Half a year later, COVID-19 continues to impact B2B sales. Those who had prospects galore coming into 2020 are now having trouble doing business, especially since half of buyers are continuing to avoid purchases.
If you’re a business, you’re probably still lowering your budgets and quotas, especially if your business involves travel or other COVID-19-unfriendly jobs.
Meanwhile, businesses that are thriving in the pandemic, such as e-commerce and tech, have their deals going strong. This isn’t to say these businesses aren’t having challenges, but they have took advantage of the changing landscape. Don’t hold out for the end, either. This pandemic may create a new normal that still impacts business to this day.
Don’t waste your time preparing for the post-COVID world. If you do that, you’re not going to be ahead of the game. Instead, here are some ways to get ahead in the here and now.
It’s difficult to seal the deal during the pandemic, but it is possible. Obviously, you’ll need to learn to be remote if you usually sell face-to-face. Also, even if you as a face-to-face seller had charisma, you may need to double that in order to get a sale.
Some people will communicate more, be it through social media, letters, or through gifts, but you need to do more than that. It’s important to experiment with your prospecting in order to get the sales, especially during a pandemic. There’s no right way to sell in these unpredictable times. You must engage in that dreaded trail and error.
As pandering as it sounds, one way to improve your campaign is to acknowledge the pandemic. One Worldata study found that when COVID-19 began, emails that mentioned it had a 41% increase in the email being opened. Meanwhile, ordinary emails decreased in opening rate.
You also need to think of the customer base of your prospect. People have been financially affected, and if your prospect has customers that are well-off, the prospect is more likely to seal the deal, and vice versa.
When you make sales calls, knowing a prospect’s urgency in buying is important. Let’s say you’re selling software that’s used for conventions. They are less likely to purchase because conventions aren’t happening much right now.
Also, look to winnable deals, especially if you’re down 50 percent. Looking to the customer can help.
What if you don’t know how your prospect’s customer is doing? In this case, press the prospect. Ask if anything has changed. Ask about the approval process. Show empathy and ask what they need to do to seal the deal.
A good sales leader always have possibilities ready and not be afraid to make deals. From discounts to deferred payments, this can show your prospects you care during the pandemic. Another way to is to offer certain premium features for free. Many companies are not showing compassion during COVID-19, and by being someone who is, you’re standing out and doing the right thing.
You may lose a little bit of money in the process or not make as much money as you would have if you didn’t have to cut a deal, but it’s going to be worth it in the end. This is because your customers will stick with you even after the pandemic has ended.
Also, ask the important questions. Don’t do the same pitch for all your prospects. Ask what their issue is and how you can solve it. Find ways to meet their needs. When you are able to give solutions, you can hear new pain points and objections, which can allow you to fine-tune your strategy.
When you’re pitching a deal, act like you’re speaking to the CFO themselves. Dealers are highly scrutinized nowadays and more people will be listening in. There is no monolithic decision maker, and even the leaders are working with their employees to get through this.
Also, speak about ROI a lot. Be direct and intentional about it, and repeat it. When so many are skeptical about purchases, show your prospects that your ROI is clear. Promises? Forget about that. You have to guarantee it.
How do you do that? Show the exact connection between the product and the prospect’s goals. This is known as hard ROI, which shows the money that the customers will save, or costs they can avoid. Show how much your prospects can gain if they invest in your business.
Never stop testing your strategy and don’t stop tightening how you do business. Pandemic or no pandemic, you have to keep improving how you do business, and try to find ways to get a hold of the attention of your prospect. Good luck.