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How do you sell during a crisis?

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

¡Todo lo que necesitas saber sobre negocios y tecnología en América Latina en tu bandeja de entrada! 📬

Today we had our Morning Coffee with Daniela Arias, co-Founder of Naranja Media Podcast and Empréndete.

Contxto – For many, discussing sales right now may simply seem like a crazy idea. How can we talk about selling at a time when the world is paralyzed?

True, it is clear that the current situation has changed the landscape for companies. There are even some that have fired or furloughed their teams, which is exactly the sort of fatal mistake we cannot make right now. 

The world has not been put on pause; the world has changed.

The tips and tools you’ll see in this article were born from the third episode of the podcast, Máquina de ventas with Dan Macias. Also, this guide applies to companies focused on B2B (business to business) marketplaces, but it contains information which may be useful to any entrepreneur.

Identify where your customers currently stand

Right now there are only two types of prospective customers:

1. The ones that are totally on pause

They are not prepared to have a conversation with a potential new vendor. However, this is exactly the time to show our support by doing several things: 

First, we can provide valuable content that they can harness. That is, if they can’t buy anything from us, let’s help them by sharing information that sheds light on future decisions, about how to manage their teams or content that’s relevant and I, as a company, can provide. 

On the other hand, it is time—now more than ever—to sow; establish a future timeframe in which you’ll be able to talk to them again. 

The key is to feel real empathy. This isn’t about sharing content that speaks about your goodness, it is about sharing truly valuable content and give that prospective client the time he or she needs to get back to you.

2. Those who, due to the crisis, want to buy more

I don’t mean they are searching for your solution specifically, but yes, there are companies that currently need to buy new products and establish new services. There is where we have an opportunity.

The important thing here is to evaluate the characteristics of our prospects and migrate to the side that may need you.

This point is important because the crisis does not mean that absolutely no one is buying; what it means is that within these new niches you must re-evaluate your conversion rate and even if it drops.

For example, you can go from a conversion rate of 5 percent to just 2 percent; that only means you must increase the number of people you should initially contact to achieve your goals as a company.

We delve deeper into that sales system in the next section.

Understand your sales system 

This point should be covered with or without a crisis. But it is crucial during this time. 

What is a sales system?

It is knowing which are the stages that you must go through with a prospective client until you close the deal. For example: first contact → knowledge appointment → meeting to present proposal → proposal adjustments → approval → closing.

Each of these stages has a success rate. For example, if 5 out of 100 initially contacted people buy, that means that your closing rate is at 5 percent.

Now, if you have this system, during these moments of crisis you can know if your rate drops to, say, 3 percent or if it increases. Knowing this will let you adjust the system based on your goals.

In other words, if your rate drops by half, you already know that in order to maintain your sales volume you need to initially contact twice as many companies.

Why is that useful? For a lot of reasons:

  • It decreases your uncertainty rate,
  • It helps to understand where in the process prospective clients are lost and, therefore,
  • It helps you to improve, making you understand how big your initial efforts must be in order to achieve your goal.

Schedule your next three months

Usually, sales targets are set to a number of weekly appointments. However, right now we have to be more flexible and understand that some prospects will not be able to schedule for months. 

In those cases, the best thing to do is set an appointment even if it won’t happen for three months. Do not end those calls with an “OK, I’ll call you back in June”; end them with a “What do you think about a 20-minute catch up on the xxx of xxx?”

Seize on your LinkedIn and that of your prospects

This is a preliminary investigation you can do before an appointment with a prospect.

That investigation consists of two parts:

On the one hand, go through your LinkedIn contacts and select five to 10 possible contacts of interest for your prospect. 

On the other hand, do the same thing on your prospects’ LinkedIn, search through their contacts and select five to 10 that are useful to you. 

The idea with this tactic is that at the end of a meeting, you can build a network with them and then ask them if they would agree to do the same with you. You give first, and then a door opens so you can receive too.

Attitude and empathy

All of the above, when done with the wrong attitude—being a black cloud or the type that breaks the ice with bad news—, won’t work.

The most important step is precisely having a good vibe, be the type to bring out a smile on the other end of the phone, and, of course, the type to have empathy.

This is not the time to be an intense salesperson who only cares about their bottom line.

This is a time to contribute on every front we can. 

Daniela Arias, is co-Founder of Naranja Media Podcast and Empréndete. She has been working in marketing for six years because she loves being the bridge between companies and society. She also loves podcasts, like Sales Machine with Dan Macias. Listen to more in-depth content about what is discussed in this article here.

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