Get Cut Through in a Recession
Lockdown restrictions are easing.
People are starting to return to the workplace in some states. For many sales teams, they’re back on the road, able to see customers and prospects in person – albeit in compliance with distancing regulations.
If sales teams find it hard to hit their targets when money is flowing, when there’s optimism and a sense of certainty about the continuation of prosperity, they will certainly struggle now.
Ernst and Young’s chief economist, Jo Masters, said this week on ABC Breakfast that we’re not only in a “technical” recession but that the broader definition of a “sustained period of negative growth coupled with high rates of unemployment” is what Australia is facing right now. Selling in a recession requires a deeper skill set. Sales will be an essential factor to make the climb back….but not sales at any cost. Discounting will erode margin, and playing the numbers when there aren’t the numbers to play isn’t going to work.
Sales leaders must invest in their team’s skill set, behaviour set and support them with simple tools to use so they can make the shift from Rep to Consultant.
First priority is to show them how to minimise the cost of selling. Gone are the days when companies can afford to have all of their sales people on the road in cars relying on face to face meetings to drive new business. Thanks to COVID, we now know it is far more aware to use the phone to connect first, determine whether a face to face or video based conversation is better to explore opportunity. If sales people can speak with 6 instead of “see” 4 people a day, that’s an extra 10 opportunities a week or 500 a year. It matters.
In a recession, sales people must be able to read the room. Being “sold” to usually means being “told” or talked at. It’s got to stop! Teach them how to connect more deeply with better communication skills, listening skills and rapport building skills. They’re secret weapons that will make all of the difference to the way your team shows up and engages with prospective and current customers.
Knowing how to plan and execute that plan helps sales people to win more business faster. By understanding what to uncover, when, how and then how to progress that opportunity enables sales people to win more share of wallet instead of leaving opportunity on the table, and supports higher conversion rates.
But they’re not going to come ready made. It’s up to you to develop them because it’s worth it to YOU and your business.
Now is the best time.