March 17, 2020

The Critical Role of Sales and Prospecting Language You Can Use Right Now

I get it. This. Is. Hard. And confusing. And uncertain. And even a bit scary if we’re honest.

And after yet another record down day for the Dow and continued toilet paper panic, many of us in sales are wondering what we should be doing and whether we should even be trying to sell. That question is completely understandable and the temptation to stay in bed or watch reruns of past magical moments from March Madness is certainly real. (Side note: personally, I’m as distraught about the NCAA Hoops Big Dance cancellation and delay of the MLB season as I am from the massive drop in my retirement accounts.)

Sales Friends, let me take my best shot at making the case why we MUST continue to sell and then offer you some specific language that I believe will dramatically improve how customers and prospects perceive your proactive outreach.

We MUST continue to sell because PROFESSIONAL SALESPEOPLE drive the economy, and if there was ever a time that the economy needed all the help it can get, it’s right now! It’s not just your job; it’s your duty…to yourself, your company, your customers, and possibly even your country.

Your customers are also following your lead. Many are dazed, confused, and concerned from Coronavirus Craziness, and whether or not they’re in a position to buy your products/services/solutions right now, they would certainly benefit from and appreciate a positive interaction with an upbeat, caring, empathetic, value-delivering human – you!

These uncertain times provide an opportunity for you to make a profound impact on your prospective (and existing) customers. As I posted on LinkedIn recently:

1. Now is not the time to stop calling. That doesn’t mean you can be ignorant and insensitive. Rather, be empathetic about the chaos they are facing and let them know you care, and that you’ll be around as the dust settles. Be likable. Be sensitive. Be others-focused!

2. Now, more than ever, you need a customer issue and customer outcome-focused message. Sharpen your message (sales story) so you are leading with how you help / bring value / solve problems / achieve results. (see Ch. 10 in Sales Truth & Ch. 8 in New Sales. Simplified. for help).

3. We are going to be operating in a “New Normal” for a season. As we wade through these uncharted waters, we must adapt our approach. Prospects & clients are hurting in new ways, and if you don’t adapt and contextualize your strategy and your words, you’ll get ignored.

While you are working on sharpening and contextualizing your sales messaging, here’s some language for pursuing prospects that salespeople are finding very helpful right now:

  • Share that you care and you understand that their world is upside-down from Corona Craziness
  • You realize that now may not be the best time for a serious business conversation, but you wanted them to know that they’re on your radar because they look so much like other [position type or company type] who have received a ton of value from you
  • Communicate that you’ll be around when the dust settles and you’d welcome the opportunity to have a dialogue to learn more and show how you help other [their position or their company type – ex: CFOs, manufacturers, etc.]
  • Drop a few COMPELLING POINTS by sharing a couple of specific issues you/your solution address or outcomes you create for clients – saying something like this:
  • “I realize things are a bit chaotic right now, but when you’re ready, let’s visit so you can see how we’re solving PROBLEM A and driving RESULT B for [position type or company type].”  
  • Then finish well by wishing them well as they navigate the chaos and that you look forward to a conversation when the time is right

What you do matters! Go do it well, and as I wrote last week, stay positive and continue to choose focus over fear.

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