.
Salespeople are under a lot of pressure, but its important to remember that theyre already making 50% commission off their salary. Now as the market becomes more competitive and foggy, salespeople have no idea how much money they can make.
The shift in workplace culture has had an impact. Now it will be even harder to get people engaged.
Some things never change. We are in uncharted waters, but some things will always be the same.
Here are six ways on how to talk to prospects even when theyre down.
Step 1 on How to Talk to Prospects: Bring Attention to the Unmentioned Things
I got a call yesterday, and it turned out to be this guy who starts talking right away like hes been living under a rock (which ironically would be good for him now because of these times where were all isolating ourselves).
I was so surprised that I just said, I cant and hung up.
Now, Im not going to buy anything from him because he didnt show any empathy. But what I will do is be nice and try to give some guidance or advice.
Eventually, I would likely respond to his call or email again.
Step 2 on How to Talk to Prospects: Personal First, Value Next
Most buyers feel like Rocky after his first match against Apollo. They are shaken up and may need a few weeks to recover.
I sometimes use too many metaphors in my writing. I should try to write more plainly.
People are often not thinking about what they can do for the company, but instead what the company is going to be able to do for them. But if you take a genuine interest in them as people first and show that your business cares about their well-being, then when theyre ready again to think of themselves as marketable employees who need work opportunities or career advice, at least there will have been some rapport built.
If you go in with a lowball offer, theyll reject it and run away as fast as possible.
Step 3 on How to Talk to Prospects: Listen
More than ever, people are going to need to feel heard. Active listening is the single most underrated aspect of sales and now thats even more true.
Make sure to ask about how things are going. If they say not so good, you can just be there for them.
If you want to make a sale, ask some more questions. Embrace the awkwardness and then take time to show sincere concern before shifting gears back to your product.
Step 4 on How to Talk to Prospects: Have a Long Term Plan
Think about the long-term. Focus on whether or not this is a good fit for you in general, rather than if its right for you NOW.
If you invest in people during tough times, without expecting an immediate return, the trust and opportunity will be there when its time.
Step 5 on How to Talk to Prospects: Dont Make Unreasonable Questions
If youre in the middle of a conversation with someone, and they snap their leg in half, you wouldnt ask them to get up and grab something for you.
If theyre in a panic, dont ask them to schedule another meeting for a couple of weeks. They wont have enough time.
You still have the power to be prescriptive when it comes to deadlines, but dont try and force artificial ones if you arent paying attention.
Step 6 on How to Talk to Prospects: Stay Positive
One is to be oblivious, the other positive.
When were in a slump or dont have many sales, our emotions can be all over the place. We want to hear that everything will turn out okay and itll get better soon.
When youre talking to someone, theyll subconsciously take cues from your conversation about how freaked out they should be. Sure things are down now but its only the dark that makes us appreciate the light.
I think its important to let people know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The Dalai Lama once said, I hope that in some small way my words today will help you find happiness. If not, it doesnt matter!
He actually ended his speech with this. Take care everyone, and I hope you find solace in knowing that there are people who understand what its like to be an introvert. I hope you learned how to talk to prospects despite the pandemic. Happy Selling.
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- That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
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