Social distancing has been a storm to weather in the world of sales. Messages like, “We’re all in this together,” or, “We’re all in the same boat,” have become oversaturated and begun to fall flat for consumers. In reality, as home life converges with career work, real people are now faced with an entirely new set of problems to solve. They won’t be initially interested in all the benefits of your product, but they’ll want you to know what they’re dealing with. This is why, even though we may not be in the same boat, we ought to focus on what we have in common: the storm around us.
In light of this, so many companies are talking about developmental technology solutions and unified communications—so, how can you differentiate your services from those of your competitors? James Murphy, Global VP of Sales at Devtech, recently joined us to share his advice on making meaningful sales connections despite being unable to meet clients face-to-face. His three main suggestions were as follows:
- Personalization is more important now than ever. The typical, feature-heavy email marketing campaign to entice customers to your demo is almost obsolete; nobody has the time to read them anymore, much less create them. Companies should be shifting their customer-reachout strategies to be as timely and relevant as possible. Skip the generic sales pitches and ask the customer whether they’re dealing with the problems you’re prepared to solve. Your client has a high likelihood of confirming that they do, in fact, share similar concerns—and chances are, they haven’t found a perfect solution yet. Therefore, don’t be afraid to shift temporarily away from what your product does. Instead of tunnel-visioning on its features and benefits, direct your attention to the unique and very-present problems your potential customer is currently facing.
- Straightforwardness goes a long way, so cut the fluff and get to the point. Even if somebody says they aren’t facing the problems you were prepared to address, don’t worry. Instead, let them know that you’ll be there for them when things get back to normal. Maybe, then, you can solve another problem, because you will have made that connection for the future. People are looking for ways to cut through the noise and determine whether or not you can help them, period—so don’t make the mistake of counting yourself out for the long-term just because you can’t help in the short-term. Businesses who can’t execute this may find themselves becoming irrelevant during this time.
- Teamwork is more than just work. Murphy, for example, does one-on-one video check-ins with his team every week. He calls it a “weekly happy hour” in which everybody meets via a Zoom call and talks with each other about how things are going outside of work. Some people use meeting times as training sessions or to talk about work, but when working from home, most of us are either in our office or 25 feet away from it at all times. Give your team some time to decompress. Additionally, encourage your teams to meet without you to discuss what’s been working for them or try out new pitches. Real, organic conversations happen without supervision, because that’s when people aren’t worried about impressions. Encourage your team members to recreate that low-pressure, water-cooler setting by staying in contact with each other not only as colleagues, but as people.
The main takeaway here for any team selling or engaging with customers is to try and forget about your product for a minute. People are worried about their problems. If your product can help to solve their problem, then your product becomes relevant. So ask your customers about their problems right now. How has this all impacted their daily life, and how are they coping? Specifically, how are they adjusting in their business? What are some challenges they foresee having to address in the near future? Focus on them and their problems and how you can solve those. Every company promises to do this, but now, it’s really sink-or-swim. Start asking yourself how you can become more problem-oriented and customer-centric, and you’ll have a much easier time staying afloat.