This week, we asked our resource person on sales management and leadership, Jeff Chua, on how the sales function has changed in the “new normal.” Now that most face-to-face meetings are canceled, how can any business still achieve their sales targets? Here are some of his thoughts and tips:
In this age of disruptive online technology, the conventional definition of sales work has morphed from a transactional exchange for a good or service to the ability of moving the same good or service through your customer’s mind (logic) and heart (emotions). Now, more than ever, companies must shift their attitudes from being product-centric to customer-centric. Instead of communicating your usual sales pitch, the focus should be on the ability to persuade, influence, convince and engage the customer at a personal level. This is what “moving others” is all about in terms of the shift in the sales paradigm.
Let customers know that your company understands their fears and their hardship. Communicate that your company cares about more than simply reaping profit during this difficult time. Empathize with those affected by Covid-19, and show via actions how your company is helping your customers, employees, and other stakeholders. Your company’s social media sites are ideal vehicles for doing this. Cyclehouse, who has the largest number of bike and motorcycle shops in the country, did not increase their prices during the strict lockdowns to help ordinary Filipinos access budget bikes as many will be using this as a means of primary transport.Assure customers that the company’s value proposition for its products will continue.
Discuss thoroughly your track record and emphasize that in spite of the difficulties your company is undergoing, you will continue to provide the things they have come to know and love. This should be one of the primary reasons they patronize your business instead of others. If customers value the quality of your products and the heartfelt nature of your customer service support, assure them that you will maintain those value propositions. For example, an automotive service which prides itself on convenience and safety, could now pick up vehicles for repair at customers’ homes and return them after the service is done.
Think about your customer and imagine the hurdles or obstacles that they face in their current situation and provide solutions. We see this in food delivery—and how much this has exploded and thrived during the pandemic. But I also know of a tire company that delivers car tires to your home and can change them, including vulcanizing and wheel balancing—a convenient and welcome solution during this pandemic.
Providing clarity means allowing the customer time to process, or to think about their options and providing the customer a creative and fresh solution to their current situation or needs. Clarity can also be achieved by comparing and contrasting available options, instead of just presenting your product or service in isolation. Show the options and compare the benefits, including time and cost savings. The key success factor is to ensure that the sales team of your company is taking ownership of the situation, as much as possible, rather than allowing the situation to take ownership of your company and its potential customers.