Many small businesses were blind-sighted during the COVID-19 shutdown. You are not alone-especially with feeling confused and frustrated. When things like this happen, the basics of sales become especially important.
Sales is all about relationships with your customers. It’s about the community you have built around your brand, company, and product/service. Now more than ever your customers (and employees) will be watching to see how you are under pressure. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your leadership, your resilience, and your optimism… on which will also get you through this.
Be there for your customers. Be Open to making new connections. Be passionate about helping to solve their problems. Empathy will be your best business principal.
You are not the only one embracing empathy as a business principal right now. Your competitors are as well. So how do you differentiate yourself?
Keep your promises. Don’t drop the ball on the small details. This is the easiest way to gain or lose a customer. It always has been, it's just exacerbated right now because of the condition of the market.
FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP and be patient- lot’s of people are hurting financially and emotionally right now. It’s more important now more than ever to not let good customers fall through the cracks. Commit to taking your time and ensuring your company is producing quality experiences.
Know when to stand your ground. Just because your customer’s need your patience doesn’t mean you should undersell yourself or your benefit’s to solve their problems. COVID-19 is not an excuse to be taken advantage of or to desperately drop your rates. If you provide excellent products or services at a fair price, then there are customers out there who need it and are willing to support you with that price. In my opinion, it should have been priced fairly from the beginning… Don’t waste time on bad-fit customers.
Take this time to brush up on your salesman skills. I suggest focusing on the basics as great reminders and taking this time to strengthen the craft. If sales isn’t your thing, then hire people who love doing it (yes, they exist- Hello! I am one of them!).
Stay focused- building relationships and sales takes consistency. The basic WILL produce results but it doesn’t happen overnight. When you need time sensitive results… it is worth the money to invest in your sales team and marketing. However, word of caution, don’t just throw money to solve this issue. You will waste a lot of money. Strategically invest in the best producing methods and make sure someone knowledgeable is managing it. There are numerous videos and books to help you if you insist on doing it yourself, but if you need past results done well… you need to hire someone who knows how to do that.
Breathe. Remember you are only human. Get focused. Stay human to your employees, your customers, and those who care about you. A very interesting part of leadership is not losing your human side. We all need help once in a while. Watching someone refuse to ask for help is painful. Everyone would rather see a business owner be vulnerable and find solutions rather than let the company die.