10 keys for sales success in the current challenging environment

  1. Be active.
    The people who refused to meet a few months ago may want to talk now. Get out there – Ideally face to face but if not then use some of the excellent virtual tools that have come into their own over recent months.
  2. Change gear.
    This is not the time for your “selling in a recession” mindset. Don’t be absurdly, uncritically optimistic but do reflect the reality. Many have moved into the second stage of negative behaviour; from panic to “unfreezing”; some are in the third stage of “innovation”. Your thinking and your bearing need to move into this more positive arena.
  3. Ask new questions.
    Now is not the time for assumptions. Hone your questioning skills. Be willing to engage and explore “How are you seeing things now?” “What impact have the last few months had?” “How are you doing yourself?”, “How are those around you thinking at the moment?”. Listen, observe, reflect back. Be willing to be open yourself.
  4. Be flexible.
    Business leaders know they need to be planning. But how do you plan in such uncertain times. So if leaders need to prepare for different futures, then you need to be able to reassure with flexible solutions. They need to know that if things change, you will be able to change with them. This is the time for options, add-ons, flexibility.
  5. Build business cases.
    Few people are taking chances. Justify your offer. Demonstrate payback. Prove everything. And if you can share the risk with performance related payments, retention. Make it easy for others to commit to you.
  6. Be quick.
    Move fast, respond speedily. “Strike while the iron is hot”. Remember what Martin Luther King called “The fierce urgency of now”.
  7. Identify the strategic issues and sell to those issues.
    Se where your solutions relate strongly to your customers’ driving issues. Few may spend money on peripheral solutions but most will invest in solutions that help them achieve their strategic goals.
  8. Look for “white space”
    – the areas that your prospects may not have considered themselves; the places where you will not be head-to-head with competitors; where you have the chance to co-innovate with your customers.
  9. Leverage your relationship capital.
    Make sure you know who knows whom in your two organisations. Make these relationships work for you. Ensure you get insights from people in your business who may know your contacts.
  10. Have some fun!
    Selling and relationship management is a career for enthusiastic and passionate people. It’s the most enjoyable job in the world. Not many people have enjoyed business life over recent months. Enjoy it again and let your enjoyment infect others. Sure be realistic but be realistic while on the front foot!
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