“Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”
– President Trump, talking about the COVID-19 pandemic on February 10, 2020
“2020 was a dumpster fire.”
– Almost everyone, talking about the COVID-19 pandemic after 10 months at home
COVID-19 has been an incredible, hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event that has left no community, no business, and no person unaffected — some more than others. People have lost loved ones. Businesses have closed. Parents have become remote employees and ad-hoc teachers. The list is long.
And small businesses have been forced to adapt quickly in order to survive. You and your team are looking ahead to 2021. You’re anxious to get back to selling and closing deals like you were pre-COVID. Maybe you’ve been waiting this out, thinking that we’re going to be back to business as usual sometime soon. Jumping on planes, meeting up with prospects over lunch, attending trade shows and conferences as if nothing happened. I mean, the vaccine is going to be available to everyone in just a few short months, right?
We think that’s ostrich-type thinking, putting your head in the sand and waiting for the storm to pass. This storm, while it will soon end, will be more like a hurricane that changes the topography of the land it swept through. New roads, schools, churches, and businesses will need to be built to bring it back. And, those buildings will look different and be built with different materials to withstand future storms.
B2B sales for small businesses is no different. Once the pandemic subsides and vaccines are available, the world will start moving forward, but we believe there are changes that have been made to accommodate the virtual world that will remain.
Think about it: There are plenty of organizations who have not met with a single salesperson in over nine months. Do you really think they’ve missed us? Do you think they’re sitting around thinking, “Hmmm, I’ve really missed those extra sales meetings I had to sit through before the pandemic! I can’t wait to start those up again!”
Nope. That’s not happening.
Whatever you were doing to generate leads and close deals will not look the same. And if you continue to treat sales like hand-to-hand combat, hunting down new contacts and meeting in person every time you want a new client or customer, you will not survive.
Now is the time to invest in your digital sales and marketing efforts. It’s not enough to read an article about how to take your in-person meetings virtual. You need to make a mindshift to a whole new way of doing business.
I get it. You’re probably thinking, where are the tips and tricks to close deals during the COVID pandemic that you promised? No worries. I’m going to list those here:
Tip #1: Use VIDEO on your website and in email prospecting.
- Just because people are looking for ways to buy things virtually doesn’t mean they don’t want to buy from humans.
- There are lots of tools to create videos that feature you and your team talking about your business and how you can help them achieve greatness by using your product or service.
- It doesn’t have to be heavily produced. It just needs to look professional.
- We have a guide for DIY sales videos. Get it here.
Tip #2: Don’t force your prospects to talk to someone in order to see how you can help them solve their problem.
70% of buyers fully define their needs on their own before engaging with a sales representative, and 44% identify specific solutions before reaching out to a seller.
- People don’t really want to talk to you before they’ve identified that you’re a potential solution to their problem.
- Make it easy for prospects to research your product or solution on their own and then be available to provide information once they have specific questions.
- Use landing pages that talk about the benefits of your product. We have a guide to help you. Get it here.
FAQs are also really helpful for product research. Including a few questions that routinely get brought up from your prospects on your website is a quick way for visitors to do their own research.
Tip #3: Set up a virtual meeting scheduling link.
- When your prospect is ready to talk, make it easy for them to work it into their schedule.
- Did you know that you can set up a virtual meeting calendar and share it with prospects to schedule meetings via email? (See it in action at the end of this article) And that prospects actually appreciate having control over when they meet with you using a tool like that?
- Most CRMs have a way to handle sharing open spots on your calendar where prospects can schedule time.
Tip #4: Always be thinking about what’s in it for them.
- YOU are looking for another opportunity to talk with them. THEY are looking for value at each interaction. That has never been more important than it is right now.
- Each interaction should end with some reason or value for your prospect to meet with you again. There is no value for them in “let’s set up another time to chat” without some sort of bait to get them to the next meeting.
- Good bait could be:
- Let's set up time to meet with one of our experts to design your personalized solution.
- Let’s find a time to build the business case for a solution like this at your company. It’s got to work for everyone; I get that, and I can help.
- You’ve given me a lot of great information. Let me go back and get the quote done for you. Then I’ll send it your way and we can walk through the details we’d need from you to get things moving on your end.
Tip #5: Speak the awkward truth.
We’ve all been in that situation: Things are going great! The prospect has shared details, and they’ve identified that you are a great possible solution for them. But then, everything dries up. What do you do to get things moving again, especially when you can’t stop by in person?
- Email and phone calls that acknowledge that things went quiet are good ways to trigger a response.
- Put it on you. Assume you are the reason things stalled out — because most likely, you are the reason. If the price and solution were perfect, then the deal wouldn’t have stalled.
- Good awkward truth starters:
- I’m guessing something about the proposal I put together didn’t work for you. Did I price it higher than you expected? Did I forget to include someone else into the buying process? You won’t offend me. If you give me some insight, I’d be happy to revisit the proposal.
- I’m thinking you got busy with another priority, which is very understandable. I’m also thinking that something I shared in our last conversation didn’t help you solve this problem. I could rework the proposal or share some ideas from other customers of ours; just let me know which one of those might help you get this off your plate.
We’re finally through 2020, and hoping 2021 is looking up. But, it will only really change for the better if you’re willing to invest in changing your approach to sales. We’ve provided a few ways to make these changes today.
But if you need a guide to help you make the real changes you need to succeed this year, then find time to meet with us. We’ll help you map out a plan to get there. Nobody said you had to do it alone. You’ve been spending too much time alone as it is. It’s time to meet with people who can help.