RE-OPENING BUSINESSES, ASK THESE QUESTIONS

RE-OPENING BUSINESSES, ASK THESE QUESTIONS

Restrictions are starting to be lifted and there is a pent-up demand to get back to normalcy at work. Government officials in all provinces, states and countries are gearing businesses to start planning the phase-in steps.  Everyone is experiencing spring fever to get out, especially with the temperature rising.

But what if you still can’t go see your customers face-to-face? How can you provide value to them during their phase-in stage?  This is the perfect time for you to be turning your check-in conversations into PURPOSE-ful business conversations.

What if you still can’t go see your customers face-to-face? How can you provide value to them during their phase-in stage? This is the perfect time to turn check-in conversations into PURPOSE-ful business conversations. Click To Tweet

You can pivot your Check-In Conversations by starting with a few simple questions:

How is COVID Impacting your business?  Are you getting ready for businesses to re-open?

For more business questions, before you sell too soon…

Ask these Top Business Questions before suggesting your products & solutions:

  • How is COVID19 impacting your business?
  • Have sales increased or decreased during lockdown?
  • How has your plant/operations/team adapted?
  • How are you preparing your team/business as we plan to re-open?
  • What are the biggest challenges your team/business is facing during COVID19?
  • What challenges are you anticipating throughout the rest of 2020?
  • How will you ensure on-going safe distancing measures as work returns?
  • How is your leadership/management team pivoting to adjust (or even thriving) during this situation?
  • How do you plan to stimulate sales?
  • What can we do to help you…?

Remember – COVID19 may have affected some of your customers more than others. You have to tailor your approach and solutions to each customer’s unique situation. Express empathy,and be sure to really listen to what your customer is saying – don’t sell too soon!

Remember – COVID19 may have affected some of your customers more than others. Express empathy,and be sure to really listen to what your customer is saying – don’t sell too soon! Click To Tweet

Using virtual platforms to conduct PURPOSE-ful conversations is a great way to develop rapport, trust, ask more and better business questions, and differentiate yourself as a Consultative Business Advisor. Sales don’t end when face-to-face meetings move virtual!

TURN CHECK IN CONVERSATIONS INTO PURPOSE CONVERSATIONS

TURN CHECK IN CONVERSATIONS INTO PURPOSE CONVERSATIONS

You have been calling all your clients with an empathetic “check-in” to see how they are doing. You’ve been pleasantly pleased that it’s easier to speak to clients live and they are appreciative of your call showing care for them and their families.  You’ve been brave and even called customers you haven’t spoken to in several years.

Now what? Do you call them again and check-in? Or do you call to seek sales, as you’re getting pressure to change the declining sales numbers?

For some, this is becoming an ethical dilemma.

How can you prevent your team from inappropriately “Selling Too Soon”?

For some, this is becoming an ethical dilemma: how can you prevent your team from inappropriately “Selling Too Soon”? Click To Tweet

The PURPOSE Consultative framework provides a step by step process to show care, build trust, and simply ask questions to pivot the conversation about how COVID19 is impacting their business.

It will guide you to transition the conversation from check-in to asking more about their business to help you determine their priorities…and if it is suitable to explore your solutions with them.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing PURPOSE framework with the sales teams I’ve been coaching. I’ve also been applying PURPOSE framework to my daily 10 sales calls each morning! It’s working very well and a few opportunities have even emerged.

  • P – Prepare well before the customer meetings

Visit their website and/or social media to research their COVID19 update, as most have posted on their business continuity plan.  Prepare with your own positive self-talk – you’re here to help, care and if suitable explore your solutions. Prepare by reviewing the PURPOSE framework and the business type questions you can ask and not ask depending on their response. 

Prepare well before your customer meetings. Prepare with your own positive self-talk – you’re here to help, care, and if suitable, explore your solutions. Click To Tweet
  • U – Understand the customer’s personality style, generation & decision-making role to adapt their conversation

The Trifecta factor will help you to adapt to a more comfortably chatty conversation. If they are exhibiting a driver personality style, it may be appropriate to pivot to a discussion about impacting their bottom line.

  • R – Rapport building to kick off the meeting

How is COVID continuing to impact you (and your family)? You can even get more personal and ask about their favourite Netflix, kids’ activities, to cooking.  One Sales Leader even joked, “Hey, I have tickets for the Raptors game- are you interested?”

  • P – Purpose of the meeting by stating the meeting objectives and/or agenda items including length of meeting

This is the turning point in the check-in conversation.  The purpose of my call is to further discuss how COVID is impacting your business and ….

  • O – Open-Ended Questions, at least 5-10 questions focused on their business impact & ideal outcome

Create your list of great business questions.

How is this impacting the efficiency of your plant operations?

Have you laid off any staff?

Have you adjusted your budgets for …?

How is this impacting the bandwidth of your internet services with your entire family working and doing school from home?

What is your go-forward plan when lockdown ends?  

  • S – Summarize & Solutions

Use their words to repeat back a summary of their situation and then provide your solutions if suitable.

So, what I’m hearing you say is…..  Have you considered ….

  • E – Execute the next steps by scheduling the next meeting or call to present the proposal

Suggest a next call with a specified date & time to come back and provide a working proposal with options for them to consider.

Download the PURPOSE Conversation Template to coach your sales team to have more PURPOSEful Business Conversations.

FUEL YOUR MOJO

FUEL YOUR MOJO

You do your best to practice positive attitude, self-talk and optimism – especially as it relates to sales, as that’s what makes a sales professional successful.

Then COVID19 hits. You’ve now gone through several weeks of lock-down mode with no concrete end date in sight.  Some say mid-May, others state the end of June, and others estimate even longer.

For some of you, this “unknown” is sending you in a downward negative tailspin.  Each morning it’s getting harder to get out of bed – perhaps because it’s still dark outside, or you stayed up later than usual caught up in the series of Tiger King, or you are consuming a few more drinks each night — or all three.

You drag yourself to your make-shift workplace as you have given up your usual space to your spouse and kids who are homeschooling.  You grab a second cup of coffee to get your mojo going and drown out the kids negotiating to put off their few hours of on-line school time.  You quickly watch the news to get an update and see that the COVID19 numbers continue to soar.  You shake your head in dismay and mumble wishfully, “If only sales numbers could rise this fast every day.”

You know you should make more sales calls today.  Your plant production is slowing down and your organization needs more work to prevent more lay-offs.  There is a lot riding on you… and admittedly, you’re wrestling with whether it’s even appropriate to be reaching out to customers and selling at this time.

There is a lot riding on you… and admittedly, you’re wrestling with whether it’s even appropriate to be reaching out to customers and selling at this time. Click To Tweet

You’re also much better at communicating with customers when you can meet with them face to face. As a consultative sales professional, you’re concerned that you’re not being sensitive to your customers’ needs at this time.

You don’t like the dark cloud that is looming over you now and you know you must shake this off.

During the last recession, I’ll admit I worked myself into this black state. This time around, I’m working hard to fuel my mojo to thrive, not just survive.  Here’s what’s working…

What fuels your mojo?  How will you feed your mojo?

Here’s what I’m doing to stay ahead of the black cloud…

1. Working out each morning while watching the news updates. When I get moving, increase my heart rate and get oxygen moving through my body, I feel stronger and better about the day.

2. Every day I have a list of clients I call between 8am – 9:30am. I create the list the day before and start with the easy or favourite ones to kick-start my day. The purpose of these calls is to understand how COVID19 is impacting their business. Some are increasing sales – even significantly – and don’t have time to train; some are laying off staff and don’t have the budget to train; some are just waiting to ride out the storm. It’s great to have these conversations and just simply learn about how your clients’ businesses are surviving and even thriving.

3. We have to feel useful or feel that we are helping. We started to offer weekly Sales Leader Sessions: “Sales Leaders Leading through COVID19” to bring Sales Leaders together to Give-Get-Gain insight and advice. These sessions are definitely filing my mojo soul!

Here’s what I’m doing to stay ahead of the black cloud… 1. Working out each morning while watching the news 2. Calling clients between 8am and 9:30am 3. Teneo's weekly Sales Leader Sessions 4. Team daily huddle #FuelYourMojo Click To Tweet

4. The daily huddle with my team – seeing their faces and being held accountable and connected to get things done for our daily 12 noon call.

5. Calling/texting a family or friend every night – someone who needs a social boost, including my running buddies who are working in hospitals, my brother-in-law who is an infectious disease doctor, or my Mom who is going stir crazy.

6. Reading Robert Munsch stories to Jasmine’s daughters – Celine & Bianca through Zoom. Their giggles were infectious!

7. Lastly, the simplicity of getting outdoors for a walk or run to enjoy the sunshine or seeing the flowers and trees to blossom, along with waving to neighbours or starting a conversation from across the road.

What fuels your mojo to thrive, not just survive?  Carve time in your day to enjoy these simple pleasures while living in a complex COVID19 craziness.

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES TO STIMULATE YOUR SALES PLAN

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES TO STIMULATE YOUR SALES PLAN

This is a challenging time for many sales teams. Some are increasing sales and can’t keep up with the demand and others are even apprehensive to sell, as they want to be sensitive to the situation. No matter what your industry or who you sell to, you are having to re-evaluate your sales plan and how you stimulate your sales for the rest of the year, in order to achieve your goals.

No matter what your industry or who you sell to, you are having to re-evaluate your sales plan and how you stimulate your sales for the rest of the year, in order to achieve your goals. Click To Tweet

It’s great to hear from our sales community; many of you who value our simple one-page templates have been asking what template they should use.  We have customized a new Sales Stimulation Template for challenging sales situations and generating sales plans appropriate to the COVID19 crisis. The template will help you analyze your Q1 sales (prior to COVID19), identify new obstacles, questions to ask yourself to Stimulate your Sales, Priorities, Strategies and Action Plan.

Here are a few obstacles that might be festering in your mind and holding you back in your sales…

Obstacles Strategy Action Plan
Can’t meet with F2F with customers Use Video Platform to meet with customers Schedule 5 virtual meetings this week
I don’t want to be insensitive- I can’t sell at this time Identify the industries who need your services even at this time or those industries who are increased Create a list of customers in the grocery, cleaning and healthcare industry and make 10 calls
I can’t prospect during a crisis Reach out to your existing customers or past customers to connect and add value Review your past customer lists to call xx customers this week
Obstacle: I can't prospect during a crisis. Action Plan: Review your past customer lists to call xx customers this week. #SellingWithPurpose #COVID19 #WorkingFromHome Click To Tweet

Download this Sales Plan_COVID19_Template to identify your obstacles and then develop your priorities, strategies, and action plan to mobilize your sales plans.

DON’T FLATTEN YOUR SALES CURVE – PLANK IT!

DON’T FLATTEN YOUR SALES CURVE – PLANK IT!

With COVID19, we want to flatten the curve.  With sales, we don’t want you to flatten your sales curve – you need to plank it to get your sales to spike!

It’s the end of Q1. How are you preparing for Q2-Q3 and Q4 to get your sales to spike?

The economy’s health depends upon strong sales leaders and teams more than ever. It’s up to sales professionals to sharpen their sales skills, tweak their value propositions, and demonstrate how to show value in order to earn a meeting and a buyer’s business in 2020.

With the volatility of the markets and the COVID19, you may be concerned about what the rest of 2020 will bring.  Now is NOT the time to cocoon as you wait for COVID19 to flatten the curve – this will just flatten your sales.

With the volatility of the markets and the #COVID19, you may be concerned about what the rest of 2020 will bring. Now is NOT the time to cocoon as you wait for COVID19 to flatten the curve - this will just flatten your #Sales. Click To Tweet

Even though it feels as if there is a pause in some industries, I’m encouraging you to put extra attention into evaluating your Q1 sales. What worked well and what needs improvement? In trying situations, we are always learning; lots of knowledge gained during the past few weeks can be effectively applied to future sales.

Based on the sales leadership sessions we are hosting to gather Sales Leaders who are keenly interested in Effectively Leading through COVID19, here’s what sales leaders & teams are doing proactively:

Calling clients on their mobiles or setting up video platform calls to inquire about their business.  You can have a PURPOSEful business conversation to find out how COVID19 is impacting their businesses.  It’s a great conversation starter; it shows you care; you learn more about your client’s business. Some of our Sales Leaders have revealed that these inquiries have helped them identify opportunities to sell – maybe not on that call but in the near future.

Daily Team Huddles keep the team motivated, accountable and connected.  Sales teams are social and need more than a weekly sales meeting during these times.  These daily sessions can include daily sales updates, PK sessions, CRM tips, improving sales process and reviewing Teneo’s 5-5-5.  Some sales teams are getting creative and getting dressed up, allowing their kids to join the last 5 minutes of the call, or even hosting a Beer Party at the end of day on a Friday (one team even had a designated DJ!).

Virtual Coffee Breaks are 15-minute calls with the team to talk about anything other than business or COVID19. We had our Teneo team coffee break on Friday morning. It was fun to connect and not just talk shop.

As you evaluate your Q2, Q3 and Q4 Sales Strategies – here are factors to consider to help develop a stronger sales strategy to overcome COVID19 and turn around the economy:

  • What industries are thriving during COVID19 – ones to whom you could sell? Grocery, convenience stores, hardware stores, building materials, janitorial, cleaning, pet food, paint, and agriculture are all industries that are thriving in this new sales landscape.
What industries are thriving during COVID19 – ones to whom you could sell? Grocery, convenience stores, hardware stores, building materials, janitorial, cleaning, pet food, paint, and agriculture are all industries that are thriving… Click To Tweet
  • What are recession-proof type industries?
  • What additional verticals can you research and identify?
  • How can you re-valuate and re-tool your value proposition to gain the interest of your ideal target market?
STRATEGIES FOR SALES PEOPLE WORKING FROM HOME DURING COVID-19

STRATEGIES FOR SALES PEOPLE WORKING FROM HOME DURING COVID-19

A new way to work from home…

For the last week or two, you likely have been working from home and balancing your children’s schedules and you may find home and work are colliding. Our work week will not be normal for at least the next few weeks, and possibly the next few months.

Yet, sales teams need to be productive to turn this economy around.

This is a time when we have to be creative and productive to take care of customers and children. Download our Creating-My-Ideal-Week-Template.pdf to map out a productive work week while working from home.

Strategies to Maximize Your Sales Time Working From Home

Here are a few key sales strategies to allocate your time to be productive:

  • Reach out to your customers to take the best care of them
  • Allocate time each day or week to identify & research new markets/industry who are buying or could be recession-proof
  • Allocate time each day to improve your sales processes, such as your CRM or proposals
  • Allocate time to develop new programs, promotions, and product offerings
  • Work with your marketing team to develop marketing campaigns and stronger messages
  • Allocate time to stay healthy – work out your body & mind
  • Allocate time to review your sales goals, plans & alternative strategies during COVID-19 and to re-build business for the remainder of the year

Some of you may have to plan a better work schedule to also care for children, in addition to customers while working from home.

As a working Mom with a home office for over 17 years, I learned to balance when our girls were young. We created signals so the kids knew when I was on a call with a client and they knew they could not interrupt the call with a request to have a cookie or watch their favourite TV show. They loved to write messages to me on the whiteboard in my office like, “Do you want a grilled cheese for lunch, can we watch TV, can we go to the park?”

Strategies to Maximize Your Parenting Time

As salespeople and sales leaders, we need to adapt. Trying to work and keep a second eye on our children can be tricky.

The workday doesn’t have to be your typical 9-5 day. Working from home means your schedule can be flexible to accommodate children, a workout, or even a grocery run during the middle of the day.

Here are a few different ways to plan your day:

  • Parent A begins their day @6am – 9am.
  • Parent B begins their day @9am – 12 noon, while Parent A cares for children.
  • Parent B takes lunch with kids, Parent A works 12-1 to check emails and respond to urgent requests.
  • Parent A takes care of children or continues their workday from 1-4pm, while the alternate parent does the other.
  • Parent A works from 4-7pm, while parent B cares for the kids and makes dinner.
  • Or another option is each parent takes 1-2 hours shifts to balance work and children while working from home.

The way you decide to schedule your time work and family time, if working from home is new to you and/or your partner, it’s important to be creative and patient while everyone adjusts to new situations and especially to working from home.

In the meantime, stay healthy and hopeful that we’ll get through this!