Strategies For Prospecting In A Time Of Social Distancing

In the wake of COVID-19, conferences, events and tradeshows have been cancelled or moved to a virtual format. For sales reps, this makes prospecting especially challenging. Without the ability to shake hands, meet people face to face and form meaningful connections, many sales professionals wonder how to make prospecting work.

Shaun Finder, co-founder and CEO of Autoklose, says that even though traditional prospecting has changed, you can still land new opportunities and tap into new prospects. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Finder's tips for prospecting in a world impacted by coronavirus.

Remember that this is a massive shift. While many salespeople are aware that these are challenging times and that our world has been turned upside down, it can be hard to grasp all the implications of this new reality. Finder says it's important to adjust your sales approach because your prospects' needs and pain points have changed, too.

Demonstrate patience. Understand that in the weeks and months ahead, you may experience periods of slow growth and you may need to invest more time with your prospects than you normally would. They are likely anxious about the future and what will happen to their jobs and their business. That's why Finder says it's crucial to give them time. Don't expect them to make a purchasing decision as quickly as you'd like. But don't give up, either. If you don't pursue them, you can't win the business.

Think of the bigger picture. While persistence is important, no one wants to do business with a sales rep who is impatient and desperate. Instead, Finder suggests adopting a long-term sales mindset that focuses on helping, nurturing and being there for your prospects. Now isn't the time to take a pushy transactional approach.

Embrace compassion and empathy. These are difficult times for everyone. No one is excluded from the distress that COVID-19 has caused. While you might be eager to get back to work and start selling, remember that your clients and prospects are experiencing the same rollercoaster of emotions as you. They may have been sick or had family members or friends become sick. Finder says it's important to humanize your messaging and show your own concerns and vulnerabilities as the world moves ahead. If you can, ask your prospects how you can help for free. You might not close the deal immediately, but your acts of kindness won't be forgotten.

Think small. Rather than working on lengthy, expensive deals, try pitching bite-size offers. According to Finder, this is a smart strategy in crisis situations when prospects are reluctant to commit to high-dollar projects. Think of what you can offer and what resonates with your clients and prospects. Doing something on a smaller scale is better than doing nothing at all.

Reconnect with your past prospects. You don't have to limit yourself by seeking new prospects. According to Finder, now is a good time to create a re-engagement email campaign to connect with your past prospects. Think of those who declined to work with you months or years go. They may not be in a position to buy now, but you can still contact them and see how you might be able to help.

Nurture your existing customers. While you may want to increase your client list by focusing your time on prospecting, remember to show some love to your current clients. Check in with them and see how they are faring. Maybe they could use your help. Finder says now isn't the time to upsell, but rather offer your assistance without asking for anything in return.

The pandemic has changed lives in fundamental ways. As a result, traditional selling has been turned on its head. While you may have lost leads due to cancelled events, you can still make meaningful connections without visiting with someone face to face. Consider the points above to prospect in an age of social distancing.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Shawn Finder is co-founder and CEO of Autoklose.

filed under May 2020
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